Personalised vs. Automated Outreach in Recruiting: Striking the Right Balance
February 7, 2024
min read

Personalised vs. Automated Outreach in Recruiting: Striking the Right Balance

Rebeka Meszaros
Rebeka Meszaros

When it comes to candidate outreach in recruiting, there are two main strategies that reign supreme: personalised and automated outreach. As we delve into these approaches, you'll discover that the secret to recruitment success isn't just about choosing one over the other; it's about knowing when and how to harness the strengths of each. 

Join us as we explore how blending personalised touch with automated efficiency can transform your recruitment process —  helping you connect with the right talent.

Understanding automated outreach in recruitment

Automated outreach in recruitment leverages technology to streamline and accelerate the hiring process. Tools such as LinkedIn Recruiter are invaluable for recruiters because they are adept at aligning candidate profiles with specific job requirements — ensuring a more targeted and effective recruitment approach.

Email automation platforms, like Mailchimp, SendGrid and HubSpot significantly aid this process, too. They allow for the distribution of numerous job invitations and follow-up communications, eliminating the need for manual input for each interaction. Importantly, these platforms can personalise communications — incorporating a candidate's name or specific details from their profile — which adds a unique touch to each message and distinguishes them from standard, bulk emails.

CRM systems also play a crucial role in outreach automation. They are a centralised database for all candidate information, tracking everything from initial conversations to upcoming interviews. These systems are particularly useful for managing candidate details, preferences, and engagement history. For recruitment, Bullhorn, Zoho Recruit and Salesforce are good examples. They help simplify the recruitment process with effective tracking and communication tools.

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How does automated outreach benefit recruiters?

Automated outreach offers several key benefits that enhance the recruitment process:

1. Expansive reach

Automation allows recruiters to quickly connect with many candidates. For instance, using an email automation tool, a single campaign can reach thousands of potential candidates across the globe in a matter of minutes. This is particularly beneficial when there are multiple roles to fill, enabling recruiters to efficiently reach a broad audience with minimal effort. Imagine sending out 5,000 personalised job invitations with just a few clicks.

2. Consistent engagement

Automated systems manage regular follow-ups and updates, keeping candidates informed and engaged. For example, an automated sequence could send a welcome email immediately after a candidate applies, a status update email a week later, and a reminder email about upcoming deadlines. This ensures that candidates feel valued and stay interested in the position, maintaining momentum without manual effort from the recruitment team.

3. Insightful analytics

These tools provide analytics that can show, for example, how many candidates opened an email, clicked on a link, or viewed a job posting. For example, recruiters can see that out of 2,000 emails sent, 1,500 were opened, and 800 clicked through to the job description. This data is crucial for understanding what engages candidates, allowing recruiters to adjust their strategies accordingly, such as optimising email subject lines or content for higher engagement.

4. Cost efficiency

Automation can dramatically cut recruitment costs and streamline processes. According to McKinsey, sales automation has led to 10 to 15 % efficiency improvements and a revenue uplift of 5 % for early adopters. For example, automating the bid process reduced proposal times from weeks to hours, directly translating into cost savings and higher satisfaction. Similarly, leveraging automation tools in recruitment can significantly reduce manual efforts and costs, offering a more efficient and cost-effective approach to managing large-scale recruitment efforts.

5. Streamlined candidate tracking

With integrated tracking capabilities, these tools simplify monitoring each candidate's progress. For example, a CRM system can show at a glance which candidates have been contacted, who has responded, and where each person is in the interview process. This ensures that no candidate is overlooked and can significantly reduce the administrative burden of keeping track of multiple candidates across different stages of the recruitment funnel.

What are the cons of automated outreach?

Now let’s look at some of the challenges you might encounter when opting for automated outreach solutions:

1. Generic messaging

There's a risk that automated messages may lack the personal touch needed to engage top-tier candidates. Tailoring messages to resonate more personally can be a balancing act.

2. Reduced candidate experience

Over-reliance on automation might lead to a recruitment process that feels impersonal. High-quality candidates might seek a more engaging and personalised interaction.

3. Dependency on technology

Heavy reliance on automated systems can lead to disruptions if technical issues arise, potentially impacting the recruitment process.

4. Lack of adaptability

Automated systems might struggle with unique or unexpected responses from candidates, which can lead to missed opportunities or misunderstandings.

5. Over-reliance on algorithms

Solely depending on algorithms might result in overlooking exceptional candidates who don't neatly fit into predefined criteria but could be a great fit for the role.

Exploring personalised outreach for recruiting

Personalised email outreach is all about making each candidate feel like the message is just for them. It's more than just slapping their name at the top of an email — it's about writing messages that really speak to them. This could be mentioning something impressive they did in their last job, giving a shout-out to their achievements, or chatting about how their skills are a perfect match for the job and your company's ethos. Personalised emails and LinkedIn messages work great for this because you can get really specific and direct in your communication. 

When you take the time to really get what each candidate is about, you make the whole experience way more engaging and memorable for them. This approach shows candidates that you're not just filling a slot but looking for someone to fit in and add something special to the team. It's about showing that your company is a place where everyone's individual journey and skills matter.

Advantages of personalised outreach

Personalised outreach in recruitment has some real perks:

1. Higher quality interactions

When you tailor your messages to each candidate, conversations get more interesting and meaningful. You get to really understand what makes each candidate tick, their career goals, and what they're looking for in a job.

2. Brand differentiation

In a sea of companies all vying for attention, personalised email outreach helps your company stand out. It shows candidates that you're not just about filling a position but are genuinely interested in their career growth.

3. Increased referral potential

Happy candidates often tell their friends. If they've had a great experience with your personalised approach, they're more likely to spread the word, bringing more potential candidates your way.

4. Enhanced candidate profiling

Chatting one-on-one helps you get a clearer picture of who the candidate is and whether they're a good fit for your company, beyond just the skills on their resume.

5. Flexibility in communication

Personalised outreach lets you tweak your messages to suit different candidates. This means you can address their specific questions or concerns, making the conversation more relevant.

What are the limitations of personalised outreach?

Just like automated outreach, personalised outreach has its challenges:

1. Resource intensive

Customising messages for each candidate takes a lot of time and effort. This can be hard for smaller teams or businesses with limited resources. If it gets too overwhelming, there's a chance the outreach could be sloppy or rushed, cutting into the benefits it's meant to bring. When trying to make each message special, you might end up lowering the quality if you're stretched too thin, which could make your efforts less effective and leave a bad impression on candidates.

2. Inconsistency risk

When you're trying to personalise at scale, it's easy to slip up and send mixed messages, which can confuse candidates about what your company stands for or what the job involves. For instance, if one email to a candidate talks up the creative freedom of a role and another stresses strict rules, it can confuse them about what the job really entails and what your company is like. This mix-up can make candidates unsure if they're a good fit.

3. Potential for bias

There's always a chance that personal biases might sneak into your messages, which could affect the diversity of your candidate pool.

4. Scaling challenges

Keeping up the same level of personal touch with many candidates is tricky. You might end up not being able to give everyone the same attention.

5. Time to conversion

Spending more time on personalised email outreach means it might take longer to go through the whole recruitment process, which could be an issue if you need to fill positions quickly.

Balancing automated and personalised outreach

When it comes to recruiting, it's all about knowing when to automate and when to get personal. Automated outreach is your go-to for casting a wide net — like when you've got a bunch of openings and need to spread the word fast. It's great for initial contact or sending out general info. On the flip side, personalised outreach is perfect for when you've got a candidate who's a strong fit and want to reel them in with a message that hits home.

The trick is to blend these approaches. Start with automated messages to get the ball rolling and then switch to personalised messages when a candidate shows real potential. For example, you can start with automated emails for the first touchpoint and then follow up with personalised LinkedIn messages once candidates respond. This mix can keep things efficient but still make candidates feel like they aren't just another number.

Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Last but not least, when balancing these two approaches, make sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Over-automation: Don't fall into the trap of letting automation do all the talking. If candidates feel like they're just getting robot responses, they will likely lose interest. Keep automation to the early stages of recruiting or for general updates.
  • Over-personalisation: It's possible to get too caught up in making every message super personal. This can take up a lot of time and isn't always necessary, especially in the early stages of recruiting. Save the deep personalisation for candidates who are moving further along in the process.
  • Practical tips: To strike the right balance, set clear guidelines for when to use each approach. Use automation for broad outreach and initial contact, and switch to personalised messages for follow-ups or when engaging with more promising candidates. Keep an eye on your response rates to see what's working and adjust your strategy accordingly. Remember, the goal is to make recruiting more efficient without losing that human touch.

Finding your balance in recruitment outreach

To all the recruiters out there, remember that the secret sauce to successful recruiting is blending automated and tailored outreach. Automated methods are your best bet for reaching a wide pool of candidates quickly and efficiently. But when it comes to building meaningful connections and really understanding a candidate's potential, personalised communication is key.

Your strategy should start with automation for the initial legwork and then shift gears to customised messages as candidates engage more. So, take a moment to review your current strategies. Are you leaning too much on one side? Could your automated messages use a more personal touch? Or maybe it's time to add a bit more automation to free up time for those deeper candidate conversations.

This is precisely where the WeAreDevelopers platform can make a significant difference. It supports your recruitment efforts by providing the tools needed to automate the initial stages of candidate outreach effectively. Then, as potential candidates begin to engage, it offers the capability to personalise communication, ensuring that every interaction counts. 

Leveraging specialised tech recruiting platforms

Using the strategies discussed in your recruitment approach is a solid foundation. Yet, have you considered the additional benefits that come with utilising a specialised tech recruiting platform that embodies the best of both automated and personalised outreach? WeAreDevelopers does just that, ensuring efficiency without sacrificing the personal touch.

We're a lively community where companies and developers converge. Here’s how we stand out:

  • Access to pre-screened candidates: We ensure the quality and relevance of candidates through a meticulous pre-screening process.
  • Expert matching: Our platform connects you with candidates who meet your technical requirements and are the perfect fit for your team's culture and values.
  • A vast network within a community: Tapping into diverse talent pools across different countries, WeAreDevelopers leverages the power of community to bring together like-minded individuals and companies.

Being part of WeAreDevelopers means you can authentically reach developers where they're already active. It's a chance to boost your brand and get insights for better outreach, beyond just sending cold emails. 

Partner with us to connect with candidates who are really interested in what you offer, not just qualified on paper.


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