Gen Z is the newest demographic entering the workforce, and they’re here to make waves. As the youngest, largest, and most diverse generation in United States history, Gen Z stands out from any generation that’s come before them. They’re already redefining the workplace with their unique preferences, and with Gen Z employees set to comprise 27% of the workforce by 2025, their influence will only continue to expand.

From a hiring perspective, teams need to consider how to cultivate a strong candidate relationship with the Gen Z job seeker. Talent leaders who want to win over this next generation of workers will need to get acquainted with their expectations— and fast. Forming an authentic connection with your Gen Z candidates throughout the hiring process is crucial to maintaining their interest amid a sea of other attractive job offers. 

Read on to learn how you can attract and engage Gen Z at every touchpoint in the interview process by living up to their expectations of the candidate relationship

Demonstrated Emphasis on Company Values

Despite being new to the workplace, Gen Z already knows what they value, and they don’t want to compromise. If an employer doesn’t demonstrate their principles, Gen Z will find a workplace that does. In fact, nearly 70% of young professionals in this cohort are likely to switch industries to locate opportunities that align with their values.

Work-life balance is among this group’s top principles; 42% of Gen Z candidates make a healthy work-life integration a top priority when job hunting. Gen Z seeks out employers that recognize the need to unplug and recharge once in a while to avoid burnout. It’s unlikely you’ll find this age group sacrificing their well-being for the sake of a paycheck.

Companies that don’t emphasize their values are setting themselves up for disappointment when it comes to attracting Gen Z talent. Taking time to clearly communicate what matters most to your organization in the interview stage goes a long way in cultivating a relationship with Gen Z candidates.

Commitment to DEI

DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) holds a special place in the hearts of Gen Z. 48% of United States Gen Z-ers are racial or ethnic minorities, and they want to see the diversity of their demographic reflected in the workplace.

Gen Z is leading the charge in shifting a heavier emphasis on DEI, and much of their interest comes from first-hand experiences with discriminatory workplaces. A recent study shows that 67% of Gen Z employees reported witnessing racial, ethnic, sexual, or gender-driven discrimination in the workplace, and 44% have been on the receiving end of this discrimination themselves.

In turn, this means that this generation is even warier regarding if an organization really cares about facilitating an inclusive and equitable work environment. Gen Z wants companies to champion DEI at all stages of an employee’s journey— even the pre-employment stage. 

Evaluate your pool of interviewers; do your interviewers come from a variety of backgrounds and characteristics? If not, you’re presenting an image of a workplace devoid of a diversity of perspectives. The interview is Gen Z’s first impression of your company, and failing to promote DEI starts the candidate relationship on the wrong foot.

Transparency on the Compensation Package

Gen Z candidates want their future employers to have a strong social conscience, but they want to be paid well, too; 70% say that salary is their top motivator when considering a job offer.

Salary transparency is becoming a widely discussed topic, and Gen Z is oftentimes at the forefront of these conversations. A healthy workplace culture now includes better salary transparency, and 70% of Gen Z would consider switching jobs for more of this transparency.

As a generation defined by money-conscious mindsets and honest discussions on compensation, Gen Z is not likely to tolerate companies that withhold details regarding salaries and benefits. Companies seeking to form trusted candidate relationships with Gen Z must be transparent with their compensation packages, and this means facilitating candid discussions in interviews.

Open Communication on Growth Opportunities 

To cultivate a genuine candidate relationship between Gen Z and your hiring team, it is essential to include discussions on growth opportunities within the interview process. The data doesn’t lie: in a survey, 64% of Gen Z workers identified growth opportunities as one of their top career priorities. 

Gen Z candidates want to know that they can have an exciting future at your company, but this doesn’t mean that they want to hear all about how they can someday fulfill their dreams of becoming a top executive. In the same survey, only 3% of Gen Z cited having a “fancy job title” as a priority. 

Instead, Gen Z wants their hiring process to include open dialogue surrounding how they’d be able to pick up new skills and grow their learnings in their potential future job. Overall, these candidates are looking for additional responsibilities at companies that are dedicated to maintaining their values and prioritizing the well-being of their employees.

Tech-Driven Candidate Experience

Gen Z learned how to scroll before they could speak. They were born with technology in their hands, and they expect the hiring process to keep up with their fast-paced, tech-driven lifestyles. In fact, a staggering 54% of Gen Z job seekers won’t even submit their applications if your hiring process seems outdated or unnecessarily time-consuming.

Arming your tech stack with intelligent recruitment software allows you to keep pace with Gen Z’s expectations. Prioritizing a tech-driven candidate relationship will save you both time and energy, all while ensuring that outdated hiring procedures don’t hold you back from securing top talent.

The Bottom Line: Prioritize the Candidate Relationship

Every generation has preferences in what they want in the candidate relationship, and Gen Z is no exception. This new demographic is redefining not only what an ideal work environment looks like, but also what a desirable hiring process looks like. Staying up-to-date on their expectations is crucial to winning them over.

Cultivating candidate relationships doesn’t have to be complicated. Download our eBook to learn more about the key pillars to a strong candidate relationship.

About the Author

Rachel Heller

Rachel is passionate about creating and distributing powerful, engaging, and expert-vetted content. As the former Content Specialist at GoodTime, she covered the latest trends, insights, and expert recommendations for all things talent acquisition and recruiting.