How social media influences Gen Z's job searching approach

By Phan Duong   April 22, 2024 | 06:01 am PT
Phuong Nhi posted a 50-word job search notice on social media without a proper CV or mentioning any qualifications and achieved 10,000 reaches.

For several months the 27-year-old Hanoi woman has been on Threads, Meta's new social network launched in 2023.

The airline worker wanted to find a job in a more dynamic industry and a younger environment. She decided to try searching on Threads after seeing many other young people doing it.

Phuong Nhi, 27, an airline employee, wants to find a new job. Photo courtesy of Nhi

Phuong Nhi, 27, an airline employee, wants to find a new job. Photo courtesy of Nhi

Hoang Nam, 25, a UX/UI designer in HCMC, also jumped on the bandwagon after realizing the potential of Threads as a platform for job hunting.

On April 12 he created a 70-word post with three main points: the position he was looking for, a link to his portfolio and contact details.

"My friend landed a good job through a Threads post, and so I wanted to try as well," he says.

Not only job seekers but also employers are embracing this trend.

Be Hoang Mai, owner of a fashion chain in Hanoi, needed to hire sales assistants for her new store on Ba Trieu Street.

She followed her friends’ advice to use Threads instead of other social media platforms for her job postings.

She says: "I usually have to pay money to boost recruitment posts on most social media platforms in hope of getting applicants. But I got five within just a few hours of posting on Threads."

Most people looking for job opportunities on Threads are young and belong to Generation Z (Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012).

According to a report by McKinsey & Company, half of the Gen Z population has started working, accounting for a quarter of the global workforce by 2023. This generation grew up with technology, the Internet, electronic devices, and an exploding social media. Members of this cohort are collaborative and socially conscious global citizens, caring more about global issues than previous generations.

"They are also revolutionizing job recruitment," Bui Doan Chung, founder of a community called "Nghe nhan su Vietnam" (HR professionals in Vietnam), says.

Gen Z accounts for a third of the Vietnamese workforce, he points out.

This generation takes an active role in approaching employers, at times going against conventional job application methods.

Instead of finding job openings on conventional job search sites, they make use of various other channels, including social media platforms.

Trang Nguyen, northern recruitment manager at a media company who runs "The workaholics" podcast channel about work and recruitment agrees it is a good way.

"The use of social media can help candidates search for jobs and approach employers faster and more proactively. Sometimes, candidates can partially check the reputation of the employer through social media."

Nguyen Huyen Hao, CEO of a headhunting company in Hanoi, says young people nowadays tend to stay in a job for shorter periods than previous generations, which can be why they seek new jobs often.

Others are constantly on the lookout for new jobs to work on several at a time and increase their income.

"I have met young people who have full-time jobs at one company and work part-time or remotely for another."

A Gen Z worker in Hanoi looking through job postings on Threads on April 13, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Duong

A Gen Z worker in Hanoi looking through job postings on Threads on April 13, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Phan Duong

Moreover, Gen Z youngsters now choose to show off their skills in more creative ways rather than use CVs, which have been a staple for job applications for decades.

Duc Anh, 23, of Ha Noi boasted about his skills in a video on TikTok after graduating from university, which earned him many job offers.

After quitting his job at an NGO recently he is now looking for new opportunities using both the conventional route and social media.

"I will try ‘selling myself’ online over the next few days," he says.

A 2023 survey by global talent recruitment firm Randstad found that 43% of people aged between 18 and 24 found job-hunting difficult due to reasons such as not having "relevant experience" while 63% had problems with traditional CVs and believed they did not serve as the best means of expression.

According to Randstad, the survey result is not surprising since the traditional application process is often laborious and does not allow one's true personality and skills to shine through.

Nguyen say this also allows job applicants to use casual language. "This takes away the serious nature of job hunting, making the process less stressful."

Many companies that target Gen Z candidates find themselves changing the recruitment process to attract more young applicants.

However, large companies and corporations with established employer brands still require their candidates to follow the proper process and adhere to their rules.

Chung says rapid recruitment is rarely effective. Brief job postings equate to incomplete employment information, which can turn out to be user data collection schemes or even job scams.

"Social networks are free of charge and full of incomplete information. Many people have fallen for scams and lost money due to lack of proper research."

Huyen Hao, an HR expert, agrees that Threads is attracting many young people with its job-hunting potential, but the ones posted on it are mostly low-level positions such as contributors, interns and freelancers.

The hirers are mainly small companies and startups, and the overall effect is that the platform lacks the professionalism and seriousness of many other sites, Hao adds.

Nhi realized this situation after a few days of posting. Although the post had 10,000 reaches, she received only a handful of job offers, most of which were irrelevant to her experience. "I guess it’s a good way for recruiters to find me."

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