Why You Should Use Candidate Personas to Strengthen Your Employer Branding

In my previous post, I shared the benefits of implementing marketing concepts such as customer journey into recruiting and employer branding. Today, as a follow-up, I want to reflect on the benefits of creating candidate personas to optimize the recruiting process and strengthen your employer branding strategy.

What is a Candidate Persona, and how can we use it?

A Candidate Persona is a representation of the ideal candidate for a specific role, and it is designed based on data and research. This representation should include values, skills, personality aspects, interests, hobbies, and motivations that fit with the candidate you are looking for for this role.

A well-done candidate persona benefits us by giving us a clear idea of who we are looking for and where to look for them, and this makes the recruiting processes more effective. It also helps our employer branding strategy to be more relevant and attract the right people.

What information do we need to design a Candidate Persona?

When creating a candidate persona, we should ask ourselves four questions:

  1. Who are we looking for? Here we can look at background, experience, personality, hobbies, values, interests, etc.
  2. What do they want? It will be helpful to identify their goals, skills, motivations, professional objectives, etc.
  3. Where can we find them? It is essential to know the events that they attend or speak at, the blogs they read, the social networks they use, the forums where they participate in discussions, etc.
  4. Why would they join us? It is not only about what we can offer them as a benefits package, but our values, culture, recruiting process, etc. In other words, why they would choose us over other companies.

The answer to these questions should be taken into account when creating our employer branding strategy. They should help us define our social media presence, content, participation in events, and how we communicate our culture and values.

Who should be involved in the process of creating a Candidate Persona?

To get a clear picture of the ideal candidate, we need concrete information and examples. Our first source should be the managers. They are the key people who can tell us characteristics of their top performers that they want to see in a potential candidate and those that are missing, and they would like to add to the team to make it more successful.

We should also talk to stakeholders as they can give us excellent insights from an external perspective of what it should look like to work with this person. Social networks can also be beneficial as we can get first-hand information on trends and concepts that can be very helpful. We should definitely look at our competitors, what they are doing to attract talent, and what we should do to not get behind.

Why are Candidate Personas beneficial?

We can create candidate personas for each department and then adapt them to each specific role. It helps our recruiting team’s interaction with hiring managers in different aspects:

  • Create concrete job descriptions: job descriptions should reflect our specific candidate persona as it is one of the first points of contact between the candidate and the company.
  • Optimize sourcing and screening: when we know who we are looking for, we also know where to find them.
  • Make interviews more valuable: it helps to ask the right questions and present the candidate with the correct information about the company and the role.
  • Improve recruitment metrics: basically, every significant recruitment metric will benefit from candidate personas: application completion, time to hire, cost per hire, offer acceptance rates, employee retention, etc.

We can see the benefits from an employer branding perspective in the short and long terms:

  • Reach our target audience: we will be more efficient in connecting with our target audience as we will know the channels to use to communicate with them.
  • Make our content more relevant: content is one of the most critical tools for employer branding. If our content is relevant and engaging, we will connect with our audience on a different level.
  • Improve our company reputation: knowing what candidates value and looking for in a company will help us improve our performance as an employer and it will be reflected in our reputation.
  • Enhance employee experience: a candidate persona will give us information on how to onboard, motivate, engage, and develop employees from the very first day they join us.

I am currently in the work of creating our candidate personas. together with my colleague Karina Osieleniec. I am using this article to share the key points that we have learned in the process and I will be happy to hear from you as well.

  • What is your experience with candidate personas?
  • How was the process for you to create your candidate personas?
  • How is it benefiting you and your team?

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Victor Boscatt

Victor Boscatt

Transforming automotive mobility through Communication and Employer Branding at CARIAD — A Volkswagen Company.