Recruitment Segmentation: 7 Variables to Consider

Alexandra Levit, Managing Partner, PeopleResults
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Segmentation is nothing new to our colleagues down the hall in marketing, but when it comes to recruiting, it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Just a few years ago, recruiting messages were “one-size-fits-all.” We agreed on company verbiage we wanted to share publicly and then shouted those words to anyone who would listen. Then, of course, we’d be stuck going through thousands of resumes, many of which were completely unsuitable for our open positions.

Technology, particularly social media, has made it possible to communicate easily with different groups of potential hires. We also have the ability to research candidates, and learn not just about their education and skills but also about their career goals, interests, personal motivations, and cultural references. In turn, we can create relevant recruiting messages accordingly.

In their book Workforce of One: Revolutionizing Talent Management through Customization, Accenture talent executives Susan Cantrell and David Smith suggested that organizations can achieve significant business benefits by treating each individual as a workforce of one – in other words, by offering each would-be employee a customized recruitment experience.

Cantrell and Smith recently wrote an article for that revealed how organizations can segment potential employees by any number of variables. Here are a few of their examples:

Talent source
P&G delivers targeted recruiting messages to potential MBA candidates when they are most receptive – at Christmas vacation, for instance, when students are less busy with academic work and starting to think about the January intern season.

Life stage or generation
Companies like Deloitte often reach out to different generations in an age-appropriate format. To reach millennials, for example, they encourage job candidates to speak freely with company employees on Facebook.

Personality, work habits, or cognitive capabilities
Capital One segments job candidates based on online tests that assess math and verbal reasoning skills, work habits and leadership skills. Results are coupled with interviews and business case exercises to determine how well the candidate might perform at Capital One.

Interests, motivations, or career aspirations
At Intel, potential candidates are segmented based on work preferences, creating a better fit between the candidate’s passions and the needs of the company. Similarly, Travelers Insurance crafts targeted communications based on an individual’s stated career goals.

Underutilized talent pools
JetBlue finds bright and able people off the beaten track by catering to them in new and innovative ways. For instance, the company targets stay-at-home moms to staff its reservations department, enabling them to take reservations while caring for their households.

Cultural values
In Ireland, many people enjoy cycling, so Google targets job candidates there by offering them a cycling plan in which the company contributes toward the cost of a bicycle.

Ratings and quality of employee referrals
Companies like Amazon and Facebook tap web-based talent profiles of pre-screened people who are available for work. Candidates are segmented based on work ratings and referrals as well as their test scores and experience. The data is used to match them with particular job skills.

Do you currently segment your recruiting messages? By what variables?

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