Born between 1997-2012, the high school and college-aged Gen Zers constitute one of every five hourly workers. In fact, as of April 2022 there were 100,000+ more teenagers in the labor force than February 2020. But as with every generation, there are differences in attitudes, behaviors, and work expectations that hiring managers need to take into consideration if you want to attract more of this growing category of candidates.  

Here are our top 23 tips for recruiting and retaining Gen Z workers. 

  1. Use video to get their attention: make it fun with music and movement to highlight your company culture  

  2. Share your openings on job boards and across social media (Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are the most popular channels for this generation, but don’t forget about LinkedIn for college-age workers) 

  3. Keep the application process fast and easy  

  4. Create a short application that only asks what you really need to know to determine if they’re qualified for the position 

  5. Text them — if you don’t communicate the way that they do, you’ll likely lose qualified candidates



  6. Make sure your hourly rate at least matches or is higher than your competitors 
  7. If you have good benefits and perks, promote them 

  8. Offer flexible schedules 

  9. Highlight causes that your company supports 

  10. Be concise and to the point in interviews — keep it to a single interview for no more than 5-10 minutes for entry-level or non-managerial positions

  11. Be authentic and don’t try to make your company appear a certain way (applicants will see right through it!)

  12. Hire for cultural fit not just to fill a position  

  13. Get referrals from current employees (Not only will this save in recruitment costs, but this strategy will also help with retention!) 

  14. When you find a candidate that you want to hire, do it quickly

  15. Work with their skills and interests so they feel more invested in the job and your company 

  16. Understand their goals and how they align with company needs (i.e. Do they want to move up to a manager role? Are they looking for as many hours as possible or just a few hours around a sports schedule?) 

  17. Invest in people outside of work with benefits like college credits, personal/professional goal coaching, wellness perks 

  18. Take the time to praise what they’re doing well and give positive reinforcement instead of just correcting mistakes 

  19. Make job responsibilities super clear from the very beginning so new employees know what is expected of them — these should match the job description 

  20. Continue to support and offer training to expand their skillset 

  21. Show new employees the purpose and meaning behind their work they’re doing instead of just training them and sending them on their way 

  22. Be adaptable to their needs: school commitments, family obligations, illness, etc. 

  23. Last but not least, treat Gen Zers with respect, just like you would any other employee  

Just because this is the youngest generation of workers, doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to work. A recent Snagajob survey found that Gen Z are 2x more likely to work multiple jobs to get the hours they want and 37% of workers would like more hours.   

“Once a person is attracted to the position and sees themselves being part of the brand, it’s really about speed,” said Ryan Pellet, Senior Vice President of Customer Success at TalentReef. “Speed is everything at that point. You need to be able to immediately get qualified candidates into a process where you can learn more about them and they can know that the company is interested.”  

A critical component of moving the process along quickly is a talent management system that enables hiring managers to eliminate or reduce the time required for things like completing applications, scheduling interviews, answering applicants’ questions, and assessing their qualifications. Niche solutions might meet this need if you’re looking to solve a single problem, but it may not integrate with your current system, which will in turn make your hiring process even longer. For the complex process of hiring hourly employees, you need a complete solution that integrates AI-based, low-touch management.  

Find out more about what makes TalentReef different. 

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Related resources


5 Ways Hourly Jobs Can Compete With the Gig Economy 

5 Ways Hourly Jobs Can Compete With the Gig Economy 

The Importance of Culture in Attracting and Retaining Hourly Employees with Dr. Richard Currie 

The Importance of Culture in Attracting and Retaining Hourly Employees with Dr. Richard Currie 

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