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Personalization is more than opening an email with the candidate’s name; it’s more than featuring some custom job alerts on your career site. It’s about gathering intel about your candidates, tracking their behavior and understanding how to influence them. So what data is essential to building a more personalized candidate experience, and how do we begin capturing it? We can take a lesson from the leader in personalization, relevance and automation, Amazon. Here are 4 ways to start.



First, identify the candidates you are looking to attract to your employer brand in order to hire quality talent.

This is nothing new for sourcing strategy. You already know the critical skill families you need to recruit, from the hard-to-fill to the high-volume, and in most cases, are already building talent pipelines for these skillsets. But you need to take it a step further: how far have you gone to truly understand when a candidate may be ready to apply and what interests are driving their behavior?

Use a candidate persona template to list background information, demographics, interests and sites they may visit, as well as the macroeconomic data around the industries and disciplines they work in. This will help you to create content and messaging that keys in on their interests and needs and provides them with valuable information.

Pro Tip

  • Use automation rules in technology like a Recruitment Marketing Platform (which includes a built-in CRM).
  • Use customized talent network forms to identify key personas and funnel into targeted talent pipelines.
  • Nurture each talent pipeline with targeted job openings and employer branding content.
  • Send an outreach email automatically to those who take action.
  • Create custom searches that help identify and engage candidates based on specific sets of criteria.



Second, form a complete picture of each candidate — literally. Candidates are much more than a resume or CV. They are more than bullet points. They are stories and ideas and experiences, and all of these things make them the person you want to hire for your team. Using a technology that can capture digital interviews and make them part of your candidate profile will help you start building rich, holistic views of candidates that are accessible to your stakeholders in the hiring process, exactly when and where they need them. More importantly, you get to frame the questions you want to ask during pre-screening, so you can focus on getting the information you want to help you interview more qualified, interested candidates.

There’s an impact on decision making at both the individual level and organizational level. Specifically, evaluation data can help support immediate decisions about who gets to move forward in the hiring process. At the organizational level, data helps inform models of success — what “great” looks like at your company — for each type of role.

Pro Tip

Ask the right questions. One of the great truisms of any data-driven process is “garbage in, garbage out.” You get what you ask for.

  • Outline the data you need at each stage of your process and frame your questions to be direct and specific around that data.
  • Keep questions simple and concise; look for one data point or insight for each question.
  • Use questions that broaden the data you already have; this is your time to screen for fit, interests, etc.



Third, deepen your view of each candidate through their use of social media. The power of using social recruiting in candidate attraction is two-fold. First, there is a wealth of social data on candidates that gives a clearer and broader picture of who they are and what they’re interested in beyond what’s available in a resume. A candidate record needs to provide access to this social information as recruiters source candidates in the CRM. It also can allow for a more personal outreach of shared interests from recruiter to candidate. Case in point: this is a great story about a man who received an email from a recruiter after posting a video of his scuba diving trip in Maui. The recruiter was also a diver; they made a connection, and the man, who wasn’t even looking for a job, ended up accepting the offer.

Second, candidates use social to screen you too. Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all have the ability to influence a candidate’s decision to apply to your organization. Looking at these stats, these sites are clearly impacting candidates’ decisions, so it’s important to have a consistent brand message across all social channels.

Pro Tip

Use social in recruiter outreach; social data can provide insight and credibility.

  • Check a candidate’s social footprint before writing an email or inMail to ensure a more personalized message.
  • Follow pipelined candidates on Twitter (they will most likely will notice!).
  • Update and expand company social profiles with photos, events, employee insight, etc., to entice candidates.
  • Make sure company social profiles are linked on Glassdoor and Indeed.



Fourth, every touchpoint builds the candidate’s story and your profile of them. In every single touchpoint with candidates, there is an ability to influence and connect with them through content and messaging. It’s extremely important to understand which messaging works for which channel, as well as where the candidate is in their journey. Marketers use the buyer’s journey and content maps to plan out which types of content would best work to move the buyer to conversion: from awareness to consideration to decision.

Talent acquisition teams should apply this same concept to candidate engagements. Sending an event invite to a first-time contact who is barely aware of your employer brand wouldn’t be the best use of that content or that communication. Mapping the content to the candidate stage and then tracking all the sources of influence through technology like a Recruitment Marketing Platform will tell you where candidates are engaging with you and consuming content, as well as what content is most effective for interest and conversion. The entire picture of influence is extremely important in understanding how your talent acquisition efforts are performing — and is much more telling than just measuring the last source they visit before they apply.

Just like the importance of a consistent employer brand in social media, the same holds true throughout the entire candidate journey. Candidates should gain deeper and more specific information as they move through each of your touch points, from your career site to social media to emails to landing pages — and each should have a consistent look, feel and tone across channels and devices.

Pro Tip

Start measuring source of influence in addition to source of hire to understand the complete candidate journey. Using a Recruitment Marketing Platform, you can track all candidate touch points pre-apply, including job board views and clicks; career site visits; email opens and clicks; social interactions; recruiter follow-up and feedback; talent network form completions; and ATS statuses once you convert them into an applicant. This will provide a holistic look at the efforts that affect a candidate’s decision to apply and help you better allocate your finite budget and resources.

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