Four Things You Should Never Say When Interviewing a Gen Zer (and Four Things You Should Say Instead)

Four Things You Should Never Say When Interviewing a Gen Zer (and Four Things You Should Say Instead)

 

Hiring and retaining talent is becoming more and more of a challenge – and that’s not good news for an industry fraught with turnover. Now that Gen Z is entering their mid-20s, the bulk of the prospective employees you’ll be hiring for entry level positions within your association management company will be Gen Zers. And while it’s vital for your future property managers and accountants to make a good impression, it’s important to remember that they are interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. So, what are the red flags for the average young candidate in 2021 and beyond? The good news is you won’t have to learn the latest TikTok soundbite to keep their attention. The bad news? Many of your favorite phrases to describe your company and a job may make a Gen Zer run the other direction. Here are four things to never say in an interview, and four ways you can rephrase the common interview lingo.

“We’re like family here.”

Sure, employees want to work in an environment where they’ll be guided and supported. But while families bring love and kindness, they also bring drama and dysfunction. So, when a Gen Zer hears, “We’re like family,” they hear, “We’ve been working here for way too long, we all gossip, and we’ll cause a fight with you over the smallest circumstance just because we feel like it.” Yes, businesses should strive for team environments built upon support and empathy in a similar fashion to a family environment. But at the end of the day, it’s a job, not a family.

This doesn’t mean that the family vibe you’ve built within your company is causing harm. It simply means that a change of tone is important when hiring a Gen Zer – after all, this generation expects to leave their position within three years, so they aren’t looking for their next of kin within their employer. Instead of saying you’re like a family, try something like this: “As this is a small business, it’s important to me to have a team where my employees care about one another and support each other, both personally and professionally. We lift each other up, not tear each other down. That’s what makes us all successful in the long run.”

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“We’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades.”

An interviewee hearing the term ‘jack-of-all-trades’ will see nothing but red flags. To them, you basically just said, “We don’t have enough people working here, so we’re going to have you do the work of 2-3 people all by yourself.” Why the negative connotation? Because of a little thing that happened ten years ago called The Great Recession. While many companies have financially recovered since the recession of the 2010s, most of these companies never fully staffed their teams to pre-recession levels. This means that many employees are continuing to do far more extraneous tasks than they previously did. Gen Zers have heard the horror stories of their Millennial counterparts, so they are cautious of starting a job that will surely lead to burnout.

Most positions within community management require employees to wear many hats – from helping a homeowner pay their bill to supporting a board determine their budget allocation. So, while flexibility is key, and it’s important to stress that in the interview process, there are better ways to discuss the topic at hand. “We’re looking for someone who can complete X, Y, and Z job duties, but also be willing to go the extra mile for a board member or homeowner in need.” This gets the message across without ringing the alarms. It will also be received positively by a Gen Zer, because more than other generations, these candidates prefer to understand specifics behind job duties.

“We have foosball and pizza parties!”

It may not be the foosball table or pizza you’re boasting. But any type of freebie social activity that you promote with greater velocity than salary or benefits is code for, “We don’t pay you anything.” While the average entry level employee does not expect an exorbitant salary, the average Gen Z employee does expect a livable wage – and cares about that over random perks. So rather than showcasing social perks, showcase the bottom line. Highlight the salary range, outline the benefits, and after that, highlight some of your fun perks for working at your business. Will some candidates walk away the moment they hear the salary range? Sure. But it’s better to know whether the two of you are on the same page now versus at the end of the interview process.

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“We’re not a very tech-savvy company.”

Gen Zers do not want to work in companies that lack technological efficiencies. They want to know that they will be empowered to work better, faster, and easier through best-in-class solutions. You may not be the most tech-savvy person in the industry, and that’s perfectly fine. Rather than mentioning that, highlight the ways in which your tools will improve their workflow. Automated processes, mobile-first property management solutions, and integrated accounting are just a few solutions you can highlight – all, of course, based on the job role being discussed.

When interviewing, it’s also important to have a technologically efficient process that coincides with your technologically efficient solutions. If you asked to upload the resume in the application, don’t ask them to email a copy or re-input their resume into other fields. Use scheduling tools like Calendly for them to book interview times with ease. If you’re interviewing for a remote position, ensure that the conferencing tool you’re using is working ahead of time for the interview. A tech mishap during the interview process could leave a candidate in the dust.

 

Now that you know a few ways to improve the interview process for a Gen Z employee, you may be wondering how others in the community association management industry build camaraderie that improves turnover. Our article featuring David Priestley of Priestley Management Company will offer tips to strengthen employee retention within your business. Now you can say to your future Gen Z employees that your company slaps (okay, don’t say that, but you know what we mean.)

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