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Career Confessions from GenZ: How Does GenZ Want You to Communicate With Them?

Feb 7

Career Confessions from GenZ is a weekly series authored by Cameron Sackett, a Sophomore at the Univesity of Michigan majoring in Communications and Advertising. Make sure you connect with him on LinkedIn:

One of the things that my generation is most notorious for is our cell phone usage. According to The Washington Post, current teens are spending over 1/3 of the day on their phones. Now, I’m going to be upfront and say that I’m an avid phone and social media user, and I understand the potential dangers of spending too much time on your phone. On the other hand, I don’t foresee my cell phone usage habits or my generation’s changing significantly any time soon.

Due to this, companies are looking at changing how they recruit their candidates. As I am just dipping my toes into the workforce, I am starting to see how the interview process may be changing in the age of cell phones.

The majority of my communication with potential employers for all jobs that I’ve had has been e-mail. This is something that I’m all about. E-mail is like a more formal version of a text, where you don’t have the pressures to respond immediately and you can spend time thinking of a more formulated response.

Personally, I think that e-mail should stay as the main form of communication for communicating with candidates. I’ve heard that some companies are trying to implement texting or text messaging like platforms into their hiring process. Here’s the way I see it: when I text someone, I’m usually typing in an informal way and I typically respond ASAP. Also, a lot of errors occur in texting, like typos or texting the wrong person. These are easily fixed when you’re talking with your friends but not necessarily a potential employer.

I’m totally open to texting in the interview process, but I have my concerns.

Now when it comes to the more direct form of communication, let me dispel a common myth about Gen-Z: we don’t hate talking on the phone, we hate calling people on the phone. There is a HUGE difference between answering a phone call and calling someone and personally, I would much rather answer the phone than call someone. In addition, I think most of my generation does better in a face-to-face style of an interview because it allows for more of a personal connection. This may scare many people, but when a relaxed environment is created in an interview, I think that many of us would come to prefer in-person interviews.

Lastly, I don’t want to see recruiters messaging me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or any other social media platform. This isn’t because my social media profiles are inappropriate, thankfully I have some monitors on my profiles to keep them nice and clean (I see you Mom and Dad), but it’s because I see social media as a place that I can use for fun and enjoyment. I don’t want to have to constantly worry about messaging potential employers back on these platforms when I just want to use them to share/follow people and things I like.

Now, I am on the older side of Gen-Z (my 14-year-old brother is in Gen-Z too, how crazy!), so my opinions might not hold for the kids currently in middle and high school. I can say this: I (and most other college students) check our emails just about as much as you do, so that’s a good place to start!

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HR and TA Pros – have a question you would like to ask directly to a GenZ? Ask us in the comments and I’ll have Cameron respond in an upcoming blog post right here on the project. Have some feedback for Cameron? Again, please share in the comments and/or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Besides being a Dad with a network, I thought the best way to get my son some ‘real-world’ experience would be to put himself out there as a writer! Let him know what you think and let us hear what you would like to learn about the next big generation entering our workforce!

8 Comment to “Career Confessions from GenZ: How Does GenZ Want You to Communicate With Them?”

  1. Where is pappa Sackett to come in and shake young cam out of his fear of the phone interview?

    KD

    Kris Dunn
    Feb 7, 2018
    • KD,

      Cam Sackett internship for Summer 2018 will now be 100 calls per day in the bullpen!

      T.

      Feb 7, 2018
  2. Bua-hahahahahaha! (And Cameron – I’d STILL like to hear your reaction to your father’s comments, even if he has already declared himself “winner.”)

    Ane Ohm
    Feb 7, 2018
  3. I’d like to see a Tim vs. Cameron discussion about recruiting and texting.

    Tim, you’ve mentioned a number of times that we should be texting more – and I’ve agreed with that. I’ve also been wondering if we should be using other social media platforms to communicate.

    Cameron seems to be saying that’s not preferable, at least to him. I’d love for the two of you to explore this more.

    Thanks, Cameron – it’s very interesting to learn about your perspective!

    Ane Ohm
    Feb 7, 2018
    • Ane –

      I’d win.

      Candidates are basically idiots that have no idea what they want. When they don’t need a job they’re all – “Don’t text me!” “Don’t call me!” “Don’t contact me on Facebook!” Then they want your job and they’re stalking your IG and Snap profiles, and texting you at 10 pm on a Friday night.

      Where I think Cam and I are on the same page is when it comes to candidate connection. He doesn’t want every single recruiter who might look at his resume to text him and he has no idea who it is. Once that relationship has been established, though, text away! The fear with texting, from a candidate perspective, is, that a recruiter will judge them based on text communication, so they would like to use a platform they have more control over in terms of response and time.

      The texting/messaging thing isn’t going away, and it will just increase. How we do that as recruiters is critical for success – in that – if you are texting a candidate as a first response, we should be asking them what is the best way for us to further this conversation – more texting, email, a phone call, smoke signals!? Let me know, and I’ll do what is most comfortable for you.

      See!?

      I win,

      Tim 😉

      Feb 7, 2018
    • Hi Ane!

      Sorry for the late response (just learning how to use WordPress!)

      My whole thing with texting is that I only like to text people I know well. When it comes to E-mail, there’s a widely accepted formal language and tone that is used and expected. When it comes to texting, everyone uses a little bit of a different tone and it’s hard to figure out what is appropriate when responding to a potential employer. Also, I’ve texted the wrong person the wrong message a few too many times and that worries me….

      I completely understand that this is probably where the world is going to, and I’ll probably just have to adapt. I’ve had no potential employers text me yet so maybe I’ll like it better! I’m interested to see if it is a big thing when I’m starting to interview for jobs in the next few years once I graduate.

      I wouldn’t really say my Dad “won” but he does have like 456 more years of experience than me, so I might have to give it to him 🙂

      -Cameron

      Cameron Sackett
      Feb 11, 2018
  4. love the distinction between calling someone on the phone and answering the phone, that is somewhat revelatory to an old person like me. Thanks!

    Jim
    Feb 7, 2018
    • Jim,

      That was a big takeaway from me on this post as well! Most TA Pros think GenZ doesn’t want to talk on the phone or listen to voicemails, I hear it all the time from them! In reality, GenZ doesn’t mind ‘talking’ on the phone, they just hate being the one to initiate the call!

      Ironically, most corporate Recruiters don’t like making phone calls! So, we’re at a stalemate! Who will call who? Screw it! Just email them…

      T

      Feb 7, 2018

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