In fact, it’s probably one of the most used commonly discussed themes in recruitment today.
When we really break it down though, what does personalization mean? Why is it such an important part of helping you hire great people for your company?
Well, we like stories at Beamery, so we thought we’d use the tale of Netflix and Blockbuster to illustrate the importance of personalizing the recruiting process. Enjoy!
The Netflix effect
We live in an “on-demand” world.
Food, taxis, films, music – it’s all just the click of a button away. We don’t need to wait or go out of our way to get the things we want anymore. They come to us.
People expect the services they receive to be personalized. We want companies to recommend food that we might like, music we should listen to, programs we should watch.
The brands that are successful nowadays, digital disruptors like Netflix, pay attention to these new rules of engagement. They’re redefining what it means to be customer-focused. Everything is built around what “you” as a customer want, how “you” want to engage with them as a business. This is the new normal.
It’s easy for us to separate “candidates” and “consumers” when we think about hiring. There’s a bit of a problem here though. They’re the same people.
There’s a bit of a problem here though. At the end of the day, they’re the same people:
Candidates are consumers.
And, what’s more, they’re approaching job applications in the same way they would any purchasing decision. They expect the experience to look and feel the same (or at least similar). They have less patience for companies that are slow to respond or don’t focus on building a relationship.
We like to call this the “Netflix effect”.
The Blockbuster experience
At its peak in 2004, Blockbuster employed 84,300 people worldwide, including about 58,500 in the United States and about 25,800 in other countries, and had 9,094 stores.
It was a complete behemoth, the undisputed champion of the video rental industry.
So what happened?
They lost sight of what really mattered to their customers; delivering entertainment direct to people’s homes.
Why go to a Blockbuster store to rent a movie when you could just sit back and have one delivered to your home direct by Netflix? (Netflix started out as a DVDs-by-mail business).
By 2010, Blockbuster had totally fallen from grace, crashing to a comparatively tiny valuation of $24 million. The illustration below from Drift really captures the contrasting fates of the two companies:
At first glance, this might seem more like a Harvard Business School case study than a lesson for recruiting!
If we look close enough though, we can find an enduring lesson about the dangers of not adapting to the demands and expectations of the market.
Candidate expectations have changed (we’re not just talking about millennials here either).
They expect Netflix. They expect the experience they get when they apply for a job to be the same as when they buy a product. They expect to have positive interactions with your recruiting team. (The Netflix effect remember).
Recruiting processes can be pretty jarring by comparison. The majority of companies have everything set up to process applications, not build relationships.
There are obvious gaps in this system.
- Being “processed” isn’t always fun. How do you ensure that candidates have a great experience from start to finish?
- Most people don’t apply. How can you persuade people who aren’t actively looking for new opportunities to talk to you?
Recruiting departments aren’t at fault here, most lack the tools to apply the “Netflix experience” to talent acquisition.
In fact, when you come to think of it, what we expect of talent teams has changed substantially. We want them to know everything about the people they’re recruiting, to communicate instantly, to find needles in haystacks and to market to candidates that aren’t ready to apply. (All while hiring faster and more efficiently we might add)
This is where software like Beamery comes in. We help recruiters catch up with marketing departments, but we do it in the right way. We understand the nuances between recruiting and marketing. They’re similar, but they’re not the same.
We also understand that most recruiters have a pretty heavy workload – if you’re going to ask them to do something totally new, you need a system that is smart enough to run a lot of the new processes on autopilot!
For those wondering whether now is the right time to think about all of this, there’s a very real cost to moving too slowly. Companies that can’t or won’t adapt are literally fading from relevance. Over the past 15 years, over half of the Fortune 500 have disappeared.
What’s more, this rate of change is accelerating. Who knows what will happen over the next decade…
What does real personalization look like in recruiting?
One of the reasons why companies like Amazon and Netflix are so lauded when it comes to personalization is because everything they do is designed to build a deep, long-term relationship.
The more you use their services, the smarter and more personalized they become.
Recruiting should be no different. There’s a lot of noise in the market about personalizing careers site content and job recommendations; both an important part of getting candidate’s attention but only the tip of the iceberg.
It’s what happens next that’s important:
Consistent, relevant communication is what builds the relationship, and helps companies turn candidates into brand followers, advocates and applicants.
Without this, all of the resources that you invest in attracting and converting candidates are wasted.
To be successful (and meet the changing expectations of the market), companies need to engage candidates on their terms. This could mean anything from using the mediums that target candidates are active on (social, SMS, Whatsapp, email), to sharing content that relates to the level of awarenss or stage of your process that people are at (more on that here).
Remember; today’s candidate is savvier, more informed, and more particular than ever before. We all need to adapt if we want to be successful.
P.S. If you’re looking for a platform focused on every aspect of the relationship building process, take a look at Beamery. We amass every conceivable candidate data point and interaction to help you personalize every experience that someone has with your company.
Recruitment marketing: the free course
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