Talent Acquisition in 2024: Mastering the Art of Personalization and Automation

Companies that thoughtfully blend human touch points with automated workflows will be well-positioned to master the art of talent acquisition in 2024.

In today’s competitive hiring landscape, recruitment teams constantly seek new ways to improve the candidate experience, increase efficiency, and deliver results. However, finding the right equilibrium between personal outreach and process automation is an ongoing challenge, meaning recruitment professionals must grapple with a fundamental choice: customization or scalability.

The pursuit of personalization, while admirable, must be balanced against the need for scalability, especially when managing a vast pool of potential candidates. Finding this equilibrium isn’t without its challenges, but it is possible for recruiters to balance personalization and automation in talent acquisition to maintain human-centered interactions while boosting productivity and scalability.

The Art of Personalization

Forging meaningful connections with candidates is a cornerstone of effective recruiting. Personalized communication throughout the hiring process can create goodwill and leave candidates with a positive impression of your organization, even if they aren’t ultimately selected.

Strategies for personalization include customized outreach and messaging, individualized interview feedback, and post-rejection nurturing of talent pools. These human touch points make candidates feel valued as individuals, rather than just another resume in the pile. While tasks such as scheduling can be automated, personalized interactions before, during, and after the hiring process are the key to establishing strong candidate relationships.

For example, sending handwritten notes or video messages to top candidates, scheduling one-on-one formal meet-and-greets, and providing thoughtful interview debriefs highlighting strengths and areas for improvement are all ways to add a personalized touch for candidates. Tailoring outreach message content based on a candidate’s background and role interest also adds a personal touch.

Extending beyond the immediate hiring process, personalized communication—such as checking in periodically with both talented and rejected candidates, as well as members of your network—helps maintain connections for future roles.

Selecting the Right Tasks for Automation

Automation allows recruiters to focus their time on high-impact activities where human insight and strategy are critical. When assessing recruiting tasks for automation, start by identifying high-volume, repetitive activities that are easily systematized, such as candidate sourcing, initial resume screening, administrative interview follow-ups, data analytics, and reporting.

Look for recruiting tasks that follow a standard playbook and don’t require subjective decision-making. For instance, automated questionnaires and assessments for screening can free recruiters from manual review of high candidate volumes. Scheduling tools also can reduce the back-and-forth of finding mutually convenient interview times, and automated nurture campaigns keep candidates engaged while limiting manual outreach.

The goal is to enable recruiters to devote more time to value-add activities such as strategic planning, branding, and talent pool development. When selecting tools, focus on user-friendly systems that integrate seamlessly with existing tech stacks and workflows. Proper change management and training during implementation are key to successful adoption.

Customization vs. Scalability

Maintaining a personalized approach while efficiently handling high application volume is a balancing act, as over-customization for each individual candidate can quickly become unscalable. Completely impersonal and automated communication risks alienating candidates, but a blended approach can provide the right equilibrium.

For example, develop a library of tailored e-mail and text outreach templates recruiters can customize with personal details and messaging. Then build out nurture campaigns with role-specific content, while still allowing one-off personalized e-mails. Automate administrative follow-ups, but continue personalized communication at key touch points.

Set expectations with candidates early on about what parts of the process will be automated for efficiency. For high-volume roles, focus personalization on candidates who move to later screening stages. The goal is to thoughtfully combine scalable processes with customized interactions to provide a personalized experience at volume.

Finding the Perfect Balance

Finding the ideal equilibrium between personalization and automation is an ongoing process of continuous optimization. Here are some proven tips for striking the right balance in your talent acquisition strategy:

  • Identify points in the process where personal outreach has the most impact, such as initial applicant contact and interview communications. Allocate staff time and effort accordingly.
  • Use data and feedback to continuously reassess what tasks are best handled manually, rather than automated. Adjust workflows to maximize human interaction where it matters most.
  • Blend generalized automation such as e-mail templates and scheduling tools with individualized interactions such as personalized feedback and nurturing of talent community members.
  • Set expectations with candidates upfront about what parts of the process involve automated administrative tasks vs. direct personal outreach.
  • Develop libraries of customized templates and campaigns that still allow one-off personalization.
  • Continuously gather feedback from candidates and hiring managers to identify areas needing improvement.

Feedback Loops

Regularly collecting feedback is crucial to refining and improving your talent acquisition strategy over time. At various touch points throughout the hiring process, ask candidates to rate and provide comments on their experience. Simple feedback forms or brief surveys can capture this data efficiently, or you can hold occasional focus groups for more in-depth insights.

On the hiring team side, check in regularly to assess what’s working well and what could be improved on both the personalization and automation fronts. Keep an open dialogue with end hiring managers to identify process pain points.

Use feedback to adjust workflows and technology usage accordingly. For example, feedback may indicate candidates desire more human interaction at certain stages, or data may reveal new bottlenecks as automation increases application volume.

The goal is to create a feedback loop that informs continuous optimization of your talent acquisition process. Regular tuning and improvement will help strike the right personalization-automation balance over time.

Striking the optimal balance between personalization and automation is critical for talent acquisition teams looking to enhance the candidate experience while increasing efficiency. By taking a strategic approach to personalized interactions and selecting the right tasks for automation, recruiters can build meaningful candidate connections, while enabling process scalability. With ongoing refinement based on continuous feedback, recruiters can strike the right equilibrium over time.

Companies that thoughtfully blend human touch points with automated workflows will be well-positioned to execute a holistic, high-performing recruitment process in today’s competitive hiring landscape. The key is finding the right synergy of customization and technology to drive talent acquisition results now and into the future.

Brianna Rooney
Brianna Rooney is a serial entrepreneur and powerhouse in recruiting. She is the founder and CEO of TalentPerch, Thriversity, The Millionaire Recruiter & YouTube channel, and Techees. Her passion, strategic vision, and commitment to excellence have propelled her businesses to success, resulting in the Techees team being acquired by Affirm in 2021. As a respected industry leader, Rooney continues to inspire and empower others through the podcast she co-hosts, Talent Takeover Unfiltered, while simultaneously breaking barriers as a founding recruiter on Forbes.jobs, an exclusive platform with a 6 percent acceptance rate.