7 Minute Read

How to Identify, Monitor and Attract Talent Through Candidate Segmentation

Market segmentation is a practice used by marketers to target specific groups of consumers with similar characteristics. In recruiting, candidates can be segmented much like consumers so recruiters can adapt their candidate recruitment messaging and improve results. One of the first steps to market segmentation is the identification stage where metrics are defined, such as:

Source – The communication channel each audience is most likely to be reached at best must be determined whether it’s through social, video, mobile, email or cold calls.

Demographics – Recruiters can tailor their sourcing methods and message to the needs and interests of the various generations or other identifying information like education level, geographical location or buying behavior (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y).

Assessments – Candidates can be segmented based on their results from assessment tests like personality tests, math, verbal reasoning and leadership skills. These can be conducted either online, in-person in the interview or even in an exercise during the interview.

Values – Candidates who hold specific values may also be another type of segment that is appropriate for your organization’s candidate segmentation techniques. For example, in Ireland, Google Ireland targets the many people who enjoy cycling by offering a cycling plan (Google contributes to the cost of the bicycle) as a benefit to attract candidates.

Motivations – Targeting specific groups with similar characteristics like stay-at-home-moms, adults who have recently gone back to school or Military Veterans can identify interests and issues so candidate recruitment messaging can ignite genuine interest.

Employee Referrals – Job candidates can be segmented based on the quality of referrals from other employees.

All of these measures will get the candidate segmentation process kicked off, but it doesn’t just stop at identifying these specific talent pools. These segments should be monitored over time to fine-tune your candidate recruitment strategy for long-term. Here’s how:

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Monitoring General and Specific Segments

Brian Moran), CEO of Brian Moran & Associates, explains that tracking market segments over time is the best way to gain insight and find trends so that messaging can be customized to the talent pool’s related issues in good time.

“Market segments change rapidly. You should monitor your market segments at least annually, but for likely better results, monitor them twice a year or even quarterly.” – Brian Moran, (@BrianMoran)

We suggest monitoring larger segments (like generational) twice a year, and more specific segment (like motivations, cultural values groups) quarterly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the first place to begin researching statistics on your targeted talent pools. For example:

“In 2013, women veterans age 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree had a higher unemployment rate than women non-veterans with at least a bachelor’s degree—5.9 percent versus 3.7 percent. For women veterans and non-veterans, the unemployment rates were little different for those with a high school diploma or those with some college or an associate degree.”

Other best practices that can be monitored in candidate segmentation include candidates’ behaviors and preferences and how they align with your organization’s needs. Ensure that sub-segments are created for more diverse groups so that qualitative and quantitative data can be accurate. Use this data to construct a candidate profile that best represents the candidate segment and use this profile as a target for sourcing and candidate recruitment messaging initiatives.

Using Insight & Trends to Attract Candidates

Let’s say you’re targeting women veterans ages 25-40 years of age who have obtained at least their bachelor’s degree. While there are many women in the United States ages 25-40 years of age that have obtained bachelor’s degrees, they don’t have the specific qualities and skills that women veterans have. A trend in this segment is the issue of sexual harassment and assault of women veterans. In fact, 73% of women experience sexual harassment in the military and 40% of women experienced sexual assault in the military. Only 23% of women officers reported sexual assault, while 67% of women did not report their sexual assault. This is a prominent issue in this specific candidate segmentation, that should be monitored and researched further so that organizations can reach out to these women in the best way possible.

Employers who value a safe work environment and offer career development and or mentorship/ counseling programs might consider marketing specifically to female candidates, particularly in the hard to recruit areas like technology and manufacturing. It’s specific issues and instances like these that make each candidate segment unique.

Last-Minute Attraction Tips

  • Identify key individuals and groups that represent your target candidate segments to serve as a model
  • Build a profile of your current employees and top candidates and use that as your model
  • Research challenges and learn about the barriers of the specific workforce group and work to address these within your recruiting policies
  • Build relationships with individuals and groups that represent the candidate segment to better understand what resonates with them
  • Develop partnerships through your organization to benefit specifically targeted talent pools to show candidates your organization’s support
  • Eliminate or minimize barriers that may prevent your candidate segment from applying to the position
  • Offer specific services and resources that align with the issues and interests of the candidate segments