First impressions count – eight tips to attract next-gen talent

Are you wasting 50 per cent of your recruitment efforts? A recent survey published by the University of Waterloo found that 50 per cent of young talent would be unlikely to accept a job that matches their skills but not their values.

A strong job description that highlights your company culture and values can make a great first impression and improve your recruitment efforts.

To engage with and recruit next-generation talent, implement these tips when writing a job description:

  1. Start with ‘you’ versus ‘I’. Candidates want to know how the role benefits them. Craft your description to focus on what they will bring to the table versus what you want.
  2. The power of why. Next-gen employees want to make an impact in their work and communities. Show why the job is important, your company’s values and how you make a difference.
  3. Inclusion matters. Consider highlighting how your organization approaches diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Review the posting’s definition of skills and required experience to ensure it includes all backgrounds. Highlight accommodations and your diversity statement to promote your inclusive workplace.
  4. Make the role and responsibilities clear. Creative job titles can be misleading. Regardless of whether you put ‘numbers ninja’ or ‘accountant’, ensure the role and responsibilities are to the point. This ensures candidates have a clear understanding of what to expect.
  5. Include a salary range. Job seekers look for salary ranges first. It also helps companies compete against others when vying for the same talent.
  6. Highlight work-life balance: Is the position or industry in a high-stress environment? Be transparent about the realities of the role. Balance this by promoting the benefits, supports and incentives within your company.
  7. Be clear about location. The pandemic changed the world of work and we are still adjusting. Include information about if the job is on location, a hybrid model or completely remote.
  8. Show you care. Gen Z and millennials want an employer that cares about their well-being and future. Highlight upskilling and reskilling opportunities, career mobility, health and wellness programs and financial incentives.

By 2025 millennials and Generation Z will make up 75 per cent of the workforce. Yet only one in five employers feel confident that they are ready to manage and train the next generation of talent.

Prepare for the future of work by hiring University of Waterloo’s co-op students. Talented, future-ready students from over 120 programs are available and ready to work in human resources, data analysis, IT, communications, engineering and more.

Ready to start hiring? Download the University of Waterloo’s free job description template or hiring information package to get started. You can also attend the next future-ready workforce webinar to learn how to engage the next generation of talent and improve your recruitment, hiring and retention efforts.

The University of Waterloo can help connect you with local, next-generation talent. Reach out to your local co-op specialist for more information.

Margaret Johnston, Business Developer, Co-operative Education, University of Waterloo


Margaret Johnston

Business Developer, Co-operative Education

University of Waterloo