In the ever-evolving landscape of talent acquisition, recruiters are constantly seeking ways to stand out in a crowded job market. There was pressure from hiring managers to find perfectly qualified candidates…well… yesterday. Relying solely on inbound applications is no longer sufficient and sourcing can feel like looking for a needle in the haystack. It’s a tough job and the only way to come out ahead is to work smarter, not harder. But how do you even do that? In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks on how to increase candidate engagement through customized outreach messages leveraging tools like text messaging and AI.
Personalization at Scale
I recently went on a fishing trip with my dad so I’m going to use the old fishing analogy here. Which tactic will catch you the big mouth bass of your dreams:
Tactic A: Play the numbers game and put as many fishing lines out as possible and then drive around the lake.
Tactic B: Taking a moment to think about what type of fish you want to catch. Then identifying where those fish like to hang out (shallow water, near rocks, deep water, etc.) and what they like to eat (worms, bugs, other fish, etc.). Then putting the exact type of bait they like to eat in the type of areas they are drawn to.
Tactic A might catch you more fish from a numbers perspective but maybe you wind up with a bunch of catfish, crappies, or even an old soda can or two. By the numbers this was a more successful fishing trip but it didn’t yield that coveted ten pound big mouth bass. Now Tactic B requires you to slow down and think for a minute. You might even catch less fish in the end, but it doesn’t matter if you wind up with the exact fish you were looking for in the first place. So how do we translate fishing into recruiting?
The unlock is to aim for personalization at scale. It works on candidates, not just fish.
I know, I know. The two seem to be at odds with each other… but they don’t have to be! It comes down to taking off your recruiter hat and putting on your marketing hat. Candidates are no longer candidates but instead they are potential customers. Job descriptions are no longer job descriptions but can be reworked into customer profiles.
You’re unconvinced so let me explain.
The Importance of Response Rate and Engagement in Recruitment
At the end of the day we know that personalization in our messaging helps us stand out from the crowd.
Response rate and engagement are the lifeblood of successful recruiting efforts and one of the best proven ways to increase your candidate response rate is through more customized and personal messaging. Yet taking the time to do so can be tedious and time consuming when the volume of candidates that need outreach is high.
In a market where top talent is in high demand and short supply, the ability to capture the attention of potential candidates is what will separate you from your competition. Think of the fish analogy here, everyone has received that sales email or LinkedIn message from a recruiter that is impersonal, blatantly copy/pasted, and borderline robotic in tone. These messages wind up ignored, deleted, or even sent to spam. Now, when someone sends a message that feels personal, thoughtful, and like it was sent from an actual human you take pause.
A recruiter is more often than not the first impression a candidate has of a company and we all know first impressions matter. How friendly, approachable, and responsive a recruiter is might be an indication of what the rest of the company culture is like and by association what it would be like to work there.
Depending on how robust your recruiting metrics are you may be tracking response rates and engagement metrics and they are crucial indicators of how effective your recruitment efforts are. A high response rate means your candidates are not only interested but also actively engaging with your outreach, while strong engagement suggests that candidates are genuinely considering your organization as a potential employer.
Crafting your Candidate Profiles
If you weren’t convinced before about the importance of personalized messages hopefully you are now. So then how do you do that at scale? This is where it’s time to grab your marketing hat.
Grab your job description and start to pull out key attributes that would make someone an ideal candidate. Think about things like:
- Years of experience
- How they need to work - independently, as a team, which shift
- What motivates them
- What soft skills they should have
Now, it’s time to grab our tools: AI and messaging.
The Power of AI Tools for Customized Recruiting Messages
Using your favorite AI Chat tool, you can leverage your new candidate profile to create several message templates for candidate outreach. You can iterate and ask it to write new ones with different tones - funnier, more casual, more formal, shorter, longer, etc. LinkedIn has a great guide to help you do this.
Keep generating different options until you have at least a few that both feel authentic to your personal voice and reflective of your company culture. Remember, AI is a tool and you may not get the perfect message the first time so make small tweaks to tone or word usage as needed. It’s often easier to edit than to sit staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration!
From here you can start testing. Switch out your template every few days and take note of your response rates.
AI offers several advantages, such as:
- Data-driven Insights: AI can analyze vast amounts of candidate data and behavior to identify patterns and preferences. This information can help tailor messages to individual candidates or specific candidate segments.
- Automated Candidate Segmentation: AI can categorize candidates based on their skills, experience, and interests. This segmentation allows for more targeted messaging, increasing the likelihood of a positive response. For example, FactoryFix’s AI powered scoring algorithm rates candidates using a star rating system based on their candidate profile and their answers to screener questions.
- Personalized Outreach: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can engage candidates in real-time, answering questions and providing information tailored to their needs and create a more human-like interaction. In the case of FactoryFix, candidates receive screening questions in the form of text messages allowing them to reply right on their phone. FactoryFix data has shown that candidates are 3X more likely to respond when they receive messages from a recruiter in the form of text messages.
- Measuring and Optimizing: AI can track candidate interactions and responses, allowing recruiters to adjust their messaging strategies based on real-time data. A/B testing can help fine-tune messaging to maximize engagement.
Now, go fishing!
In the competitive world of talent acquisition, personalized recruiting messages and AI tools are the keys to unlocking higher response rates and enhanced candidate engagement. The statistics show that organizations that embrace these strategies are reaping the rewards of a more efficient and effective recruitment process. FactoryFix is leaning into this trend by placing an emphasis on making the recruiter’s life easier and allowing them to spend more time on their job rather than administrative tasks.
As we look to the future of recruitment, one thing is clear: the combination of technology and human expertise will continue to drive success. By prioritizing customized messaging and harnessing the power of AI tools, your organization can catch top talent and thrive in the ever-evolving job market.
About the Author
Hibben Rothschild is a veteran People Operations leader, specializing in tech and high-growth sectors. She's the founder of foundHR and has served as the Head of People for global businesses like Source Intelligence and tech firms such as Jellyvision and Braintree. She is a George Washington University graduate with dual degrees and a PHR certification.