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The red flags that stop Gen Z from accepting your job offer

If your business is hiring right now, then you might be having interviews with Gen Z candidates; those who were born between 1997 and 2012. If you want to know how to appeal to these candidates, here are the red flags you should avoid in the interview process.

‘We’re like one big family’

This is often cited as one of the worst things you can say to a candidate. Whilst at some point this might have meant ‘we’re friendly, caring and kind’, this now says that an employer doesn’t see a difference between a home life, and a workplace.

As such, what candidates hear is, ‘you’ll start work early, leave work late, and be expected to pick up work at the last minute to ‘help out’ 

The culture around work has shifted dramatically since millennials were the youngest generation entering the workplace. Gen Z have a stronger understanding of professional and personal boundaries and work/life balance than any previous generation, and they want an employer to respect that. Your candidates are not your family; they are your employees.

‘You’ll wear lots of different hats’

In the past, this might have suggested that the role you were hiring for was varied, or allowed the candidate to experience different aspects of the business. However, this is now seen as something more vague and misleading.

What a candidate hears is, ‘You’ll be expected to work in a lot of different roles without being compensated for those roles’

One of the most important things that you can do in a job interview is be clear about the job role, the requirements and expectations of that role, and the compensation that you’re offering. Telling a candidate that they’ll be working in multiple roles without offering details suggests that they’ll be expected to do the work of numerous people.

‘We want someone who can hit the ground running’

The sentiment behind this comment might be that you’re wanting an employee who can get to work quickly, it now suggests that the company expects new employees to be at the performance level of existing employees.

What a candidate hears is, ‘There isn’t a formal onboarding process’

An onboarding process, where the candidate spends time shadowing an existing employee, or working alongside someone more experienced, is absolutely necessary regardless of whether the candidate has worked in the same industry before. Your business will have processes that are unique to your company, and candidates need time and support to learn these.

‘We work hard and play hard’

This may have been a well-received comment in the past; however, it is now associated with a toxic work environment. The idea that employees are expected to work hard and play hard communicates to candidates that employees start early, and stay late.

What candidates hear is, ‘There’s an excessive workload, and we compensate for that with perks rather than monetary compensation.’ 

When ‘work hard’ means starting work early or starting work late, ‘play hard’ has often been interpreted by management teams and directors as offering pizza or alcohol for staying past their employees’ end of shift. Candidates want to know that they’ll be paid for every hour that they work, and not compensated through perks.

‘We offer a competitive salary’

This comment is often given in response to a candidate enquiring about the salary for the role. This response does not really answer the question, and as such, candidates will fill in the blanks for themselves.

What candidates hear is, ‘The salary is low, and we aren’t prepared to negotiate on it.’

Enquiring about the salary is a valid question from candidates; the primary reason that they want to work for your company is because they will be earning money for their time. As such, being clear about the salary or pay communicates to your candidate that you are aware that they expect to be compensated for their time.

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