This article about recruiting Gen Z professionals to the business aviation industry originally appeared in NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider publication. View here.
Each day, business aviation recruiters need to hire people to fill existing job openings. However, longer term they also need to connect with tomorrow’s potential job candidates to educate them about the industry’s career possibilities.
Recruiters’ immediate need for employees usually requires reaching out to older or more experienced professionals. However, connecting with Generation Z requires recruiters to change the way they communicate. More traditional modes of communication, such as email, are less efficient tools to find potential Gen Z job candidates. And what worked to reach this demographic on social media even last year might not work today.
How Content Is Consumed
Gen Z is generally defined as anyone born between 1995 and 2012, with the oldest members of this generation now 26 years old. This demographic includes tweens, high schoolers and students who are currently enrolled in college or have recently graduated. For recruiters looking to reach this demographic and begin to build the future workforce, it is critical to understand how Gen Z consumes online content.
“Gen Z communicates in small bites,” said Jennifer Pickerel, vice president at Aviation Personnel International. “A strong, succinct headline or sharp text will resonate more than long passages. Gen Z talent identifies their preferred communication with recruiters to be via text message, and with potential employers to be via email, meaning that in the recruitment stage, texting is very effective. But when it comes to an offer from the prospective employer, email is still number one.”
“Gen Z communicates in small bites, A strong, succinct headline or sharp text will resonate more than long passages.”
JENNIFER PICKEREL Vice President, Aviation Personnel International
“It has been noted that Gen Z rates their relationship with their recruiter as the number two reason (of the top four) they would accept an offer,” continued Pickerel, “so don’t assume your communication and rapport with them is arbitrary.”
Pickerel noted that many of the opinions Millennials and Baby Boomers have about Gen Z are wrong.
“The most common misconception about Gen Z is that they don’t like personal interaction and prefer everything to be digital,” she said. “Although they do prefer texting to phone calls, Gen Z highly values face-to-face interaction. Authenticity is incredibly important to Gen Z.”
Since mobile phones are “an extension of the self” for Gen Z, content must be quickly readable and attractive on mobile devices, suggested Pickerel.
“We know video is one of the most popular forms of media to reach Gen Z, [but] be mindful that videos must be eye-catching, using interesting and creative visuals, current upbeat music and energetic editing cuts,” she said.
Kim Kissh, a 24-year-old Gulfstream 550 SIC for a Part 91 operator and one of AOPA’s “Top 5 influencers to follow” in 2021, said it’s not just the platform, but the approach used to attract Gen Z that’s important.
“Gen Z consumes social media via platforms that are visually captivating through pictures, videos and music,” Kissh said. “Instagram and TikTok are rising to the top of the ranks in terms of captivating their younger audiences. If you’re trying to get a point across to Gen Z via one of these mediums, it should involve text in colorful bubbles, a trendy song, or a hot pop-culture reference.
“Twitter is for ranting about politics or the occasional meme, which was probably posted on Instagram first,” continued Kissh. “Facebook has been taken over by everyone’s opinionated aunts and uncles, so better not look for Gen Z there.”
“Facebook has been taken over by everyone’s opinionated aunts and uncles, so better not look for Gen Z there.”
KIM KISSH Gulfstream 550 SIC
Kissh added that Youtube is a great tool for reaching any demographic, including Gen Z. However, for that group of prospective recruits, care must be taken to create videos that are informative while at the same time being entertaining.
“The tempo of the video is crucial for capturing the attention of Gen Z,” declared Kissh. “The tempo includes the cadence in which the speaker/narrator is talking, the beat of the music and change in scene. If the video has a catchy title and follows a storyline – implying there is an intro, a climax and an ending – your Gen Z audience is more likely to watch the video in full,” she said.
Short, Eye-Catching Video
As a 25-year-old professional development specialist at NBAA, Emily Tobler agrees that Youtube is a valuable tool, as long as the video is short.
“Unless it’s on a topic I’m fascinated by, most videos I consume are three minutes or less,” Tobler said. “For recruiting purposes, I think it’s important to keep things short and striking. Companies that use the [YouTube] platform well post content that usually involves asking a provocative question in the title, or a graphic with an attention-grabbing statistic.
“To find news about a company, I think Gen Z’s news consumption is closely tied to our devices, and I’m not getting any news that doesn’t come from an app on my phone.”
EMILY TOBLER Professional Development Specialist, NBAA
“YouTube might not be the most direct way to get a potential employee to apply for a job, but it’s a great platform to hype exciting things your company may be doing,” continued Tobler.
“My impression is that Gen Z has largely left Facebook behind,” she added. “To find news about a company, I think Gen Z’s news consumption is closely tied to our devices, and I’m not getting any news that doesn’t come from an app on my phone.”
Tobler noted that her generation cares deeply about social issues, so a company’s values must come across in the recruiting process. She added that the assumption that Gen Z is too addicted to their phones to be productive humans making meaningful change is wrong.
“We want to be fulfilled by our day-to-day work, but we also recognize that a work-life balance is paramount for mental and emotional well-being. I want to positively contribute to my community and co-workers, but I also don’t want to have to check my email after I log off for the day,” Tobler concluded.
What Platform to Use to Reach Gen Z
In its Social Media Use Report for 2021, the Pew Research Center broke down social media platform use for different demographics. In the 18- to 29-year-old age group, respondents said they regularly use the following:
- 95% Youtube
- 71% Instagram
- 65% Snapchat
- 48% TikTok
- 42% Twitter
Generally, the younger the viewer, the more likely they are to use Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. Only 30% of this demographic reported using LinkedIn. Many 18- to 29-year-old users say they maintain a LinkedIn profile, but do not check their account daily.