Generation Z graduates born between 1995 and 2000 promise some of the biggest changes in how businesses operate and recruit in the future. Gen Z has been exposed to and has grown up alongside the technology that has changed the world. From Photoshop to Snapchat, they are the first generation that sees technology as a given and an extension of the self. Gen Z’s graduates are pragmatists and have high expectations when it comes to the companies they want to work for. Having grown up in the whirlwind of technological and societal change over the last 20 years, they expect their employers to be able to match this speed of change and align closely to their values.
November marked the beginning of the graduate recruitment season in earnest across Europe. From Fintech to marketing, recruiters are looking far and wide to uncover hidden talent and future proof their companies with a strong intake. As the Brand and Marketing Director of Scape, I believe that this year, recruiters need to renew their approach in order to adapt to the changing graduate market.
The recruitment process often focuses on a candidate’s previous job experience; however, much of Gen Z’s strength and suitability to a role can exist outside of work-based experience. Instead, employers should focus on the unique skills of each candidate that a minimum of three years at university has instilled in them. This generation has acquired many useful and transferable skills during this time that are hidden amongst the minutiae of a degree. For example, those who studied law will have the ability to concisely and clearly express arguments, a quality vital to good business practice. Furthermore, humanities students have highly attuned research skills that combine with an inherent analytical approach which is vital to many careers; from data analysis to marketing. Often these skills prove themselves to be more indicative of a candidate’s true ability than any previous work experience.
Recruiters often rely on the prevalence of automated CV skimming software when vetting candidates, which means they miss out on these vital details. The software has relegated the ‘fine art’ of CV crating to mere qualifications check, a process that threatens to ignore examples of talent and creativity amongst Gen Z applicants. This software will often miss the soft skills that can be seen by the human eye. These can include the attention paid to layout or design, that software misses as it is focused on keywords and phrases that denote suitability. Furthermore, this software risks missing out or even discounting the digital knowledge that comes naturally to Gen Z people. For instance, as digital natives, Gen Z can edit videos on their phone with the skill, precision, and speed that many in-house digital teams have, without thinking to list this as a key skill on a CV.
In addition to skills learnt outside of the lecture hall, Scape believe that Gen Z is the most entrepreneurial generation yet. This talent for entrepreneurship has often been developed through a multitude of university opportunities. Opportunities from society membership, to term-time jobs and even founding their own business or small enterprise. Recruiters should be aware that such experiences have instilled key skills within applicants, such as creativity, teamwork, time management, and drive, all of which making for promising candidates.
Keep in mind that Gen Z can also bring in fresh perspectives that will revitalise businesses; valuing diversity of thought should be a key driver for selecting the right people in your work force. This generation is truly inclusive so make sure you value diversity. Being inclusive of ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities or disabilities can offer genuine representation of your real-life consumers.
Fundamentally, recruiters need to recognise the promising offering of a Gen Z workforce. A workforce that represents the future demographic. This generation is looking to break boundaries, buck trends and reject stereotypes. The value Gen Z places on individual expression and their avoidance of labels brings a breath of fresh air into industry and business. Embracing the future of Gen Z means looking further than the key skills listed on a CV, identifying their beneficial skills and embracing Gen Z’s digital nativism.
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