Gen Z is estimated to represent 27% of the total workforce by 2025. It’s a blossoming generation of talent with a new suite of skills and digital savvy for employers to embrace. The problem is, many in this hiring demographic are resisting the courtship process, as top employers get rebuffed in the recruitment of young professionals.
How did we get here?
Seventy-five percent of job applicants say they have been “ghosted” by a prospective employer after an interview, a fact that exposes a major problem with the process. Despite our best intentions, and progress in recent years, there is still unconscious bias when narrowing the field of candidates.
It’s made job seekers a little jaded as they recognize the scope of the problem, exacerbated by large employers who have been slower to adapt to changing norms. Top talent that hasn’t chosen a path of entrepreneurship—a pandemic-era trend—are finding alternative ways to secure the most lucrative and attractive jobs.
LinkedIn and Indeed have rolled out algorithm-enabled matchmaking services in recent months, betting that technology can enhance an individual’s existing network and experience. But this alone will not increase trust, or improve the seemingly broken relationship between employers and talent. Securing a job is one thing; sustaining a level of satisfaction and growing into a role professionally is another journey that cannot be overlooked.
Job seekers need to be given a checklist and a better way to package their credentials in a more illuminating way. Employers should also recognize that the average candidate is submitting 65 applications before securing a job–a demoralizing statistic for so many who have been in job market purgatory before.
Our research suggests that young professionals are seeking alternative platforms to embrace the “job-skilling” wave. This is the idea that there should be a good-natured back-and-forth between employers and job seekers that promotes constructive feedback and outcomes. Sites are hosting employer-sponsored workshops and educational resources that transition candidates into roles more seamlessly. Especially as job seekers are more qualified and diverse than at any other point in history.
Additionally, as younger candidates continue to build-out their professional networks (a casualty of the lack of in-person events over recent years), new tools are helping to maintain engagement with hiring managers, building trust and opening doors to future opportunities with a company. The “cultural fit” is officially dead, and the automated rejection email should be, too.
While not everyone can land the role, job seekers should get answers as to why they fell short, or have a path forward that encourages them to turn deficiencies into proficiencies. The almost-there candidate or runner-up should be left with motivation to continue their search.
As the number of vacant jobs within the U.S. economy remains at an all-time high, we have a golden opportunity to reexamine how these openings are filled. Employers can also improve the way they communicate to candidates, setting expectations about the time commitment of an interviewing process (i.e., how many rounds and participants there will be).
The average age of a human resource manager in the U.S. is nearly 45 years old. While this is beneficial for a multi-generational workforce, there needs to be a more diverse, age-agnostic committee on hiring teams capable of evaluating talent and potential. While technology can help, it is not going to replace the human touch needed to evaluate candidates for a wide variety of roles. With more Boomers retiring, it’s time to make way for Gen Z and create meaningful changes to the hiring process, before the divide becomes too wide.
Danny Leonard is the cofounder of Ramped.