Generation Z: The generation responsible for bringing us an endless supply of Tik Tok dances, influencers, social media challenges, and being champions of long-forgotten fashion trends like mom jeans, flared leggings (yoga pants), and mullets.
In many ways, Gen Z culture marks the beginning of a new era in human progress and history: They are the first generation to grow up in a post-9/11 world and have few memories of a time before smart devices.
With Zennials now in their mid-20s, the US workforce is seeing an influx of these older Gen Z-ers ready to begin their careers –with researchers projecting they will occupy about a fourth of the workforce within the next five years. The world Gen Z has grown up in is unlike any other that has come before it, and bridging that cultural gap in the interview room can pose unique challenges for businesses looking to bring the influencer generation into their workforce.
If you’re hoping to add influence from the influencer generation to your team, here’s what you need to consider:
Gen Z Values
Though Gen Z are generally green in their careers, their idea of a great place to work is clearly defined. Most of them have seen their parents, older siblings and relatives struggle with the financial crises of the 21st century, so they are highly motivated to avoid repeating history themselves. If they pursue higher education at all, it is done with the ROI of tuition in mind; those individuals who do receive degrees will expect to do well in their careers right out of college.
Salary and benefits are a large deciding-factor in Gen-Z’s decision to accept a job offer. Gen Z also favors businesses that place value on the strength of the relationships between leaders and their employees – where strong communication, extensive feedback, trust, and expressing ideas are valued.
Speaking My Language
Additionally, understanding how Gen Z sees themselves in the context of the workforce can help to understand how these young adults’ values and engaging with them in ways that resonate with their perceived generational strengths and weaknesses.
Often, Gen Z sees themselves as innovative, creative, tech-intuitive, loyal, and willing to learn and advance professionally. Much like their Gen Y counterparts, they too are passionate and have a strong desire to contribute to team dynamics. However, unlike Millennials, the value of this contribution is focused more on being part of a team that positively impacts the global landscape rather than focusing on how their personal contributions move the needle forward.
If you wish to engage with Gen Z, it is important to recognize this distinction and leverage this during the interview. Since Gen Z places emphasis on global contribution, framing your mission statement in a way that shows you are aware of the influence and power your company has over shaping the social landscape will go a long way in engaging and building trust with these young professionals.
10 Interview Questions to Ask a Gen Z Candidate
- What are you looking for in a company? What are some values that you appreciate in a company?
- Are you comfortable working in a traditional workspace such as a cube?
- What would motivate you to move from your current role?
- Remember a time where you were asked to assist in a project either at school, an internship, or work. What was the project? What was your role? How did you feel about the project?
- What motivates and inspires you?
- Do you prefer to work in a team or independently? Why?
- What is your long-term career goal?
- How will this position assist you in filling your career goals?
- What type of experience and skills are you hoping to obtain from this role?
- Tell me about a difficult situation in the workplace and how you utilized technology to solve the situation.
It’s no surprise that the generation of influencers has such a strong impact shaping the landscape of the workforce. Initiatives to bring younger professionals onto your team are a great way to drive diversity and build a more inclusive company culture.
Clocking into Gen Z’s expectations for employment can help promote higher engagement, job satisfaction, and commitment.