3 Integral Ways to Better Personalize the Candidate Experience

For years, recruiting organizations have used candidate data (resumes, profiles, assessments, etc.) to make informed decisions on hiring. Candidates applied, recruiters evaluated and decisions were made. It is a “wait and evaluate” strategy in many cases.

The digital revolution has turned this dynamic on its head. No longer is it effective to rely solely on candidates taking action. With more information available on employers, a more competitive labor market due to low unemployment for key skills and the consumerization of the candidate experience, candidates are in the driver’s seat. Most importantly, they now expect an experience that is closer to the one that they live every day as consumers―one that’s simple, mobile optimized and personalized.

Recruiting organizations have increasingly realized the need for attraction through recruitment marketing in their recruiting processes, and as this skillset grows in organizations, so will the use of data to personalize the candidate experience.


Using Data Outside of Evaluation

As mentioned above, recruiters have used data to evaluate candidates for the past decade, but this data has been used sparingly in other areas, specifically in terms of candidate engagement.

If we are striving to create better more personalized experiences for candidates, it’s about time we use the data and information we have about them to better target our messaging and foster one-on-one conversations. This means identifying the key data points that can help us differentiate candidate populations from one another and using a technology to help us capture and make this data usable as we target our messaging and campaigns.


Start Small and Grow

The key with your candidate experience initiatives is to start small and grow into more sophisticated strategies. Most organizations are dealing with massive quantities of contacts and applicants, and it’s important to try to provide the best and most organic experience we can while ensuring the communication strategy is feasible for our internal recruiting team to implement and execute.

Technologies such as Recruitment Marketing Platforms (which include CRM) can be integral to this execution, helping to set the stage for better communication and improved candidate experiences at every stage of the candidate journey.


3 Ways to Personalize the Candidate Experience

As we look at the ways to improve and personalize the candidate experience, here are three key ways to get started:

  1. Automate segmentation in your CRM (aka talent pipelines).

To start your mass personalization strategy, you first have to identify the key candidate populations that are meaningful to your business. You’ve most likely already identified the key skills and talent pipelines you recruit today, whether it’s engineers, sales professionals or the like.

Once you’ve identified all of these unique candidate audiences, it’s important to begin building processes within your CRM to automatically segment these audiences based on the data you are capturing. For instance, chemical engineers should automatically be funneled into a targeted pipeline for engineers within your system. You should also be able to upload contacts into the CRM and place these contacts easily into the talent pipelines.

In the end, you want candidate segmentation to happen seamlessly and universally for all contacts―and you don’t want your recruiters to have to waste their time in doing it. They should be focused on deciding what audiences to target and most importantly, what types of content and communications they will deliver to each of these talent pipelines as they progress toward applying for a position.


Pro Tip: A good technology will enable candidates to self-select into these pipelines. Whether it’s through custom fields on talent network forms that a candidate fills out in the apply process or from the career site or subscription preferences when a candidate signs up for job alerts (specific to only their interests), your technology can implement a more personalized experience for candidates based on their actions and interests.


  1. Use dynamic content in job ads and on career site.

Content is the way to any consumer’s heart (if interested in content, I encourage you to read Matt Charney’s eBook: “Recruiter’s Guide to Content Marketing.”) And marketers have been increasingly adept at providing personalized content to their target audiences, not only by creating content with specific audiences in mind, but using automation to display the right content at the right time.

Recruiting can do the same.  One of the most produced pieces of recruiting content is the job description. Every open job has one, and it exists both on job marketing channels as well as the career site. The main problem is that they are typically not convincing or built to convince candidates to apply.

In most cases, this is due to compliance reasons, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add approved content to these descriptions to increase conversion rates for candidates. Leveraging video content and header images and using better layouts within job descriptions can greatly improve how candidates will consume and engage the information. Through automation, we can ensure this content is utilized on every job description to give it the dynamic feel we’re looking to achieve.


Pro Tip: Start generic and over time get more targeted with content. Many organizations are just starting producing content about their company and employer brand. If you have one great video on your careers and organization, use this in the job description for all your jobs. As you create videos and content specific to certain audiences (i.e. sales professionals), use automation to display the appropriate content per audience while keeping the generic careers video for other audiences. This way as you build out your nurture strategy, you can get more targeted with your engagement via these channels without giving your recruiters more work to implement.


  1. Create unlimited career site paths with landing pages.

Your career site is the most visited recruiting asset you have, so ensuring candidates can easily find the information they need is essential to a great experience. The only way to do this is to determine the right paths that your candidate audiences should take on your site.

Answer these questions to get you started:

  • From the homepage, what options should candidates have to navigate to? What options do they not need?
  • Are targeted jobs available (think engineering jobs on engineer-focused landing pages)?
  • What content do you provide outside of jobs? Do you answer why a candidate with a specific skillset should want to work for your company?
  • Do you create landing pages for specific campaigns? What about for campus and recruiting events?
  • Do you have landing pages for diversity, campus or military audiences?
  • Do you explain your recruiting process and set hiring expectations for all candidates on your career site?

Simply, talent acquisition needs to be in control of the career site. You know more about the candidate audiences you recruit than anyone else in the organization, and you need to be able to update content, create landing pages and consistently improve the experience through website analytics.


Pro Tip: A great career site experience is more than a redesign project―it is the iterative work of making small changes based on data and feedback over time. This cannot happen if you host your career site on a platform that doesn’t give you full control over the content and design of the site. Make sure that your technology enables you to make content updates, create unlimited landing pages and leverage targeted talent network forms in the apply flow. All of these areas will help your site convert more qualified candidates for your strategy.


Learn More about Personalization

All of the themes above are key to creating a personalized candidate experience that drives conversions and improves the overall relationships we have with our target candidate audiences.

And while determining your overall communication and engagement strategy is integral to this mission, so is the technology you use to execute it.

Join us on June 25 to see how a Recruitment Marketing Platform and our latest release, SmashFly15, can help you better personalize the candidate experience through improved segmentation and utilization of content throughout the recruiting process.

Views: 873

Comment by Matt Charney on June 16, 2015 at 1:47pm

So much better here than when I read it the first time on LinkedIn. You are an awesome writer, amigo - no matter what platform you're publishing on, I appreciate you thinking of us and dropping some serious knowledge.


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