How to Personalize the Candidate Experience without Sacrificing Efficiency

Author Rob Sicat Date Oct 13 2020

Many of us have received recruiting emails with messages so generic that we immediately dismiss them. Oftentimes recruiters fail to even attempt to personalize the message, or when they do, it’s just a canned message disguised with token filling in my name and the job you applied for.

Whether it’s an empty query, a vague ask, or a forceful demand, it can come across insulting. It’s as if the person on the other end of the outreach is only interested in initiating a conversation for the sake of a metric.

As a former recruiter, I can tell you it’s no easy task to successfully personalize your messaging when conducting outreach to a large group of candidates. It’s difficult, but necessary for your hiring process if you are to successfully scale your recruiting.


Utilize Multiple Touchpoints

One of the fundamental problems I see with most recruiters, and sales folks alike (really anyone attempting large-scale outreach), is that they try to cram all of their knowledge and research into the first touchpoint.

What are you going to say in your second email? Your third email? It doesn’t matter how good your cards are if you show them to everyone at the beginning of the game.

Nico Roberts, Fountain’s Head of Global Customer Success, argues that “you need to have at least five touchpoints within the first 48 hours, or you’ll lose candidate engagement.” That’s a lot of touchpoints in a short period of time, and also a whole bunch of opportunities to make a lasting impression.

If a company were to reach out to me five times within a 48 hour period, whether I was expecting their messages or not, they would have my attention. Mix up your outreach too. Calling, texting, and emailing are most effective when used in conjunction.


Successful Automation is key 


Here’s the great news: Not every touchpoint needs to be personalized. I’d probably start with an email. There’s a debate to be had on whether text or email is a more effective initial touchpoint. As the relationship between companies and candidates becomes increasingly informal, a text or call may be more effective in the near future.

In that first touchpoint, you should include information that communicates to the person there is something unique about their candidacy. Whether it’s prior work experience, education, or something else unique, find a nugget of information that is personal to them, but can be replicated at scale.

In the subsequent touchpoints, there should certainly be a text or two (or three). They have a 98% open rate, the highest open rate by far of any touchpoint. It can be as simple as acknowledging that you have been trying to get their attention via previous calls or emails and that they can get back to you at their earliest convenience. This stage wouldn’t require any additional personalization, other than acknowledging your previous outreach attempts.

Assuming you have the proper tools to create sequences and outreach cadences, this is an effective strategy because it continues to address your communication attempts without requiring any additional work from your recruiters. This allows for an individual recruiter to manage a much larger candidate pool.


The best way to frame an ideal recruiting strategy, from a candidate experience perspective, is to make it as automated as possible without sacrificing personalization.



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About the Author

Director, Product

Rob Sicat

Rob is an experienced product and design leader and currently the head of a Fountain team that is building hiring tools for the future. He has spent the last decade working with startups of all sizes across product management and design.