Building a Candidate's Persona

Oct, 17 2018

Everybody knows why we draw a blueprint of a house or building. The blueprint will show what we want as our final product, what is possible and not possible in the laid out plan, and what can / needs to be changed to help make that product happen. A blueprint always helps us get a better glimpse of what we are seeking, and work accordingly.

Likewise, recruiters, being the experts in what they do – recruiting – also create semi-fictional personas of ideal candidates for a specific position. This is like a blueprint of a candidate that fits well into the shoes of that position. Having an outline of a candidate with the required traits or skills for that job will help us during the lookout for a candidate that best fits into that job profile. This cuts down the excessive use of time, money, and resources, and still gets us our ideal man/woman on board.

A good candidate persona will also help you create more relevant and relatable job content, job descriptions, application forms, advertisements, marketing collaterals, relevant blog articles (like Tips to Writing a Resume), etc. There are two major parts to building the desired persona. Both are equally important. The first gives you a strong base, and the second is the actual building of the persona that communicates and attracts candidates effectively. You can use this to build personas for a specific position or for a list of jobs in demand.

Collect as much Info

To begin with, you need to have enough information about the position you are hiring and the desired candidate for it. Even though this is something that can be easily taken from the internet, chances are that you will not get a customized persona specific to your needs. Speak to people who are involved in working with this position. This includes professionals that work at different levels

Hiring managers, recruiters, interviewers, HR professionals, etc. - These professionals and stakeholders will most definitely have in mind a picture of what kind of candidate they are looking for – at least in a larger point of view. Ask questions on the job title, the targeted previous employers, the target designation, target demographics, skill sets, educational qualifications and certifications that they are looking for in a potential candidate.

Speak to team members and those who work with those positions - When you speak with the corresponding team members, you will get a stronger image of the potential persona. This is because most of the teammates’ traits and attitudes will possibly be your point of reference for the persona you are creating. Ask them regarding their sources of drive/motivation, goals, personal and professional interests, skills, values, and the work culture they are in or they prefer.

Use data from the database - The past data can give you an idea of past candidate personas and their preferences, their experience, professional backgrounds, etc. It can also help you gauge and predict what may be the current trends in the same. You can even scroll through job portals. Observing the traits and growth of existing employees that have successfully stayed with the organization for a long time and have been fruitful can give a glimpse of a near-perfect persona.

Finally, speak to the candidates themselves - Get to know what drove them to choose this position or firm, how they heard about this job opportunity, what job portal they used, etc. Also find out about the candidate’s expectations and preferences at this place or for this job, what they do to polish their skills or strengths, etc. You may also want to find out the why’s behind negative responses and negative aspects of a persona.

Start weaving the desired candidate persona

Give your candidate an identity - Begin by using the demographic details, interests, values, concerns, and different points of motivation to create a virtual; person - what he/she is like as a person. This will help you ‘see’ your candidate on a personal level and ease your way of communicating with him/her.

Give your candidate a professional identity - Based on your gathered data and the interviews conducted, set down those goals, objectives, motives, work culture, and challenges that the company lives by that are required for the persona. List down the traits that the company looks for in this candidate for this position, based on all these collected data and the policies of the company.

Once the persona is created, bring in the stakeholders, HR managers, and the team to discuss and add in or remove any traits that are necessary. You can also see which sources to use to capture those desired personas on board. But see that the persona is not too idealized that you won’t get anyone like that. Keep it open and flexible, so that you do not limit your candidate’s persona or bring in discriminatory factors in the way. Using the help of recruiting companies like Shiras HR Advisory and Services can help you make a strong start with your candidate’s persona.