Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Recruiting the Digital-Native Generation

Peter Linas, EVP of Corporate Development and International at Bullhorn

Generation Z grew up on the Internet, devices in hand, and social media in mind. As these ‘digital natives’ begin to enter the workforce, recruiters will need to modernise their approach. This generation will be unforgiving of half-hearted social media strategies and frustrated by long-winded recruiting processes. But that doesn’t mean they are unreachable. The next generation of recruiters is also out there, and with a few smart moves any business can become one of them by differentiating itself and attracting this new breed of talent.

With the rise of direct one-to-one social platforms personalisation, unique experiences and simplicity need to be front of centre of any modern recruitment strategy. However, many companies still struggle with attracting, engaging, and converting younger people. Here are some of the ways that agencies can reach Generation Z.

Social Media First 

It is essential to reach out to candidates where they are; for younger candidates, this means social media. Paid ads on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram can be compelling, but outreach means more than just posting memes as ads. It is important to create genuinely engaging, original content that appeals to prospective consultants.

In particular, consider direct, one-to-one channels like Snapchat. According to Omnicore, more than 25 percent of UK smartphone users have Snapchat and it is especially popular with young people between the ages of 16 and 26. Snapchat allows organisations and businesses to sponsor filters and ‘lenses’ within the app, and they can be customised with text, artwork and corporate logo.

For an example of how this can be done well, look at McDonald’s Australia’s ‘Snaplications’ campaign. It allowed applicants to submit a short video through an augmented reality ‘lens’ within Snapchat. It worked because it was novel and fun, and because it focused on the right skills. Presentation and personality are vital for customer service jobs, and many applicants for these jobs have no prior work experience, so a traditional CV isn’t a good reflection of their potential.

Consider what a similar application for the recruiting industry might look like: something which reaches out directly to candidates in a fun way and gives them a chance to show off relevant skills. It is also worth at least building a presence on platforms like Snapchat, where you can use the ‘stories’ feature to show potential candidates what life is like in your office, on a staff training day, or a day out.

Making the Most of New Tech

In addition to leveraging social platforms, recruiters can use technology to increase their reach. For example, we can look once more to McDonald’s and their ‘Apply Thru’ service, which is the first to allow people to apply through voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa.

When it comes to the recruitment industry, Alexa has many of the qualities recruiters often look for in their team (friendly, responsive and fun) so it’s hardly a leap for voice assistants to become an extension of the agency. Recruiters must continue to innovate and think creatively about how to meet potential job seekers on the services and devices they are already using. 

Embracing Apprenticeships 

The idea that a university is no longer a necessity for job candidates is taking hold, making it important to consider a variety of professional development opportunities. One increasingly popular option is to offer apprenticeships. The UK has seen a significant increase in the number of apprenticeships in recent years. This is partly due to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which encourages more businesses to offer apprenticeships, but it is also related to a greater drive among young people to find a career path that suits them. 

Disillusioned by high university fees, younger generations are increasingly turning to apprenticeships to gain skills in an industry directly. Even tech giants like Apple, Netflix, and Google have recently stated that they don’t consider university or college degree a prerequisite for candidates. What’s more, apprentices can pursue professional qualifications while earning an income. 

The recruiting industry is a skill-based profession making it perfect for apprenticeships. Candidates stand to save on university fees and jump straight into the working world, and businesses can train talented young people to become the ideal recruiter.

Recruiters: The Next Generation

Attracting the next wave of recruiters will require a consistent and committed approach. Consider the social channels and technology that this new generation favours, offering engaging, personalised experiences and diversifying job offerings; recruitment firms that do so will have the pick of the top Gen Z talent.