• Segmenting Candidates to Customize Marketing

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    August 29, 2012

    In today’s world, the “one size fits all” mentality no longer works when trying to engage candidates. Organizations must find new and more targeted ways to differentiate their brands and attract future employees. One way to do so is to develop a strategy that incorporates candidate segmentation. 

    Rob Kessler, assistant vice president of employee communications and employer brand at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, says the goal is not only to differentiate your organization from your competitors for talent, but also to differentiate your messages to the various candidate segments you identify. 

    “It’s up to you to understand your candidates’ behaviors and preferences, and tailor your employment marketing strategies to better engage and attract them,” he explains. “Organizations should review their talent needs, break them up into distinct segments, and formulate a strategy for reaching and marketing to the segments identified, according to the unique needs and desires of each.”

    For example, your efforts can include:

    • Geographic segmentation—Groups created according to geographic criteria, such as countries or regions.
    • Demographic segmentation—Groups based on variables, such as age, gender, occupation, or education.
    • Psychographic segmentation—Groups developed using psychology and demographics to better understand candidates, such as those divided according to lifestyle, personality, or values.

    You can also create sub-segments of your groups. 

    “Don’t go overboard and come up with so many segments that you can’t measure or keep track of all of them,” Kessler says. “Your organization might start with geographic segmentation, then add demographic segmentation based on occupation or position type.” 

    Next, do both quantitative (employee opinion surveys and candidate surveys) and qualitative (focus groups with each of the segments) research to gauge employee perceptions of and experiences with your organization. Also, look at third-party research to gain insight into what today’s job seekers are looking for in an employer. 

    “It’s all about understanding what resonates with your key candidate segments and creating messaging that will convey specifically for them why your organization is a great place to work,” Kessler adds. 

    From your research, formulate your employer brand strategy with the sub-positioning for the segments you are pursuing. 

    “It’s important to create one universal set of employment experience attributes from which all candidate messaging is formed,” Kessler advises. “But when trying to convey the reality of experience to a unique segment, we amplify certain individual attributes that are most important to them. 

    “It’s similar to a stereo equalizer. The song is the same for anyone who hears it, but we can adjust various parts of the music based on the preferences of the individual listener.” 

Segmenting Candidates to Customize Marketing