Published: May 23, 2019

That’s right, I’m back again to take you all on the next leg of our recruitment marketing journey. I figured since last time we focused on the wild world of social media recruiting, this time we could talk about something that will help you target and appeal to the right kind of applicants for the positions you’re trying to fill: candidate personas.

I know what you’re thinking – why do I need to make yet another planning resource? Won’t making specific enough job descriptions be enough? It might, but hear me out. Candidate personas are for a lot more than just planning. They’re good for that , sure, but they’re also super valuable for understanding how to communicate with different candidates in interviews, what channels are most effective for reaching the different types of employees you want to hire, how to present your company culture in a way that’s appealing to the people you’re recruiting, and much more.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of where candidate personas can have an impact and then you can decide if I’m crazy or not.

Group of different people holding hands and jumping - persona concept

Talk better, hire better

We covered what candidate personas are in the first article of this series, so I’m just going to dig straight into what they can do for your recruiting process. A big part of defining a candidate persona is figuring out some common preferences, motivations, and experiences that someone likely to be a good fit for that role may have. This of course helps set job requirements effectively, but it also gives you insight into how you can best speak with a particular group of applicants.

Using the right vocabulary and setting the right tone in interviews will help you present both yourself and your organization as knowledgeable about what someone in a particular type of position goes through on a daily basis and make them feel comfortable about working for you. Make sure as you interview your own employees and take notes on candidates in your current pipeline to get data for good candidate personas that you also capture how they talk about their role, what they find engaging, and what they feel makes them most effective. That way you’ll end up with a resource that helps you relate to candidates in the moment as you communicate with them.

Make smart channel decisions

Good candidate personas help the rest of your recruitment marketing processes make more sense. Of course they help refine your job descriptions, but more than that they make promoting those job descriptions less overwhelming. 

Remember the preferences we mentioned you should capture a minute ago? Well, those should include how your different candidate personas like to search for jobs and access applications. Capturing this information is important for two reasons. First, if you’re using a unified HCM platform, it can help you maximize the user experience on the career site it provides to appeal to the right applicants. Second, it helps determine where to focus your energies when it comes to job board postings, social media platforms, optimizing for different devices, and other similar areas. Your candidate personas help cut through the noise of the crowded recruiting landscape and direct you to where your efforts will have the greatest positive impact.

Hire to drive development

Pretty much everyone, even temporary or seasonal employees, wants to know there’s room to grow at the organization they’re working for. If you take the time to uncover and articulate some typical career goals or development paths in your candidate personas, you’ll be set up to highlight these opportunities to best-fit candidates to further encourage them to accept an offer.

Your HCM system can help you figure out what kinds of goals could appeal to different roles within your organization. The various people analytics tools embedded in the platform should make it simple to look at actionable data visualizations and dashboards that show performance trends among different employee types, which kinds of goals are associated with the high-potential employees you’re tracking in your succession plans, and what has been effective in motivating different departments. You can then use this information to fill in your candidate personas and tweak your job descriptions and applicant communications to reflect what you think will be appealing to the audiences you’re trying to reach. What’s more, you can then check how those adjustments are performing by looking at metrics like abandonment rates in your application and interview processes to see if there’s been a positive change.

The spark that fuels recruiting

I hope with some of these quick examples I’ve convinced you that candidate personas are worth pursuing as you refine your recruitment marketing strategies and your recruiting process as a whole. They have a huge ripple effect on how you engage with applicants and how you set up many of the aspects of your recruiting pipeline. If you’re focused on becoming a recruiting rockstar, we know all the steps you need to take to build a strong foundation. Check out our Simple Guide to Recruiting ebook and get rolling today.