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Why Gen Z is ignoring your job ad

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Eight seconds. That’s all recruiters have if they want to capture the attention of Generation Z, who are about to enter and shake up the workplace.
By Heidi Duvenage, head of Sage Talent Solutions
Born between 1995 and 2014, Gen Z is starting to enter the workforce with even shorter attention spans, and even less desire for face-to-face communication. They want to use technology platforms of their choice, to maximise productivity, solve problems and complete daily tasks. They’re self-sufficient, master networkers and researchers, and just want to get on with it.
These are valuable traits to have, especially at a time when the speed of business has never been faster. Who better to help the acceleration than Gen Z?
But how can recruiters get their attention, when they are never in one place for long?
Overly complex, long job descriptions are a sure-fire way to put them off. Gen Z is forming an opinion of your brand at every touch point, which means you should approach recruitment as a marketing opportunity. In marketing, when you know who you’re targeting, formulating and delivering the message is a lot easier.
Here are three tips to write clear and effective job descriptions that target Gen Z:
* Step into their shoes – Think about what Gen Z wants to know about your company and the role. Talk about your corporate culture and your community initiatives; describe a typical work day (ask someone who is already in the role for input); and give more information about salary, benefits and opportunities for growth. Spell out acronyms and avoid jargon — even if they’re commonly used within your industry. Someone just entering the workplace might not have that knowledge yet.
* Keep it short and visual – Gen Z communicate in pictures. They don’t have time or the desire to read long job descriptions, no matter how appealing the position. Now is not the time to enthuse the company’s values and list every responsibility. Sum up everything you think the candidate will be interested in, in a short infographic or video. Consider using platforms they’re already engaging on — like Instagram and Snapchat — to reach them. Get a young member of the team to proofread the ad, to ensure the tone and language resonates and that there are no unanswered questions that a Gen Z-er might have.
* Be authentic and transparent – Don’t overcomplicate or talk up the position. Curiosity is second nature to Gen Z, so they will conduct thorough research before applying — and hold you to what you’re selling.
Be clear about what experience level you’re recruiting for, don’t create unrealistic expectations about what the role will involve; and define what success looks like and how you’ll measure performance.
Businesses need to understand and capitalise on the strengths and skills that Generation Z will bring to the workplace. We might not fully understand the impact they’re about to make but we could definitely benefit from their agility.