Why Informal Conversations Lead to Better Relationships with Gen Z

Dimitar Stanimiroff, GM, EMEA, Handshake

November 4, 2021

Whenever a new generation enters the workforce, employers are faced with all sorts of new recruiting challenges. And Generation Z (Gen Z), which will account for more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2030, is no exception.

Born between the years of 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first cohort to grow up with the internet from day one - and this lifelong relationship with collaborative technology has created a generation which values informal connections and authentic, human, content.

With many finishing education in the midst of global lockdowns, Gen Z has also been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This group finds itself needing to navigate a changing and uncertain recruitment landscape and an increasingly remote-first, distributed work environment.

All this means and employers know that recruiting Gen Z will require different strategies from their predecessors. So, what’s new?

  • Meeting with Gen Z on their terms. Having used and benefited from collaborative technology, nearly 7 in 10 Gen Z candidates believe meeting in-person is now completely unnecessary to form a professional connection (1).
  • Providing valuable opportunities for students to connect. Early career job seekers rank informal chats as the most valuable way for them to learn about employers.
  • Building confidence in the power of digital connections. 80%of Gen Z candidates say it’s easier for them to make a wider range of professional connections than it was for their parents.
  • Pairing Gen Z with who they want to speak with. Early talent prefers to speak to hiring managers, current employees in the same role, and alumni from their university in the same role all more than recruiters (2).

The benefits of virtual recruiting

Virtual recruiting eliminates many of the bandwidth and scheduling limitations that prevent qualified talent from connecting with employers, creating more connections and enabling more early talent relationships to blossom. Three out of four Gen Z students say virtual recruiting provides them more scheduling flexibility, and two out of three say virtual recruiting makes the job search process more convenient, particularly for those who live and study outside of the country’s urban hubs.

Virtual recruiting also offers a compelling way for companies to meet their diversity, equity and inclusion ambitions-  helping them benefit from the talents of the most diverse generation yet. An online environment eliminates some of the largest and most socioeconomically inequitable roadblocks that candidates from underrepresented backgrounds face in traditional recruiting: barriers to access, flexibility, and opportunity. Creating a space where one-on-one connections can not only happen but are encouraged to happen is how the savviest employers are engaging with this next generation of changemakers.

Indeed, more  than 7 out of 10 Gen Z students say virtual recruiting is a less intimidating environment in which to learn about jobs, and an additional 60% prefer how easy it makes preparing to meet with employers (3).

Getting started and beginning relationships

Handshake gives employers tools to eliminate the barriers to engaging with Gen Z, and helps them start building one-on-one relationships with students in the easiest way -  by sending a message.

Employers message qualified students for any number of reasons: to invite them to apply to jobs, RSVP to virtual events or career fairs, to educate them about the company or the positions available.

To digitally-native Gen Z, messages are ubiquitous in their lives. They’re informal and ideally personal, yet still offer an appropriate and expected channel for employers and recruiters to reach out and introduce students to their brand. That’s why more than 8 in 10 Gen Z job-seekers firmly believe that digital messages lead to job opportunities (4). And, to facilitate these messaging connections, employers can now Attach Contacts to Jobs on Handshake, making it easy for students to reach out to a recruitment team in just a few clicks..

Make more authentic connections with Virtual Info Chats

And while messages are powerful, they are no substitute for live, real-time, one-on-one conversations. That’s where Virtual Info Chats come in.

Virtual Info Chats on Handshake let employers put a real, friendly face to their brand quickly and easily. They give employers the flexibility to hop on 15-minute Handshake video calls to connect one-on-one with students in a time and place that suits them.

All employers using Handshake can now include the ability to schedule Virtual Info Chats directly with the job poster via their job posts. This creates an active, engaged source of talent for your pipeline and removes the barriers to building relationships with more students who may be considering a position.

Handshake Premium employer partners can also include their availability for Virtual Info Chats in bulk messages. This feature enables more personal, interactive experiences for high-priority candidates, and delivers operational benefits like improved pipeline quality and accelerated time-to-hire.

In fact, our studies have shown that early talent who engage one-on-one with employers are 36% more likely to apply to that employer’s jobs.

1 - from The New Currency of Social Capital.” Handshake.com

2 - from The New Currency of Social Capital.” Handshake.com

3 - from (“Handshake Network Trends.” Handshake.com)

4 - from (“Handshake Network Trends.” Handshake.com)

If you’d like to find out more about Handshake, please email ukpartnerships@joinhandshake.com today.