What’s the deal with candidate-persona messaging?

Candidate-persona messages can be a tricky art to nail, but they’ve got real merit in the outbound recruitment toolbox.

The biggest mistake I’m seeing in engaging prospects at the moment…is the blanket spammed, not customised, non-authentic [outreach] messages…candidates appreciate that I take the time to send messages individually

Jessica Gibson-Jones, Hot Source E2

We know personalisation is key to both candidate experience but also to receiving response rates. The most common way to personalise is what we refer to as hyper-personalisation — non-tokenised references to a candidates profiles. With automation tools able to easily insert a candidates current company or experience, hyper-personalisation has long been the answer to the personalisation issue. Complimenting specifics on a portfolio or responding directly to something in their bio are both examples of hyper-personalisation, but then what is candidate-persona messages?

Candidate-persona messages are all about picking similar traits in the candidates you are looking to target, and speaking to them specifically so you can re-use the message without losing authenticity or the personalisation element.

This type of messaging is great if you’re wanting to still personalise, but have a large amount of candidates to get through. The trick to this is segmenting your candidates into groups of people that all tick several boxes, and then speaking to those boxes.

You’ve got to make sure you’re messaging the right person, and if you want to see your response rates increase you have to start working on your personalisation.

Vanessa Raath, Hot Source E7

Say you’re hiring a Senior React.js developer who has experience in SaaS startups, and has not yet held a leadership position but you are hoping this person could eventually take on a leadership role. Sounds specific right? Chances are if you’re sourcing strategically you’ve already got this criteria set out.

Because the candidates are all:

  • Skilled in React.js
  • Seniors
  • Potential Leaders
  • Working in SaaS
  • Working in Startups

There’s plenty of common ground for you to talk about that you could say to the same person again. Here’s some example messages:

Example 1:

Hi {{first_name}}, really impressed with the startups you’ve worked for and wanted to reach out. We’re looking for a Snr Dev skilled at React.js like yourself to join. Acme Inc is a SaaS startup so you’ll be facing similar challenges as you are currently, but we’re also hoping to turn this position into a leadership role down the line and based on your career growth I think you’d be a great candidate for that! Can we jump on a call?

Example 2:

Hey {{first_name}}, I’m John Doe from Acme Inc. I spied your profile and your React.js skills and experience scaling SaaS platforms makes me think that you’d be a real asset to Acme Inc. If you’re open to it, I’d love to chat about potential opportunities here, and your career goals as we have some leadership positions planned in the next 12mths as well.

What makes candidate persona messaging effective is it feels authentic, there’s so many elements of the message and it’s so specific it feels like it has to be about that person. But that also means you should be sourcing for the message and ensuring that you are messaging the right people. If you sent this message to a candidate who didn’t have the skill set or background it would be awkward, and obvious that it wasn’t written for them. There’s definitely a time and a place for these messages, and when that time arises they certainly can be highly effective.

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