Talent Circles

Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Recruit in the Era of Personalization

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We live in a time where one-size-fits-all marketing is no longer the standard. All around us, companies are aggregating data with nearly every purchase we make, website we visit and even the apps we use, and then using that data to customize ads, emails and more. We’re in a time when every person receives their own unique ad campaign targeted specifically at what marketers believe will sway us. If this sounds like personalization you wouldn’t be a fan of, keep in mind that it also goes far beyond marketing, and we welcome it with open arms. My home thermostat knows when I walk through the door and customizes the temperature to what I like. When I turn on my TV, Netflix suggests movies I might like based on my past preferences and when I visit LinkedIn, it seems to know that I’m somehow connected to that person I met at a conference last month. Recruiting is personal just like our expectation of the internet of things.

This is where we are. As consumers and individuals, we have come to not only enjoy personalization but also have grown to expect it. So with everything else around us providing customized experiences, why is it that so many recruiters and HR pros still haven’t gotten the memo? We’re past one-size-fits-all marketing and we’re past one-size-fits-all recruiting and retention.

First things first: listen
We may not feel like retailers are listening to us or that Netflix cares that we like the new show they added, but they do. The information they gather from our likes, dislikes and habits is exactly what allows them to provide a unique experience. Similarly, our industry must start listening critically to those it wishes to recruit and retain in order to create an experience that those individuals connect with. What might you find when you set out to listen? You may discover where and how your targets prefer to communicate, how aggressive of an approach is right and even unique characteristics that connect you to them.

Connections are everything
Marketers may use targeted ads to remind us what we were looking at on their website yesterday, but recruiters and HR professionals have an even more powerful tool. Relationships are not only essential to successful recruiting but also provide a distinct advantage over those who cast a wide net and never connect. Relationships and connections allow us to provide the ultimate customized experience for candidates and employees as we learn about each person as an individual. Through these relationships, we’re able to gain knowledge about what’s motivating a move, where a candidate would fit best, similarities between candidates and more. Most importantly, a relationship allows the candidate or employee to get to know the company better and provides a tangible tie that a one-size-fits-all approach never could.

Go back to the basics
At the end of the day, you may not be able to personally connect with every candidate you wish to hire and every employee you want to retain, but you can use basic knowledge and customization to create an experience that sets your company apart. Start with simple and basic tools, like making sure to use a candidate’s name in correspondence, responding to their inquiries and following through on promised communication. These things seem basic, but it will create a more positive experience than most companies are offering.

 Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell


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