Recruitment & Retention

How to write job descriptions to attract Gen Z candidates

Younger generations are looking for something different out of their jobs. Your job descriptions may need to adapt.
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· 4 min read

A job description is a bit like a dating profile. As a recruiter, you’re putting your best foot forward, hoping to get some good bites from a very large pool.

Ask yourself, however: Would you swipe right on your job description?

Younger generations have evolving preferences for what they’re looking for in a job, making this a good time to consider rewriting job descriptions in order to attract Gen Z and adapt to the post-pandemic labor market.

“It never hurts to jazz up your job description a little bit, make it fun,” said Sam Chen, founder and CEO of Fetti, a software that matches job applicants with employers based on personal fit. “People want to know that they’re working at someplace enjoyable. And this could be just putting in an extra five minutes of effort to jazz up the tone a little bit.”

What do you want? Younger generations have made their concerns and preferences for the workforce clear. Many align with what workers want overall: transparent, flexible organizations that have a commitment to social good and offer strong mentorship, development, and career-path opportunities.

“[Gen Z] really want[s] to be at a company where they can contribute,” Chen said. “Highlighting what you can give the candidate beyond salary or benefits, highlighting things like growth opportunity, mentorship opportunities, or even just giving them a realistic preview of what the day-to-day of that job will look like” are all good ideas, he said.

Prioritize mission and values. Companies looking to better attract Gen Z should consider leading with their values, Chen explained.

“Put it at the top of your job description, especially when you’re targeting Gen Z,” she said. “This is the first thing they’re looking at, you want them to be enthused.”

Maia Ervin, chief impact officer at JUV Consulting—which specializes in Gen Z brand, marketing, and culture efforts and counts many members of Gen Z among its leadership, including its co-founders, CEO, and chief marketing officer—also emphasizes the importance of values for this generation.

“Gen Z is a purpose-driven community and a purpose-driven cohort,” she explained. “Make it clear what your values are as a company, [and] also that you are an inclusive company. Because it’s not just about diversity anymore, right? It’s about the diverse people that are within your organization [being] able to have equitable experiences, equitable pay. So, making it clear in that job description [is] super important.”

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Social is key. Any company looking to attract Gen Z is going to have to brush up on its social strategy, Chen adds. These platforms can be linked in job descriptions and provide a lot more color than any paragraph of writing.

“Legacy recruiting platforms aren’t really working for Gen Z,” she said, which is why Fetti helps clients with their social media employment branding efforts. “Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, where they’re spending hours a day…our approach is really to meet Gen Z where they are. We found that this yields the best results for companies.”

Her recommendations include having executives speak on video to share their experiences at the company and what it’s like to work in their department. Chen also suggests having product managers, salespeople, and other types of employees share what their exact job is like so that applicants can get a realistic view of it.

Be honest. Ervin agrees that sharing more information about your company, such as values and real work experience, on social media can be very valuable. It’s also a statement on the openness and integrity of a company’s culture.

“We’re going to do the research anyway. So, you might as well jump in on that narrative and make clear how you show up for your different communities,” she said.

Again, this is where social media can be helpful.

“It gives folks an insight into what it’s like to work at your company, the types of people that are working at your company, the culture at your company,” Ervin explained. “Even if some of those things are probably staged.”

“I still think it says a lot about the fact that you want to do that type of content,” Ervin said.

Not a monolith. Of course, not all people who were born at the same time share all of the same preferences. Ervin noted that, like any generation, Gen Z may choose to prioritize stability over opportunity, or the highest salary possible over a social mission.

“Just like any other generation, we want stability. We want pay, especially as a generation who’s coming out of a pandemic and had to deal with a lot of economic unrest,” Ervin said. “We’re all motivated by different things.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.