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Millennials and Gen Z: 4 Key Recruiting Differences to Find Talent

Millennials and the Gen Z talent pool...they’ve grown up with the Internet, go-anywhere smartphones, and social media. And if you’re looking to make some new hires, chances are pretty good some of your candidates will come from this crowd.

But there’s no one-size-fits-all to recruiting or finding great talent. In fact, there are some key differences between Millennials and Gen Z.

If you’ve got positions to fill, chances are pretty good some of your candidates will come from the Millennial or Gen Z talent pool. 

And if you want to get your messaging right to attract top candidates, you need to know the key differences between Millennials and Gen Z so you can speak their language.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Millennials and Gen Z by the Numbers

If you’re older than the Millennial and Gen Z crowd, it’s easy to group them as the “younger crowd” in the workforce. But there’s a big enough gap between the two generations, it’s important to pay attention:

  • Millennials = Anyone born from 1980 to 1995. That’s about 80 million adults between ages 25 to 40.
  • Gen Z = Anyone born from 1996 to mid-2000s. That’s about 90 million adults between ages 16 to 24.

TIP: When you break it down like that, it’s easier to see there’s going to be a big difference in education, work experience, job expectations, salary requirements, and more for Millennials and Gen Z candidates.

2. Job Search Sources

So where do Millennials and Gen Z candidates go to look for jobs? You need to know this so you can adjust your recruiting strategies to cast a wider net.

Here’s what’s interesting. Market research shows that Millennials and Gen Z candidates primarily look for work in different ways:

  • Hiring events. This is the go-to job search method for Gen Z candidates looking for work after an internship, graduation, or ready to level up after an entry-level position.
  • Job boards. This is usually the first stop for Millennials looking for work.

Those are the two places you need to show up to recruit Millennials and Gen Z to fill positions. But there’s a sweet spot where both Millennials and Gen Z frequently find work:

  • Employee referrals. Social media, text messaging, and email has made this easier for everyone. When Millennials and Gen Z candidates are in the job market, they ask around:

  • Do you know anyone who works at (name of your company)?
  • Do you know anyone who is a (name of position)?
  • Do you know anyone who works in (name of industry)?

TIP: Plan your recruiting efforts to include hiring events and job boards. And create an incentive program to encourage employees to refer potential hires.

3. The Job Description Difference

What if the way you’re writing job descriptions makes Millennials and Gen Z candidates skip over the opportunity and look somewhere else?

It happens. Why? Millennials and Gen Z job seekers have some differences when it comes to what’s important and what they need to know before they apply.

First...here’s where Millennials and Gen Z candidates are the same when it comes to sifting through job descriptions trying if you position you’re trying to fill is the right fit.

  • Salary and benefits. If you’re not up front about salary range or hourly rate, some Millennials and Gen Zers won’t take the time to apply. They want to know what they’ll earn and what the benefits are. And not just medical, dental, and life insurance. Millennials and Gen Z job seekers care about work-life balance, too.
  • Duties and responsibilities. This is where most Gen Zers looking for a job zero in on when they’re in the market. Do their skills and experience align with what you’re looking for? Or will their skills and experience be valued and needed?
  • Career opportunities. This is where Millennials tend to focus on in the job-search and recruiting process. Maybe they’re getting back into the job market after college, after kids are older, or they’re ready to leave their current job. They’re looking for some assurance that working for your organization will be worth it.

TIP: When you write a job description keep these Millennials and Gen Z preferences in mind. You’ll get more applicants that way and start that relationship off on the right foot.

4. Candidate Research on Your Company

What happens when Millennials and Gen Z candidates are interested in applying for a job or learning more about your company?

It’s another differentiator between these two generations that can help you meet them where they’re at.

Here’s where Gen Zers usually go first:

  • Your Company Website. They’ll click through to read your About page, blog, product pages, and bios. If you have an archive of news stories or press releases, they’ll spend some time there too, before looking for other ways to learn about your organization.

Here’s where Millennials usually goes first:

  • Former and current employees. Interesting, right? It’s the common ground where Millennials and Gen Z job seekers start their job search. Instead of sifting through all the online stuff, Millennials want to hear it from someone they trust...What’s it like to work at (name of your organization)?

But there is some common ground for Millennials and Gen Z job seekers:

  • Online research. At some point during their job search, they’re going to look beyond your company website and their network, and see what they can find, with searches like this:
  • what’s it like to work at [name of company]
  • [name of company] reviews
  • salary and benefits at [name of company]

TIP: If you want to attract both Millennials and Gen Z candidates, it’s important to know how they like to research your organization. You can take steps to make sure your company website is up to date, create an environment that helps employees feel good about giving referrals, and have more of an online presence.

Connect with Millennials and Gen Z candidates

If you want to hire Millennials and Gen Zers, you need to speak their language. Connect with them in the ways that are most familiar and comfortable. 

When you understand both have some differences, but share similarities about looking for work, you can position your organization to me more attractive to the best candidates.

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