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Gen Z Research Findings, Part II: Setting Clear Expectations for Incoming Candidates

November 30, 2022
Parker Pell

This is Part II in our four-part blog series, Gen Z Research Findings, guiding employers to build better candidate journeys for top early-career talent. Please read Part I, Who Is Gen Z and Why Do They Matter, here.

In this four-part series, Gen Z Research Findings, we illustrate exactly what top early-career talent wants to see from future employers — backed by cold, hard facts. The first item on the top of their candidate wish list? Clear expectations.

Research shows that nearly all (98%) of Gen Zers agree that clear expectations are critical before starting a new role. In addition, 41% state that understanding day-to-day expectations is the single thing they’re most interested in learning before day one on the job. But what do clear expectations look like? Why are clear expectations so critical to Gen Zers’ success? Below, we explain how to set clear expectations with early-career new hires, thereby elevating your candidate experience.

What Does Setting Clear Expectations Look Like?

Along with salary details, Gen Zers consider day-to-day expectations to be the single most defining factor when contemplating a new role.

In a recent survey, Gen Z candidates were asked, “What is one thing you wish every company told you before working there?” Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority (78%) of responses were related to job expectations. Another poll showed that 41% of Gen Zers were more interested in learning about day-to-day expectations than growth opportunities (16%) and PTO benefits (3%). (Salary details came in at an even tie, also with 41%).

Let’s face facts: The average job description doesn’t articulate a clear vision of what a day in the life actually looks like. Therefore, as part of your candidate journey, use plain language to set expectations surrounding:

  • Day-to-day responsibilities and deadlines
  • Expected projects, deliverables, and milestones
  • Career progression opportunities
  • Pay cadence and how to communicate with HR
  • Remote work options and job flexibility
  • Company values and mission statements
  • Company stance on DEI efforts, social impact, and ethics
  • Mentorship, training, and professional development opportunities

Take stock of your entire candidate journey and review how you communicate each of the above bullets. Does your content strategy paint a clear picture of what’s expected of the new hire? Once a candidate reaches the interview stage, are interviewers trained to answer questions surrounding job expectations?

How Should You Incorporate Day-to-Day Expectations Into Your Candidate Journey?

Now that you understand what topics Gen Z candidates are most interested in, how do you integrate these topics into your hiring strategy?

When evaluating your candidate journey, remember this: When it comes to Gen Z, efficiency is key. Gen Z’s affinity for on-demand media, constant connection and multitasking across devices carries over to the workplace. This generation grew up with Google (literally) in their back pocket, and have an average attention span of eight seconds. In fact, 60% of Gen Zers state they wouldn’t use a website that’s slow to load and 62% won’t use an app that’s difficult to navigate.

Here’s what this means for your content strategy: When outlining expectations, do so by providing snack-sized bits of information. Be concise, ensuring each piece of content has one key focus, rather than overwhelming candidates with a laundry list of information. Leverage a candidate automation platform with a positive user experience (like Abode!), allowing Gen Zers to easily find the company resources they need. Your entire content strategy should be personalized, mobile-optimized, and easy to digest; thereby deepening the connection with early-career candidates.

Why Are Clear Expectations Critical to the Gen Z Candidate Journey?

So, why are day-to-day expectations so important to new hires? Put simply: It puts the candidate in the driver’s seat, giving them a sense of control over their new role.

Mental health is of utmost concern to Gen Z candidates. According to the American Psychological Association, 91% of Gen Zers have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress. This could manifest in feelings of depression or sadness, lacking interest, or lacking motivation. This generation grew up amongst one headline issue after the next, with mass shootings, separation of migrant families, unprecedented student debt, social unrest, accelerated climate change, and a polarized political climate.

The result? Feelings of stress and anxiety are (understandably) prevalent in Gen Z candidates — feelings that will certainly carry over to the workplace. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, 55% of respondents were anxious about taking the next step in their careers. In addition, 33% didn’t think they could control their next career steps and 34% didn’t think they could use their existing skills at work.

If you want to protect the emotional and mental being of incoming candidates, set clear expectations around their future roles. Clear expectations give Gen Z candidates an internal locus of control, thereby reducing pre-career anxiety in a seemingly uncontrollable world. Being clear about daily responsibilities, long-term objectives, real-time commitment, and potential stressors sets new hires up for success and fosters a workplace culture that values psychological safety.

Transform Your Candidate Journey With Abode

Establishing clear expectations surrounding new hires’ roles and daily responsibilities should be a top priority for your candidate journey. In fact, Gen Zers state that understanding daily expectations is as important as knowing salary details for a role.

To set clear expectations, present bite-sized pieces of information and leverage a content platform that’s easy to navigate. Doing so helps set new Gen Z hires up for success and establishes a psychologically safe working environment.

To create a better Gen Z experience, consider Abode. Abode is the candidate engagement platform built by Gen Z candidates for Gen Z candidates, helping you build personalized journeys at scale. With Abode, you can automate your post-offer keep-warm strategies, create content workflows surrounding role expectations, track candidate engagement, and use data to revamp your retention strategy.

Stay tuned next week for our next tenant in this series, Transparency.

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