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Personalization Requires Segmentation

This is part six and the final post of our series based on what I learned at the IAMPHENOM conference.

During Phenom CEO Mahe Bayireddi’s keynote address, he talked about the rapid pace of change and how the advancements in AI technology have us on a trend toward more and more specialization.  He stated that the next decade will be dominated by intelligence, automation, and experience.  

As I thought about Phenom’s evolution of bringing hyper-personalized digital experiences into the talent journey, it struck me how this trend might be at odds with our HR roots.  As a Human Resources professional, you are taught from the beginning that you must have standard processes and treat all candidates the same.  It’s a compliance thing. However, delivering personalized experiences requires differentiating based on the individual’s persona.

How can this be reconciled?

First, we need to get past the false requirement that everyone must be treated the same.  In reality, we must treat everyone fairly, and one of the most unfair things you can do is treat every candidate the same.

Compliant Hiring Practices

As an HR professional, you know that treating job candidates equally is a fundamental principle that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization. When candidates are assessed based on objective criteria rather than personal biases, it promotes a level playing field where everyone has a fair chance to showcase their abilities.  Process standardization establishes consistent procedures to ensure all candidates are assessed fairly and objectively, promoting transparency and equal opportunities. By implementing standardized processes, companies can eliminate biases and make informed decisions based on candidates’ qualifications, skills, and potential.

However, we apply this principle across all jobs equally, and that is not necessary.  If you segment your talent, as long as you are consistent with the candidates for a particular role, you are compliant.  

We do this today to a certain extent.  For example, hiring front-line workers is often a very different process than corporate roles.  But to deliver personalized experiences, we need to segment our talent more granularly. 

Talent Segmentation

While standardization and equal treatment are crucial, it’s essential to recognize that different talent categories may require unique approaches. Talent segmentation involves identifying specific candidate groups based on their skills, experiences, the nature of the job role, or by their mindset and motivations. By segmenting talent categories, companies can deliver tailored experiences that address candidates’ needs and expectations, leading to better candidate engagement and improved outcomes.

Here is a simple example. Many companies institute a policy where all candidates must complete the online job application before they can be invited to an interview.  This policy is 100% in the name of compliance and getting sign-offs on disclaimers, etc. This is not an issue for jobs with large populations of active candidates applying.  But what about the jobs where there are few or no active candidates?  You have recruiters or sourcers trying to find and convince passive candidates to consider your company.  

After finally convincing someone not looking for a new job to be interested, is asking them to complete a lengthy online application the best experience?  

If you segment your roles by how hard they are to fill, such as jobs that have many applicants versus jobs that get very few applicants, you can design different experiences that are better for your candidates and still compliant. 

Striking a Balance

Achieving a balance between process standardization and delivering different experiences might be easier said than done, but it is essential for long-term success. Here are a few considerations to get started:

Establish Core Standardization: Develop core standardized practices that ensure fairness, consistency, and transparency throughout the hiring process. This foundation will create a level playing field for all candidates.

Segment Talent Thoughtfully: Identify key talent categories and evaluate their needs and expectations. Use a Candidate Persona canvas and journey maps to fully understand the mindset of the talent you are trying to attract.  

Design Experiences:  For critical roles, take the time to design a unique experience consciously. Tailor your approaches, communication, and engagement strategies accordingly while ensuring that the underlying principles of fairness and equal opportunity are upheld.

Leverage Technology: Embrace and align your technology solutions, such as a CRM, video interviews, and AI-powered assessments and automation, to streamline processes and tailor experiences efficiently. This allows for scalability, efficiency, and personalized interactions.

Continuously Assess and Adapt: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your processes and experiences by collecting candidate feedback and monitoring key metrics. Make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategies, balancing the needs of candidates and the organization.

In today’s dynamic employment landscape, companies must strike a delicate balance between process standardization and tailored candidate experiences. By establishing standardized practices, treating candidates equally, segmenting talent categories, and delivering different experiences, organizations can attract top talent while promoting fairness and inclusion. Embracing this balanced approach will not only enhance the company’s employer brand but also lead to better candidate experiences and improved hiring outcomes.

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