Gen Z: who are the new generation of coders & how do you hire them?

60% of the global workforce will be gen Z by the end of 2020

Who are they?  

Generation Z, is the name given to all those who were born from 1995 onwards. They’ve never known a world without tech and because of that, they are perfect for the technology industry. It’s something that is second nature to them.

But wait, I thought it was all about Millennials!? Yes, they are very much still in high demand but did you know, 60% of the global workforce will be Gen Z by the end of 2020? That’s this year. If you haven’t already, it’s time to shift your graduate hiring focus to Generation Z.

What impact will they have on the tech industry?  

Gen Z want to work in tech, and aspire to be hired by the biggest names in the industry. Glassdoor found roles at IBM, Google and Amazon are within the top 5 companies most applied to by Generation Z. And the most applied to job role? ‘Software Engineer’. With the UK tech industry still very much experiencing a skills shortage, this news will come as a relief to many companies.

This is also good news for tech companies who are actively trying to improve diversity within their workforce. The 2019 HackerRank Women in Tech report found that Gen Z women are coding at a far younger age than the generation before them, typically starting between 16-20 years of age.

How to attract Gen Z to your business

They are a lot more proactive than their predecessors and will research your company thoroughly before applying for a role, actively seeking out organisations that focus on having a positive impact on society. They will be researching your company and they will be using social media to do so. So you’ve got to make your company stand out from your competitors:

Social media

  1. Provide a window into your company culture- the best way to do this is through Instagram stories. Show them a ‘look inside’ your company with; company news, newly launched technology or products, group meetings, days out or attending special events. Be human. We all love having a pizza lunch in the office so show off about it!
  2. Avoid Facebook, you won’t find them here. Research from Infinite Dial showed that the amount of Facebook users aged 12-34 keeps decreasing year on year.
  3. Showcase any CSR your company might be involved in. Anything from taking part in ‘Veganuary’ or getting involved with your local charity. You even want to have a separate social media profile purely for your CSR work?

Salesforce meets their target audience where they are most likely to be looking:

“We do have to approach them a little differently; they’re not necessarily going to respond to email, so we use [methods like] virtual reality so they can really get a visual of what it’s like to work here. We use Instagram stickers, so we’re meeting them on social media.”

Ana Recio, Head of Recruiting at Salesforce, Via TechRepublic

Job Ads

  1. Gen Z are most attracted to job adverts that include the phrases; ‘autonomy’, ‘leadership opportunities’ and ‘chance to be creative’ so scatter these where relevant.
  2. Be visual- purely written content just isn’t going to cut it. Don’t be afraid to add an image or two- ones that will show off your company culture and your office space. Show off any perks you may have, such as a dog friendly office, volunteer charity days or beer on tap.
  3. Why not go one step further and add a video? Create a company culture video showing off your office space and team activities. Have you considered an Employee case study? This is one of the easiest routes to take if you’ve not tried video before.  If you’re worried about the cost of making a professional video, most phones have good cameras and editing apps that enable you to make a professional video on a budget.
  4. Include reviews- we know Gen Z research potential employers, and Glassdoor is one of those places they’ll start. So why not put your good reviews in front of them, on your job ads. Also, consider interviewing your current employees and host them on your careers page as sound bites or case studies.

How does Gen Z prefer to work?

Whilst the big names are always going to appeal to them, when interviewed in the UK, it was determined that they were drawn to smaller companies as they are keen to get involved with each step of the project.

“I’m not attracted to big companies. I’m used to taking on big projects that I work on from the beginning to the end at university, so from thinking about what the solution is- going all the way to implementing, prototyping, and testing the solution. In a big company, I won’t be able to get as involved at each stage and might have to do the same small task over and over again. I’d have to climb the ladder to be able to do the kind of projects I want to. I like the spirit of start-ups and small companies because there you can get better results faster.”

Clarisse, Gen Z student, UK, via HackerRank

Along with wanting to be involved with each step of the process, these are also as equally important to Generation Z:

Flexible working options

Is your company currently offering flexible working? Although they have a strong work ethic, work-life balance is very important to them and will actively seek out opportunities that offer perks such as flexible working and working from home. Many say that if a company doesn’t offer these perks, it’s actually a deterrent for them.

Cutting edge technology

  1. As technology is in the forefront of everything they do, they are naturally drawn to new cutting edge technology.
  2. Is your company working on anything that involves modern technology, such as; AI, extended reality, computer vision or 5G? Boast about it!
  3. Their strong drive to work within the technology industry, partly comes from wanting to work with technology that will shape the future and say they were involved with every step they possibly could be. 

The Interview process

Transparency is key. Be open and honest about timelines, processes and what they can expect when they join your team. And speaking of the team, they’ll want to meet them too.

Above all other generations, if they get the impression that they’ve been lied too or timelines don’t add up, they won’t proceed with your company.

For them, the most important part of the initial process is:

  1. Clarity on the role and where they will be placed
  2. Understanding of what to expect / what the interview process is
  3. Quick follow up, no matter if the feedback is positive or negative
  4. Being aligned with culture and values
  5. Positive press coverage

A new way of asking interview questions

You’ll need to alter your standard interview process as many questions focus on candidates previous work experience. As the majority of Gen Zers you’ll come across will have little or no previous experience, have you ever considered asking any of the below?

1. “Describe a problem that you’ve solved by using technology”

Assess their problem solving ability while also getting an idea of how far they can think outside of the box. This question will test the ways your candidate leverages their second nature to technology rather than taking it for granted.

2. “Do you have a friend or family member who seems as though they have the best job on earth?”

Here you’ll be able to assess whether the job you are offering lines up with their aspirations and expectations. This question is important to ask to increase better chances of retention.

3. “What would motivate you to move from your current role?”

This is another question that replaces the standard set you’re used to asking. This one specifically replaces the ‘why did you leave your last role?’ question. This will answer whether they demonstrate a competitive nature and desire to grow or whether they let their emotions guide their decision making.

4. “Recall the last time when you had to work on a project in college that wasn’t interesting. How did that makes you feel?”

This question assesses how motivated they will be when faced with a task they might not class as ‘exciting’.   

5. “What do you expect to learn from this job”

From this question you can see how strong their aspirations are for both themselves and from a career development point of view.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to turn your attention to hiring Generation Z. Having read this blog, you’re prepped to attract Gen Z to your business with lots of best practice on how to interviewing them. But don’t worry, we won’t leave you there. Next week we will be releasing the second part of this blog, which will focus on on-boarding and retaining Gen Z.

If you’re looking for more information on any of the topics mentioned, you’ll find our ‘employer branding’ mini-report handy.

If you’re looking for specific advice, give us a call on 0117 4280600

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