Taking a Personalized Recruitment Approach: How to Appeal to Individual Interests

As recruiters, we are at an interesting and pivotal crossroads. On one hand, thanks to technological innovation and educational advancement, recent graduates and those just entering the workforce are some of the most qualified, educated professionals we’ve ever seen. On the other hand, competition is fierce for their skills and as such, we’re often the ones reaching out to a prospective employee to field availability and interest.

So, how do we help our company stand out above the rest? How can we convince a prospect that he or she should abandon all other offers and take the one that we’re putting on the table? The answer lies in personalizing our approach, taking into account the person’s goals, talents, hobbies and interests before reaching out about a job offer. Let’s take a look at this technique and how recruiters can leverage it to build capable, high-performing teams.

Why Personalized Content is King

Think about your most recent media experience. Most likely, you listened to a song on a playlist that was customized to your musical tastes. Or, you watched a movie that was recommended to you online based on flicks you’ve recently enjoyed. All of this tailored content isn’t accidental. Rather, it’s purposefully designed to make you, the experiencer, feel special and cared about -- and it works. Today’s customer craves personalized engagement, whether at the grocery store or shopping on an e-commerce website.

How does this play into your recruitment strategy? In order to differentiate yourself from other recruiters, you can’t simply put a blanket offer on the table, ask a few generic questions such as what their long-term career goals are, and expect to a prospective employee. Rather, if you can approach the interview or meeting armed with a list of detailed questions and comments that center on the individual’s specific goals, you’re much more likely to be remembered in the long run.

How Recruiters Can Start the Process

Chances are, you’re busy. You’re juggling a million different to-dos, filing paperwork, responding to emails and much more. You likely don’t have the time to perform in-depth, time-consuming research on every prospect’s name that passes over your desk. The good news is that you don’t have to. There are plenty of quick ways to learn as much about a prospective employee as possible before you hold the recruitment interview.

Start by checking his or her LinkedIn profile. Here, you can find information about previous work experience, former employers, qualifications, educational pursuits, recommendations and more. Write key details down and integrate them into your conversation. Then, develop your personalized approach to recruitment using the following tips.

Five Ways to Integrate Customization into Your Recruitment Process

1. Ditch the template.

Are you still working with a generic outreach template in your efforts to find new talent? If so, now is the time to toss it. Rather, you need a customizable email or letter that can easily be tweaked to insert key, personalized details that directly appeal to the recipient. While vague messaging might work in some industries, if you’re dealing with a niche or specialty trade, you’ll need to be as specific and intentional as possible with your wording.

2. Talk like a regular person.

There’s no need to fill your outreach message with tons of complicated industry jargon just to sound professional. Doing so can muddle what you’re trying to say and leave the recipient confused. Instead, simply approach the topic using normal terms, talking like a regular person would. If you use a natural vernacular, you’re more likely to capture the eyes and attention of someone looking for a job. Anything over-the-top can be off-putting and land your letter at the bottom of the pile.

3. Integrate media.

Now, you don’t need to fill your outreach email with tons of clip art just to stand out. In fact, that approach rarely works. But, you can integrate a few branded pictures or videos to help prospects understand who you are as a company and what you represent. We’re visual creatures by nature and this type of media is more likely to be retained and remembered than simple text.

4. Show what you know.

You’ve taken the time to research the prospect and learn a little bit about him or her. Now is the time to showcase that knowledge. In your letter, include at least one detail that is specific to the prospect, so he or she knows that you’ve done your research. For instance, if you have a graphic design opening at your firm, you might begin your letter by stating “I noticed you studied graphic design in college, where you graduated with honors.” The era of the cold call is a thing of the past, and candidates want to know that you’re truly interested in who they are, not just what they can offer.

5. Make your intention known.

End your letter with a specific next step. Rather than simply leaving the conversation open, include what’s known in the marketing world as a Call to Action, or CTA. Do you want the prospect to come in for an interview? Are you seeking a referral? Or, are you just sending this out to connect professionally as part of a networking endeavor? Make sure the applicant understands your intent before closing and signing.

Ultimately, personalization and recruitment go hand-in-hand. If you have your eye on a particular candidate, or if you simply want to stand out in the competitive recruiting sphere, you’ll need to integrate tailored details into your outreach campaigns. With so much at stake, this is a small but important step you can’t afford to skip.

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