How to Hire Gen Z

Jul 28, 2021

The iCIMS “Class of 2021 Report” presents the results of an April 2021 survey conducted among HR professionals and college seniors to discover the best ways to attract, engage, hire, and advance Generation Z talent. This talent pool presents a great opportunity, but to leverage it HR leaders should keep in mind some key points from the iCIMS report as they evaluate existing hiring processes and match them to these recent graduates’ expectations.1


(To get all of the actionable insights on Generation Z graduates and those who will hire them, download the full version of “Class of 2021 Report” here.)


Entry-level hiring is on the rise.

With nearly every industry currently facing labor shortages, HR leaders might be shocked (and thrilled) to learn that the number of ready-to-work applicants has substantially increased just in the past year: compared to 2020, applications from ages 18–24 are up 15 percent! This is excellent news as 60 percent of HR professionals are opening new positions to entry-level hires.

To make the most of this increase, organizations should post their entry-level jobs on the platforms most popular with Generation Z. These include third-party job boards and social media pages, as well as companies’ own career sites.


Generation Z wants face-to-face interaction.

Surprisingly, Generation Z is not interested in a long-term virtual work experience: only 2 percent of college seniors want to work remotely full time. The exact reasons for this preference vary, but college students likely crave the social interaction and relationship building that was lacking from their lives during the pandemic.

Because remote work has become a new normal, this may pose a challenge for HR leaders. Companies may need to start thinking about a postpandemic future in which employees have the option to work in the office or remotely—or a hybrid of the two. Overall, flexible work options will be key to capitalizing on the new market of entry-level applicants.


Video remains a staple for HR professionals.

Video technology is here to stay. Ninety-seven percent of HR professionals in the United States plan to continue using video calls for conducting interviews, and for good reason: video interviews drastically reduce the time it takes to source and hire candidates.

Other digital tools, such as text messaging, are quickly proving their worth for recruitment in 2021. Texting makes it easy for recruiters to connect with candidates anywhere and at any time. And college seniors are comfortable using texting to schedule interviews, receive status updates, and accept job offers. With both candidates and recruiters at ease with this technology, text messaging tools will likely become an essential part of the entire talent acquisition process.


Career sites make an impact.

Before they ever talk to a recruiter, candidates are very likely to research a company online. The report found that this is especially true for Generation Z: job seekers age 18–24 spend 40 percent longer reviewing a potential employer’s online presence than those over the age of 25.

Through social media and career sites, employers can communicate their brands, showcase their cultures, and illustrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The members of Generation Z also want their organizations to support those words with actions: 72 percent of college seniors strongly expect companies to be committed to DEI hiring practices and look for signs of that commitment throughout their candidate journeys. They are happy to see pictures of a diverse workforce on a company’s career site, but they are even more impressed when they interact with a diverse hiring panel throughout the interview process.


Each time a new generation joins the workforce, the business world has to figure out that group’s interests, motivations, communication styles, and other habits and preferences. As Generation Z becomes the latest group to cross that threshold and HR leaders learn how best to attract and engage that cohort, they should be sure to reach out to those new candidates on their own terms.

1All data in this article are from: iCIMS. 2021. “Class of 2021 Report.” iCIMS website, /

Written by: Katie Johnson

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