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Creating a Candidate Persona

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Finding the best candidate for your business or brand has become increasingly challenging for HR and recruiting teams. And Quality of Hire is more critical to the success of your business — and your bottom-line — than ever.

But with the shortage of IT pros with experience and a passion for your project, the time to hire has ballooned astronomically. The industry-wide average is now a stunning 42 days, and even longer for hard to staff niches. That’s almost a month and a half of your time and energy!

There are proven methods to help you zero-in on the best talent out there, but the digital landscape has fractured the ways candidates look for work. Some are actively looking on platforms you might not know even exist, while many are passively awaiting a job change.

And the way candidates think and talk about your brand and hiring process has shifted with the times too. Top talent can be picky, deservedly, and they know exactly what they’re looking for. They also read the reviews of your business and hiring processes on job boards.

“Employers also spend an enormous amount on hiring — an average of $4,129 per job in the United States, according to Society for Human Resource Management estimates…” — Harvard Business Review

Between cost, and finding a culture fit that will equal retention, a lot of companies just aren’t able to fill positions.

How to streamline your talent sourcing

So what are some ways you can streamline your talent sourcing? One simple solution is by creating a “candidate persona” to help you target the ideal professional for your job.

As we’ve discussed, there are formulas for filling the unique needs of your organization. Growing a network of talent that is agile, diverse, and shares your companies values is a great start.

Making sure that your organization is clear about its needs and the most efficient ways to fill them is key. But unfortunately, AI algorithms can’t always read beyond the resume.

We’ve talked about using a data-driven approach to homing in on talent and using more passive methods of relationship building. Community-building and long-term nurturing have grown popular among savvy tech companies.

When it’s time to drill down and get serious about who the best fit might be, you’ll want to do some boots-on-the-ground research. Not only about who’s applying to your current roles, but how your organization envisions filling future ones.

Go beyond the resume to zero-in on future talent

Creating a candidate persona will help you zoom in on your ideal candidate before you need them. And those highly sought after digital professionals need to know exactly why they’re a perfect fit for you.

Collecting data from your own team is a perfect way to analyze exactly who that may be. By getting into the head of a semi-fictional version of your ideal candidate, you can streamline the process.

Not only can this crystalize your job descriptions it can set a course for the future of your recruitment strategies. Remember “75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge.”

Micro- vs. macro-targeting

To start, you can survey current employees and stakeholders about what makes your organization a great culture fit for them. Look further than their job titles or accolades and dig into their interests, motivations, and inspirations.

What are their goals for the future and why are they a great fit? Where do they spend time hanging out online and who do they follow? Ask them about their fears and hopes.

Then translate that into company-wide trends that can help you understand what exactly you’re looking for in your next hire. You’ll need to decide how wide or narrow to focus the lens on who you’re looking for.

For this, you can simply add or subtract the number of questions you ask your team. Then translate those into the criteria you use to create your candidate personas.

How great companies iterate the hiring process

Create a working model of what a great fit for your company looks like and then iterate from there. You’ll obviously need a different persona for each future position, and you can be as general or specific as needed depending on the role or category.

Start with the basics:

  • Professional background
  • Experience and qualifications
  • Skills
  • Interests
  • Career goals
  • Online hangouts and influencers

Then give your semi-fictional applicant a name and a heartbeat with some company-specific spice. Dig into some of the desired soft skills that make current employees of your organization desirable. Choose from whatever pops out:

  • Quirks that make them a good fit
  • Communication and collaboration style or preference
  • Creative muses
  • Flexibility and demeanor when things go wrong
  • Potential objections to working for you

By creating a composite sketch of your ideal candidate you’ll be on the road to getting to know your (future) talent better. And by using a flexible template you can help your recruiting team understand your needs and streamline your hiring process.

Benefits of creating a candidate persona

Once you’ve got your candidate personas you can use them to not only clarify your job descriptions but to sharpen your company messaging as well.

The benefits to your recruitment strategy are trickle-down. By attracting the right people you’ll boost retention, reduce the cost to hire and improve company culture and diversity.

And during these times when technology seems to be all-pervasive, this can only help to humanize your business or brand.

Pre-qualifying candidates saves you time and money

Esteemed has been in the game long enough to know. With over ten years of experience, we understand the importance of finding only the best candidates for agencies and clients.

That’s why we use a multi-dimensional approach to vetting and qualifying every member of our Colleagues Community. Our team-leads use both skills assessments and advanced personality tests to help remove steps in the hiring process.

By reducing the time to hire for our clients and our providers/candidates, we’re saving everyone a little sanity. And who couldn’t use more of that right now?

We love helping businesses find the right fit when it comes to digital staffing and we’d love to help you too. Drop us a line anytime to find out more.

Category: Talent Sourcing , Hiring Strategy