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Gen Z Characteristics: What They Really Look Like

Posted by Tom Borgerding on May 10, 2017 9:28:50 AM

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There has been a lot of talk regarding what Generation Z looks like. Based on the research we’ve done, speakers we’ve heard, and articles we’ve read, here’s a recap of the most consistent characteristics to be thinking about when recruiting and marketing to Gen Z.


  1. They are Entrepreneurial — They want to have an impact, not just a job. Show them how they can be entrepreneurial in your organization and the impact others have been able to make by following a similar path. They are looking for guidance and a way to make the world a better place.
  2. They are Technology Dependent — Let them check in with your recruiters, know where they really stand in the application funnel, watch videos on what it’s like to work at your company, and follow you on social media. Also, make it available through their smartphones.
  3. They are Culturally Diverse — The United States is becoming more diverse each year. Gen Z expects their friends, family, co-workers, and the world in general to be diverse. This means that your hiring should not consist of people who look only like they do. Highlight and integrate diversity into your website, brochures, presentations, and recruitment staff.
  4. They are Cynical — Overly pushy, offensive, and insensitive marketing, advertising, slogans, messages, stories, etc., have made them more skeptical and cynical of what they hear and see. Make sure you company is “real,” relatable, and not just showing the “good side” of working there. Additionally, you could expand into “what it’s like to be adulting” at your company.
  5. They are Hyper-Aware — They can “smell” anything that isn’t real and true a mile away. They are sensitive to all the messaging going on around them, and if it seems like the advertising is for something that’s too good to be true, they likely won’t respond. An opportunity here is to be very consistent and clear with your brand messaging. Also, get to the point in your branding/recruiting efforts.
  6. They are Private — They expect employers to be completely transparent about all things business, which is why they like websites like Glassdoor.com. At the same time, they want to keep their lives private — even from their parents, in many cases — by using apps like Snapchat that allow their stories to disappear. They’ve seen and heard too many stories about how a picture, post, or conversation has “ruined” someone.
  7. They are Safety Minded — When was the last time you saw someone in college or younger riding a bike without a helmet or riding in a car without a safety belt? It’s ingrained in them to know that this world has risks attached to it. As an employer, it is important to be thinking about how the risk of working at your company can be minimized to help them succeed and transition into the “real” world well.
  8. They are Multitaskers — They watch Netflix, study, hang out with friends, and text all at the same time while thinking it’s natural to do so. As an employer, they will want to have plenty to work on while being able to immediately communicate with their boss, team, CEO, etc., and expect expediency in replies and conversations. They expect the same from those around them.

What do you do with this information now? Integrate these 8 characteristics into your brand strategy, and highlight relevant company characteristics. Make sure that what you are saying is true. Highlight, talk about, and engage students in conversations related to these topics. They want to see that your company will provide a place for them to excel that isn’t their grandfather’s or parent’s job.

If you have more questions about marketing to gen z students, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss them with you.



 

Topics: Gen Z Marketing

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