When Liam Ozog, 24, was applying for jobs as a full stack developer, he wasn’t just looking for a high salary or a prestigious company to add to his résumé. Work-life balance, flexible work hours and meaningful work opportunities were equally, if not more, important to him.
Last September, Mr. Ozog eventually found employment at Ada, a Toronto-based AI chatbot developer, where he could partake in company perks such as work-from-home days and unlimited vacation time. Mr. Ozog could also feel good about his role in a company with a tangibly beneficial output – helping to save peoples’ time waiting on hold for customer support. He recently volunteered at an evening open house that Ada hosted for those curious about working in tech.
Mr. Ozog belongs to an emerging cohort of job seekers in Generation Z, currently aged 18 to 24, that demand more from their employers. An October, 2019, global survey of recruiters from job search site Monster showed that a flexible schedule was the most sought-after benefit of Gen Z candidates.
“More and more I’m getting questions like, ‘what’s your policy around working from home?’ and ‘what’s the work-life balance like?’ ” says Hailey Hastings, director of talent acquisition at Ada, of Generation Z candidates.
She also reports that new graduates are more curious about the company’s social impact with questions such as “are there volunteer hours?” and “what are you doing to help the tech community?”
One way that Ms. Hastings showcases Ada’s progressive culture is through social media. On the company’s Instagram page, @peopleofada, there are posts of the business development team having a summertime lunch on a patio and another of an employee working on her laptop in bed, taking advantage of Ada’s work-from-home perk.
Ms. Hastings says she hopes these glimpses into the company’s day-to-day life will help attract new talent to Ada. “Companies forget that candidates are choosing us just as much as we’re choosing them,” she says. “They do research, they look at reviews, they go to our Instagram page, they watch our Instagram stories.”
While Instagram stories are an on-the-cuff medium for photos and video, Ada has also posted a professional recruitment video on their careers page to give job hunters a more polished look into the company’s work and strategies.
To facilitate the development of video job advertisements and recruitment videos, Monster recently launched the Monster Studios app. The app allows Monster customers to create and edit videos on a smartphone and Angela Payne, senior vice-president of Monster Canada, says this is an integral way of appealing to fresh graduates.
“Gen Z, even more than millennials, are truly native to technology,” Ms. Payne explains. “They’re consuming and adopting this from a much earlier age than any other generation so it’s is a very natural progression to video [job ads].”
Monster’s October, 2019, survey showed that recruiters and hiring managers are eager to adopt video job advertisements with 87 per cent of respondents on board. Ms. Payne reports that job advertisements with videos garner 2.7 times more applications along with higher views and click-throughs.
At the moment, Ms. Payne understands video is “still a scary proposition,” she says. “It’s very ‘out there.’ When you’ve got video on, there’s nowhere to hide. It’s full exposure.” But she believes the practice and effort involved will pay off. “I think it’s so worth it based on how people are consuming video now.”
Monster has also integrated social media into its offerings, pushing out job advertisements for its customers in channels to reach a wider pool of candidates. Just having an Instagram page isn’t enough for some employers, since some job seekers may not be following or visiting their accounts. Instead, paid social blasts put job ads into the feeds of qualified candidates that are casually browsing the platform and may not even be job hunting, but could be swayed. “It's blurring the line between actively looking [for a job] and being actively open,” Ms. Payne explains.
As skills shortages prevail, the value of attracting educated, emotionally intelligent and smart Generation Z candidates will only become greater. While recruiters and hiring managers may feel frustrated with the demanding requirements of Generation Z job seekers, Ms. Payne encourages organizations to embrace the change.
“I don’t believe that this is going away,” she says. “The generation before this was similar and the generation that follows will be no different.” Ms. Payne doesn’t think that Generation Z is unrealistic in their job expectations. Instead, she says they’re pushing companies to evolve their workplaces faster. “I think this group will continue to force organizations to look at all of their policies and practices and look at how they can meet the candidate experience and do it well.”
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