Enough About Millennials. Are You Ready For Generation Z?

A HackerEarth guide to hiring and retaining early-talent developers


Millennials have been the hot topic of discussion for a long time in the workforce. However, studies suggest that Generation Z (aka Gen Z) will make up 24% of the workforce in 2020. 

As millennials inch closer to middle age, Gen Z is expected to replace them quickly. 

Born between 1996 to 2001, Gen Z is the demographic cohort succeeding millennials (born between 1981-1995). They are true digital natives; they have always been exposed to the internet, advanced tech, smartphones, social media, and virtual reality. What this generation looks for in a job and a working lifestyle is significantly different from the generations that came before them. Hence, the same recruitment strategies are not going to work when hiring and retaining Gen Z. 

We have created this guide to help companies catch the attention of Gen Z or early-talent developers. Read on to find out how you can attract, hire, and retain Gen Z candidates. 


1. Gen Z are tech-savvy

What does this mean for you?

a) Build an online presence: A study revealed that Gen Z spends more time on social media than millennials, at 2 hours 55 minutes per day. Gen Z-ers use social media to engage with their favorite companies, access new career tools, and stay up-to-date with global events. It is important for businesses to build an online presence. This includes regular updates on all social media channels, engaging with followers and subscribers, and the likes. 

b) Create a seamless digital candidate experience: Gen Z candidates are very selective. For employers, this means creating a seamless digital candidate experience for attracting top early-talent developers. You need to create a positive brand recall with this generation in the long-term. This is where pre-employment assessment tools come into play. As an employer, you can leverage these tools to:

  • Let candidates code from anywhere in an environment of their choice. They do not need to travel long distances to give interviews, code on whiteboards, or get rejected based on a phone conversation during the screening process.
  • Conduct unbiased interviews. This means that all the candidates are asked the same set of questions. Interviewers need not know the specifics of each candidate such as gender, age, ethnicity, etc. This assures the candidate that the hiring decision will be fair and they will be benchmarked based on merit.
  • Invest in the latest and most cutting edge tools. Most hiring managers and senior recruiters tend to be veterans in the industry. They might be used to traditional assessment methods which have worked great in the past and may have in fact even springboarded their own personal career graph. A sense of familiarity could be a major reason why they tend to slip up on upgrading to the latest tools and software out there. This is a rookie mistake, however, for a veteran to be making. Instead, they should take into account the coding platforms that the current generation of recruits are comfortable with and well-versed in, and employ the same. 
  • Give all applicants an equal shot. Irrespective of your final decision, candidates should feel that they have had a fair shot at showcasing their skills. This can be done through an engaging process of developer assessment without any human bias.

c) Know where to look for them: As stated earlier, Gen Z talent spends a lot of time surfing the internet. The following are a few resources that you can tap into to hire quality Gen Z candidates:

  • LinkedIn Talent Solutions can help you leverage the magic of data-driven recruiting to get the best developers you can.
  • Using free ads and participating in group discussions can be effective in increasing the visibility of your brand among early-talent developers and foster a relationship with them.
  • As focal points of online interaction, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, and Instagram can help you promote your company and culture through existing employees, cut through the noise, and find niche networks using eye-catching ads, videos, anecdotes, photos, and hashtags.
  • GitHub: GitHub is an online project-hosting service site where developers share their open-source projects.
  • Stack Overflow: Stack Overflow is an online community for programmers to learn, share their knowledge, and advance their careers.
  • Reddit: Reddit is an online community where users submit content, such as text posts or direct links, in very specific “subreddits.”
  • Quora: Quora is a Q&A site that facilitates social interactions and interesting conversations with Gen Z-ers.
  • Glassdoor: A promising tool for recruiting, Glassdoor exerts a huge social influence on Gen Z candidates.
  • Hackathons: External hackathons are amazing places to network with exceptional early-talent developers and industry experts.

2.Gen Z has an entrepreneurial mindset, driven by security 

What does this mean for you?

a) Adopt an open mindset: Gen Z-ers grew up in a digital world with online tutorials and self-learning tools. They know that paying exorbitant tuition fees for in-person classes is not the only way to upskill. 

Gone are the days where learning how to code was reserved only for a few. As an employer, you need to have a more open mindset toward learning and consider new ways to evaluate the skills of candidates while hiring Gen Z-ers. 

Think does your new position really require a university degree? Focus on skills more than pedigree and provide plenty of upskilling opportunities to keep this generation engaged. 

b) Emphasize job security: Thousands of people in the US lost their jobs due to the Great Recession in 2008, which paralyzed the economy. Gen. Z-ers were still young children when this happened. They may have watched their elders take massive financial hits, lose their jobs, and struggle to make ends meet. So, it’s not surprising that this generation wants and needs more job security. 

To facilitate the same, this generation is also more likely to have a side job to diversify their income. This means that, as an employer, you need to:

  • Support them to have other sources of income apart from work.
  • Provide benefits that include the appropriate payment and the best health care benefits that you can obtain.
  • Raise the bar; ask them to lead a technical project without micromanaging. However, communicate that you are available if they need anything.


c) Focus on learning and growth opportunities: Studies reveal that 40% of Gen Z professionals are staying in their current role due to opportunities to learn and grow. Hence, showing your company is invested in learning and development is a good way to win them over. 

You need to create an environment that keeps them on their toes and allows for multiple avenues to upgrade themselves. It is also important that you talk candidly about their career path and help them understand the growth opportunities available. This will build trust and help them envision a long-term trajectory at your company.


3.Gen Z is more informed about bias than you think 

What does this mean for you?

Highlight and promote your diversity and inclusion efforts: Gen Z has grown up in a society shaped by discussions around diversity and inclusion, technology, gender equality, and much more. They are much more informed about bias than those before them. 

Highlight your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion on your career site. Also, include a note about it in every job description. If your company organizes events and activities that celebrate employee differences, ensure that you let the world know about them. If you have a blog series that focuses on diversity and inclusion in tech, make noise on social media. 

You can feature quotes and photos of diverse people on your printed and online company materials. Make sure to include your own employees and customers. Positive branding like this could mean great and diverse hires for your organization. 


In Conclusion

It might seem like hiring Gen Z is akin to threading a fine needle with one eye shut. Every generation builds on the knowledge of their ancestors. They are hard workers with well-planned career goals, looking for a guide and mentor to help them navigate the corporate world. The crux to hiring and retaining this demography lies in understanding the values they adhere to and providing them a workplace that upholds the same.

Hopefully, this guide will help you in achieving this. 


This piece was originally published in TechHR Series.

Hackerearth Subscribe

Get advanced recruiting insights delivered every month

Related reads

6 Ways To Streamline Tech Hiring With A Recruitment Automation Platform
6 Ways To Streamline Tech Hiring With A Recruitment Automation Platform

6 Ways To Streamline Tech Hiring With A Recruitment Automation Platform

I have to manually sort through 348 applications for an open role, talk to hiring managers about new vacancies, and handle admin work….

Forecasting Tech Hiring Trends For 2023 With 6 Experts
Forecasting Tech Hiring Trends For 2023 With 6 Experts

Forecasting Tech Hiring Trends For 2023 With 6 Experts

2023 is here, and it is time to look ahead. Start planning your tech hiring needs as per your business requirements, revamp your…

Get advanced recruiting insights delivered every month

View More

Black Friday Sale

Get 50% off on all Hackerearth products!

November 24th - November 28th Mark Your Calendars
Popup visual