6 Steps to Create a Gen Z-Friendly Candidate Experience
Don't let a bad candidate experience turn away top Gen Z talent.
As colleges have welcomed students back to campus, graduating seniors are already gearing up for their job search. In fact, our recent State of the Gen Z Job Search report found that 51% of Gen Z students begin looking for entry-level jobs in or prior to the October before they graduate. With Gen Z candidates already job-hunting, employers who want to attract top talent will not only need to get started early, but also maintain a positive experience throughout every aspect of the candidate journey, from the information-gathering stage, the application process, the job interview and the final offer. While there are standard components of any great candidate experience, data collected for our report Understanding the Gen Z Candidate Experience reveals some important information about creating a positive hiring experience for today’s entry-level job seekers. Whether it’s your first time recruiting Gen Z candidates or you are looking to get ahead of your competition, here are some actionable steps you can take during this year’s hiring season to create a Gen Z -friendly candidate experience.
1. Be proactive in reaching out to top candidates.
With such a tight labor market, it’s no longer an option to sit back and let job candidates come to you. In order to reach the best candidates, you should contact them first. For example, our Candidate Experience Survey concluded that proactive outreach on RippleMatch almost triples the share of candidates interested in a company or role (from there, it’s up to the candidate to decide if they want to apply). In addition to RippleMatch, you can also use tools like LinkedIn, career fairs, or on-site events to source top talent and communicate your interest in Gen Z candidates. We recommend a diversified recruitment strategy that includes digital as well as in-person outreach.
2. Optimize the right resources in the information-gathering stage.
According to data from Understanding the Gen Z Candidate Experience, 83% of Gen Z respondents visited a company’s website after being matched with that company on RippleMatch. This means that during the information-gathering stage, a candidate’s first in-depth interaction with your company will usually be looking at your website, specifically the careers page.
The careers page on your website is one of the main resources that prospective candidates use to figure out if they are ultimately interested in applying for a position. As such, your careers page should be well-organized, visually appealing, and contain all the information that would be useful for a prospective employee to know. While you should include any open positions (paired with inclusive and Gen Z-friendly job descriptions), take it a step further. Consider creating a section specifically for early career opportunities where you can list things like on-site recruitment events, as well as information about your professional development opportunities for new grads available within the company. You can also include contact information for a point person to answer questions about the company or a specific role. Having fleshed out sections for perks & benefits, company culture, and your mission & values is great too. Finally, be sure that the page reflects the diversity of your team in its imagery.
Reviews are another go-to resource for Gen Z candidates to learn more about a company. In fact, 55% of respondents in our survey researched a company on Glassdoor after being matched on Ripplematch. Therefore, taking ownership of your Glassdoor profile is essential to attracting Gen Z candidates and encouraging them to apply to your company.
Claim your page and upload pictures of your office and team, verify benefits, and share information about the company. You don’t need to create any new copy – repurpose existing content on your website or other career profiles to maximize its use. Ask your current employees to leave company reviews on Glassdoor, including salary ranges, benefits info, and general opinions about the company itself and respond thoughtfully to negative reviews.
3. Create a seamless application experience on mobile.
After a candidate has conducted sufficient research on your company, they will decide whether or not to apply to a position. According to a recent study by Yello, almost half of Gen Z professionals applied for a job using their mobile device. As a result, your recruitment platform and job application should be optimized for mobile. You might consider features such as enabling candidates to apply for a job through LinkedIn or another platform that offers one-click application. Shortening the application, removing duplicate questions, and creating or using a mobile app for job applications are a few other ways to create a Gen Z-friendly mobile experience.
4. Be as transparent as possible about the hiring process once candidates apply.
Whether your job application process lasts a few weeks or a few months, candidates should always an idea of what recruitment at your company looks like. Set the autoresponse for application submissions to tell candidates when they can expect to hear from you, and always inform candidates who are out of the running that you have decided to hire someone else.
When you have decided upon the applicants you want to interview, tell them how many steps there will be from initial job application to offer letter. When a candidate is contacted for the first interview, he/she should learn what the interview process looks like in its entirety. For example, there is a huge difference between a process that involves one in-person interview before getting an offer, and a process that includes a phone screening, two rounds of in-person interviews, and a hiring assessment.
5. Prioritize face-to-face communication and make the interview count.
Face-to-face interactions can make or break Gen Z candidate experiences. Our research shows that Gen Z candidates typically become more excited about a company after their in-person interview. Similarly, research from Yello found that 51% of Gen Z candidates prefer face-to-face communication, compared to only 25% who prefer digital communication. Interestingly, Gen Z candidates who responded to our survey tend to dislike using video interview technology like HireVue, providing feedback that it feels impersonal and prevents them from making a deeper connection with individuals at the company.
When possible, face-to-face interviews are the best way to go. Factors like body language, active listening, and overall friendliness contribute to a Gen Z candidate’s opinion of a hiring manager and a company, so maintaining high levels of professionalism during the interview process will make a positive impression. In addition, Gen Z candidates are more likely to be excited about a company if they leave the interview with additional knowledge of company culture and life, and if they could see themselves fitting in at the company. During the interview process or on-site recruitment events, give job candidates the opportunity to speak to multiple team members and offer an office tour so they can get a sense of the company culture for themselves.
6. Don't delay in sending out offer letters.
According to our report, The State of the Gen Z Job Search today's entry-level candidates are juggling several offers, and over 50% of candidates surveyed accepted the first offer they received. To secure top Gen Z candidates and contribute to a positive experience, be prompt about sending out offer letters, as well as notifying final round candidates they were not selected for the position.
When it comes to Gen Z candidates, employers should consider the job application process as a two-way street, especially in a tight labor market. By creating a Gen Z-friendly candidate experience at every stage, you can increase your chance of increasing offer acceptance rates and attracting top candidates who will make a positive impact in your organization.
Want to learn more about creating a Gen Z-friendly candidate experience? Download our full report with data from Gen Z job seekers: ‘Understanding the Gen Z Candidate Experience.’