Marketers know best (then again, all marketers are liars tell stories)

Perhaps an unpopular statement, and one that we at Herefish don’t say flippantly. But in terms of understanding an audience, it’s a fact. Marketers have recognized the value of doing so for decades, if not centuries.

Marketers know that in order for an advertising campaign to be successful, you need to know the audience that you’re targeting, and you need its message to resonate with them. A campaign crafted to the specific needs of a specific segment of the population will perform far better than a broad, universal campaign that aims to please everyone. One-size-fits-all campaigns only work if people are one size. Having seen basketballers walk into the Olympic stadium next to gymnasts, it’s fair to say that they are not.

Marketers use segmentation to cut the pie of humanity into more easily digestible chunks. This allows the audience to be subdivided by certain characteristics – age, location, socioeconomic class, sex, hobbies and marital status, to name a few – so that a product can be placed in front of only the most relevant eyes. The result? More bang for your marketing buck.

Segmentation, and the personalization that it facilitates, enables a recruiter to demonstrate their understanding of the candidate.

But audience segmentation and campaign personalization aren’t just for marketers. The best recruiters use these strategies too.

Recruiting segmentation basics

In recruiting segmentation, your audience is the candidate and your product is the open job. The characteristics that you’ll use to segment your candidates will subsequently be more job-focused – current employment status, skills, career goals, salary expectations and the like.

With the unemployment rate at its lowest levels since the 90’s, recruiters find themselves working in a stubbornly candidate-driven market. With the demand for talent outstripping the supply, job seekers are enjoying rare amounts of power. They’re choosing to work only with the recruiters who they feel understand them, and who have their best interests at heart. Segmentation, and the personalization that it facilitates, enables a recruiter to demonstrate their understanding of the candidate.

Segmentation helps recruiters to:

  • Better connect with candidates: Segmentation enables candidate communication to be far more personalized. By speaking to candidates in specific roles or with certain amounts of experience, you can use language that speaks directly to them to achieve better engagement.
  • Identify opportunities and capitalize on them: By segmenting your candidates, you’ll quickly learn if any valuable segments are underrepresented in your ATS, and actively appeal to that type of talent.
  • Find the perfect fit for a client’s role: The pursuit of better segmentation will have a recruiter learning more about their candidates than ever before, helping them to find the perfect candidate/client fit, and enhancing their employment brand.
  • Only hear from the most relevant candidates: Where years ago a recruiting firm would settle on particular verbiage, shout it out to anyone who’d listen, then sift through hundreds of resumes to find the best candidates, segmentation and personalization does the sifting for you.

As noted by StackOverflow, talent segmentation can be an intimidating process. Any good ATS system will be capable of basic segmentation, but turning this raw data into actionable intelligence may require either a higher level of IT expertise or a more robust piece of technology. These investments will quickly pay themselves back, however.

From segmentation to personalization

Let’s say that you’ve invested the resources, and now have the ability to segment your candidate pool at will. Then what?

Segmentation alone won’t make your recruiting efforts more efficient and effective – it simply facilitates personalization within your recruiting strategy.

The benefits of personalizing candidate communication have long been known. Deloitte found that simply addressing a subscriber by name results in a 5.2% boost in email open rates. But imagine if you didn’t just know the recipient’s name, but their job role, their professional history, their motivations and their aspirations as well?

With segmentation, imagine no more. This information can help you to form incredibly compelling and engaging communications, transforming your recruiting strategy from shots in the dark to shooting fish in a barrel.

“But I don’t have time to personalize every single email, text and LinkedIn message,” you understandably yell. Thankfully you won’t need to.

Proper segmentation enables personalized communications to be automated through the use of marketing automation software.

  1. A segment within your ATS is chosen
  2. A communication is crafted that speaks directly to the segment
  3. And the information of each individual candidate within the segment is inserted into the email as it’s sent

The email that arrives in the candidate’s inbox reads as if it was sent to them and them alone, but in reality it could be one of dozens or even hundreds that were sent out simultaneously.

For the first time ever, recruiters can have the best of both worlds – personalization and automation.

Follow marketing’s lead

Marketers have known it for years. And as competition within the field of staffing increases, recruiters are beginning to understand too. Learn about your audience, segment them, then speak more directly to them. It’s how marketers sell products to eager buyers, and how recruiters need to sell jobs to eager candidates.

So take a leaf from the marketing playbook, and take a segmented, personalized, candidate-centric approach to your recruiting efforts.

You’ll enjoy an ever-growing segment of the market if you do.