How to recruit gen Z developers: 7 strategies HRs can use

It’s almost 2021, Gen Z is now entering the workforce, and if you are thinking of applying all your insights about Millennials to recruit gen …

It’s almost 2021, Gen Z is now entering the workforce, and if you are thinking of applying all your insights about Millennials to recruit gen Z developers, then you are wrong.

Why? Unlike Baby Boomers, Gen X or Millennials, Gen Z has many other names such as ‘Digital Natives’, ‘Gen Wifi’, and – these names partly tell how different their perspective and expectation about their dream jobs are, And if HRs don’t get a strong handle on how to recruit Gen Z now, they may be left behind by their peer, especially when young developers are now the primitive objective for IT companies all over the world.

Generations are divided based on the period, we have:

  • Baby Boomers: 1946-1964
  • Gen X: 1965-1980
  • Millennials: 1981-1996

Gen Z becomes the newest generation to enter the workforce, as they were born in space of time between 1996 and 2012. They have a very different perspective on dream jobs, so understanding these young, creative, worldly employees to design a workplace experience that makes them tick could help companies become much more successful in any terms that matter.

Firstly, Gen Z is the digital natives who are raised on social media, connect with their friends, and family on Facebook, entertain on Tiktok, and find opportunities on many social platforms. Technology is a natural way to communicate around them.

Secondly, Gen Z in general has strong opinions on everything happening around them. They grow up seeing their older siblings struggling with student loan debt, or their parents laid off by employers. The news they read every day is full of climate change, doomsday, domestic terrorism, or worse, school shootings. They tend to distrust businesses and institutions why not heritage to voice out about social issues such as #metoo or Black Lives Matter? This is the Generation who desperately wishes to make a difference.

According to Universum – a research and advisory firm, Gen Z will account for 40% of the workforce by 2040. Thoroughly understanding the importance of these young talents, CMC Global has planned out some strategies to briefly give you a Gen Z Playbook to recruit gen Z developers successfully.

1. Start recruiting Gen Z early

In a global survey by Universum, among 50,000 respondents, 47% might join the workforce straight from high school, and 60% prefer employers offering practical education over a degree at academic institutes.

Therefore, branding your company’s name early is a good way to recruit gen Z. You can simply put some banners at their school, but CMC Global recommends recruiters do things that truly bring value to the potential employees such as workshops where freshers learn about the true requirement of their job, or coding courses and etc.

CMC company tour for future developers to recruit young talents of gen Z
CMC’s Company Tour

See how CMC Corporation built up a mock interview to create career paths for students here.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that employer branding needs to start sooner and focus on Gen Z’s new and unique needs

2. Understand Gen Z’s tech habits 

Understand Gen Z's tech habits

The name digital natives have spoken for itself. Generation Z is raised in a time when technological initiatives are impacting every life aspect in any continent. And thus, understanding the tech habit will help you find the right channel to approach them effectively.

For example, you can create recruiting strategies that favor mobile devices, as Gen Z is very mobile-oriented now. Or, you can use social media to recruit candidates as it is now more than a means of watching silly videos, chit-chatting, or sharing pictures.

3. Understand their view about unemployment and job search 

gen Z's view about unemployment and job search

Everyone said that Generation Z is all job-hoppers, as they all see job-hopping as a necessity, but the truth is quite the opposite.

According to a survey conducted by Robert Half survey, the majority of respondents who wish to work for an average of 4 companies do want to be loyal to one company, yet they accept the reality that, likely, the first company to give them a job out of college will not be their final destination.

What can this bring to your recruiting strategy? 32% of Generation Z see themselves working in a supervisory role within the first five years of their career, which means they will stay at companies whose values align with theirs. They want to grow within that company and have a career path there, as long as companies can assure them about the purpose, not just the benefit of workers.

4. Highlight social issues that your business cares about

The nature of Gen Z is socially conscious – they want to contribute to a company with a good reputation, culture, and value. They are not afraid to voice out their opinion or fight for the thing that they believe in.

Therefore, a good strategy for recruiting gen Z developers is to show candidates how you react to current social issues.

5. Tailor your message

customize your message for better recruitment results

Authentic content written for Gen Z candidates specifically can be a huge plus for your recruiting plan. Gen Z is especially sensitive to templated, recyclable language as they’ve seen them enough on their phone, the trendy content, tailored and a little bit witty and funny can catch their attention.

So, have your HR team come up with copies that align with their definition of fun and don’t make them feel like they’re reading another Facebook Ad. You need to take a deep dive into your company’s true values to communicate with a younger audience correctly

6. Embrace influencer culture

Tiktok and Instagram have carved a path to influencer culture in which Gen Z is deeply enmeshed. In the US, many hiring agencies have actually pivoted their job postings for Gen Z to be letters to potential candidates. They make it to be more of an influencer to their audience mode, in which the influencer is the hiring manager.

Imagine the hiring officers writing from their first-person perspective to give candidates a sneak peek into their life, and show how they work and how they are going to work with them – just like a vlog on Youtube or Facebook.

Having some kind of influencers – a brand ambassador to showcase Gen Z a taste of what it is like to work at your organization is very ideal. Using the social platform-oriented characteristic of gen Z to gain their support and even turn them into your fan, or better – your advertiser is the ultimate goal.

7. Understand COVID-19 implications

Understand COVID-19 implications on gen Z

The pandemic COVID-19 has changed everything on this planet in a way no one could ever expect. No forecast before 2019 can be applied as the world is getting familiar with the “new normal”, where borders are closed, and people are staying at home fighting for toilet paper.

So, despite all strategies, you need to consider the pandemic as it has made a huge impact on the presence of Gen Z in the workforce. 

According to a study on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of SHRM, Gen Z is 44% more likely to face tiredness and lack of energy during the pandemic. This roots in their condition of depression and stress, and they are going to expect the company to want to solve this problem with them and help alleviate the stress they are bearing.

What HRs can do is promote a flexible work-life balance, and be aware of and support mental health issues.


Recruiting Gen Z developers is no easy game as Generation Z-ers are all entrepreneurs. They were born in an age of digital innovation, they are developers who know about coding, webinars, tech camps and even crowdfunding for startups.

They are the employees of the future with their own way of a forward-thinking, positive mindset, and social awareness. HRs and companies need to change themselves to adapt to them, become technology-friendly, and even create new sets of behaviors to successfully find the best candidates, as they embody the future of recruitment.