To help you navigate the unique challenges of interviewing Gen Z candidates, we’ve gathered insights from thirteen top leaders, including CEOs and founders. Their advice ranges from focusing on the candidate’s potential rather than their style to showcasing your positive company culture. Discover these valuable tips and more in the following responses.

Focus On the Candidate’s Potential, Not Style

Gen Z candidates are more likely to express themselves freely in interviews. That can mean dressing a little more casually, speaking of former employers on a first-name basis, and even dropping a curse word or two.

While older hiring managers might balk at this, it’s all part of a shifting workforce culture. Dress codes and acceptable language are changing, and everyone needs to adjust.

While rudeness should never be tolerated, HR should look past sartorial choices and communication styles, and instead evaluate Gen Z candidates on their potential to tackle the job available.

Otherwise, they risk creating a stagnant (but polite) workflow, where new ideas are stifled alongside advancing culture.

Linn Atiyeh, CEO, Bemana

Emphasize Social Responsibility

In my experience as the HR leader of our solar installation enterprise, I’ve recognized that when interviewing Gen Z candidates, emphasizing our company’s social responsibility is crucial. I recall a specific instance with a bright, young applicant named Lucas.

In our conversation, instead of just discussing his skills or our job expectations, I highlighted our commitment to creating a sustainable future. I shared our initiatives of installing solar panels in underprivileged areas and our active participation in green-energy seminars.

His eyes lit up. Lucas later shared that our dedication to the environment was a key factor in accepting our offer. I believe this underscores how profoundly social responsibility matters to Gen Z candidates.

Haya Subhan, General Manager, Solar Panel Installation

Respect the Need for Work-Life Balance

A crucial point to remember when interviewing Gen Z candidates is their priority for work-life balance. Reflecting on my experience, I recall interviewing a brilliant young coder named Mia.

Midway through the interview, she forthrightly asked about our company’s stance on work-life balance. I could see in her earnest eyes the importance of the question. I realized then, more than ever, that this balance isn’t just a catchphrase for the younger generation; it’s a lifestyle they expect.

Our ability to provide has helped us bring in bright, enthusiastic minds like Mia’s. It’s a lesson I carry forward in each new interview.

Daniel Pfeffer, CEO, Scrape Network

Offer Flexibility to Attract Gen Z Talent

One important thing to remember when interviewing Gen Z candidates is that they value flexibility. Besides offering employees a fixed salary and benefits package, employers should provide options for flexible working hours and locations.

Gen Z candidates are used to having on-demand access to everything, so it’s important to show them that your company values their need for flexibility.

It could mean offering remote or flexible work options, such as part-time or freelance opportunities, to enable them to fit their job around their other commitments.

Nuria Requena, Talent Acquisition Manager, Spacelift

Create an Inclusive Culture

Members of Gen Z have a different outlook on the workplace than past generations. They want to find an employer that respects them as an individual, truly shares their values, and has an inclusive workplace culture where they can find guidance, learning, and mentorship, not just a boss who tells them what to do.

You can show that your workplace meets these needs by truly engaging with the candidate during the interview. When asking questions, aim to turn them into a conversation by asking follow-up questions that show you’re engaged with their answers.

The more a Gen Z candidate feels heard in the interview and feels like the company is genuinely interested in their workplace preferences and individual identity, the more likely they’ll be to want to work for you.

Jon Hill, Chairman and CEO, The Energists

Showcase Technological Innovation

When interviewing Gen Z candidates, it’s crucial to remember their strong affinity for technology. This generation grew up with tech at their fingertips, so they’re not only comfortable with it, they expect it.

Show them how your company is embracing technology, whether it’s through innovative projects, tech-based solutions, or even your work processes.

This will impress them and show that your company is a place where their tech-savviness will be valued and used. It’s all about speaking their language.

Lou Reverchuk, Co-Founder and CEO, EchoGlobal

Highlight Purpose-Driven Work

One important thing to keep in mind when interviewing Gen Z candidates is their strong preference for purpose-driven work and meaningful company culture. Gen Z individuals are passionate about making a positive impact and actively seek opportunities that align with their values and ideals.

During interviews, highlight your company’s mission, core values, and commitment to creating an inclusive work environment centered on purpose.

Discuss how your organization fosters growth, learning, and opportunities for employees to contribute meaningfully to the company’s goals.

By showcasing your commitment to purpose-driven initiatives, you can attract and keep top Gen Z talent who are eager to make a difference in the world through their work.

Pallavi Goyal, AGM-BD and Ops, SilverPeople

Keep Interviews Energetic and Succinct

My firsthand experience of interviewing Gen Z candidates at my business taught me a lot about adapting to their shorter attention spans. One particular instance was with a promising applicant. Initially, our lengthy discussions seemed to overwhelm him, and his engagement wavered.

Recognizing this, I began adopting a more succinct and energetic communication style in interviews. With him, I focused on brief, engaging conversations about his skills and how they fit with our vision.

This switch helped him re-engage, and ultimately, he proved to be one of our most reliable hires. So, for me, being adaptive to Gen Z’s attention spans isn’t just considerate; it’s strategic, fostering better connections and yielding fantastic team members.

Thomas Giarraputo, Vice President, Executive Cleaning Services

Ensure Transparency in the Hiring Process

CareerPlug reports that 58% of candidates have reportedly dropped out of the hiring process because of a poor experience. This includes recruiters and hiring managers ghosting candidates and not providing regular updates on the hiring and interviewing process.

Gen Z, much like millennials, appreciates transparency and speed in any hiring process they are a part of. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in a system that will allow you to provide the best candidate experience possible.

Regular update emails, providing enough information on the position, and asking candidates for feedback during the interview itself, will help Gen Z candidates feel more invested in your hiring cycle and more likely to go through it in its entirety.

Gordana Sretenovic, Co-Founder, Workello ATS

Be Authentic and Emphasize Their Significance

When interviewing Gen Z candidates, one crucial factor to remember is the importance they place on purpose and impact in their roles. This generation seeks more than just a job; they want to see how their responsibilities contribute to the organization’s overall mission, even if it’s an entry-level role.

It’s crucial to make this clear during the interview process, showing them that their work will have significance and a genuine impact.

Another element that resonates with Gen Z is transparency and authenticity. They value open, straightforward communication. In the interview process, this means being honest about the role, the challenges they might face, and the opportunities for growth and impact within the organization.

Martin Potocki, CEO, Jobera

Prioritize Gen Z’s Passion

One invaluable lesson I’ve learned while interviewing Gen Z candidates for my digital marketing agency revolves around a unique paradigm shift: prioritizing passion and purpose. A distinct encounter comes to mind. I was in conversation with a bright, young aspirant.

His CV wasn’t bursting with experiences, but there was an unmistakable spark in his eyes. We moved beyond standard questions, and I asked, “What drives you?” His face lit up. He spoke passionately about his love for analyzing consumer behavior and its potential to transform marketing strategies.

It was then I realized Gen Z is fueled not by paychecks, but by a deeper purpose. At that moment, I knew I’d found a future star. This experience taught me to seek their passion, as it often holds the key to their potential.

Ryan Steinolfson, Founder, Accelerate Marketing

Avoid Clichéd Questions

In my experience, bypassing clichéd interview questions with Gen Z candidates has been an essential aspect of our hiring process. During one interview, I started with a worn-out question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” The candidate visibly recoiled, looking as though they’d heard it a thousand times.

Instead, I tried, “How do you wish to grow with our company?” Their response was vibrant, illustrating a clear path that not only included their career goals but also our agency’s success.

That taught me that conventional questions can limit Gen Z’s potential to exhibit their unique viewpoints and values, which are crucial in our line of work.

Josh “Snow” Elizetxe, Founder, Customer Feedback

Showcase Your Positive Company Culture

As a hiring manager, one important factor I’ve found when interviewing Gen Z candidates is to focus on how diverse and inclusive our workplace is.

As more and more value is placed on working in an inclusive and equitable environment based on employee respect and understanding, I’ve found that emphasizing these points in our job descriptions and during interviews helps attract more top talent within the Gen Z demographic.

Not only does this reinforce our company’s image through its positive company culture, but it also shows that we understand no one fits into a mold with cookie-cutter-like expectations.

By making a point that we value a positive and inclusive workplace, we’re also suggesting that we accommodate our employees’ needs, which leads to a better work-life balance.

Geoffrey Scott, SEO Content Manager and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CRPW, Resume Genius

Recruiting Gen Z requires very specific approaches. Targeting the right candidates is equally important as preparing yourself to interview them. Joveo’s MOJO Pro is designed to make your life easier.

From driving predictable hiring outcomes to targeting the right people, Joveo’s programmatic solution, MOJO Pro, will revolutionize your recruitment process.

With the power of our AI-driven approach and campaign automation, you can spend with precision on sources that deliver. Get your job ads in front of the right people – at the right place and time, for the right price!

What does that mean?

Well, our clients see 33%+ more great-fit candidates, spend 25%+ less on every application, and track their performance across all sources – job sites, search engines, or social channels – with MOJO. Discover the power of our game-changing, end-to-end talent-sourcing platform.

See us in action to boost your company’s productivity. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more hiring insights!