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Recruitment is a complex process. As competition for the top talent hots up, many hiring professionals find their tried and tested recruiting tactics less effective. It's no longer enough to post a generic job description on the usual platforms and pray the right applicant finds it.

It is impossible to find the right candidate without an in-depth understanding of who and what you need in a new hire. Otherwise, it can harm your organization and lead you to waste time and money with an individual who unfortunately doesn't have what you need.

But, by creating a candidate persona, you can identify the traits that your business and the role requires. And help you design your sourcing and recruiting strategy to hire the right person for the job.

So, this article will outline for you:

  • What is a candidate persona
  • The advantages your business could benefit from by creating candidate personas
  • And what steps your business should follow to develop and embed the approach within your recruitment strategy.

What is a candidate persona?

A candidate persona is your guide to the ideal candidate. Based on research and feedback, you can build a profile of traits and job-specific capabilities that inform your recruitment process. So you know what and the type of person you need.

Why is it important?

For businesses, creating candidate personas means there is no more dealing with hypotheticals or assumptions of what you may need in a new hire. Instead, it helps you to laser into your ideal candidates through what you have learnt.

Creating a candidate persona helps businesses determine what the most important characteristics of a candidate are. To ensure they are a successful asset within the company. And when you know where to focus your attention, it can help make recruitment of the perfect candidate far simpler and speedier.

The advantages of creating a candidate persona

By helping companies understand the individual they should be looking to hire, the creation of candidate personas can enable businesses to:

Attract the proper interest, employ the right person

When you know what you want, you can go out and get it—reasonably simple logic. 

By learning what makes a successful candidate, the qualifications, skills and personality, you can adjust your recruitment strategy and approach towards the people you want to attract. A clear candidate persona can point you in the right direction.

As a result, it can help to create a more personalized recruitment process. You engage with the candidates more to learn about their qualities and how they match your persona. Thus, improving the candidate experience. And because of the time taken to find the perfect fit for your company, it can result in higher job satisfaction. It is the right job for the right person.

Improve workplace culture

When building up your candidate persona, the insight you acquire into the nature of your teams and the various personalities can show what you currently have.

With this in mind, you can tailor your candidate persona and recruitment search to find the candidates with the right characters and soft skills that match and improve your existing working structures.

A candidate persona can help you find the right type of person for your company and not someone who could potentially create an imbalance.

Furthermore, by identifying your candidate persona, you can create a recruitment process that emphasizes hiring talent who can bring a range of different ideas and experiences to your workforce, helping you build a more diverse and inclusive work environment. 

Tailor your job advertisements

Your job advertisement is often the first touchpoint with prospective candidates. And because it is so vital in attracting good interest, it is crucial to get it right.

So, with the information you have learnt about what would make up your ideal candidate persona, you can write a detailed job description that outlines the criteria you seek in a new hire. 

The level of specificity is a vital first step in getting in front of the right candidate. Having liked what they read and what your company can offer, they understand your expectations and know that they have the requisite skills and background.

Therefore, leading them to apply. Thus, ensuring the best, most qualified candidate gets hired.

Optimize recruitment marketing

Creating a candidate persona gives you the key to the inner workings of your ideal candidate. The wealth of information you have on what makes them who they are can allow you to create content and speak in a language that resonates and motivates them to apply.

The creation of a candidate persona can help your teams increase the efficiency of recruitment marketing campaigns. When you understand who you want to engage with, you can tailor your approach, creating specific recruitment material to interest applicants and on the channels that will grow your exposure among your target audience.

Improve your recruitment metrics

A candidate persona can help to save time, money and resources when it comes to recruiting. And in doing so, you can improve your recruitment metrics:

  • Time to hire. You know the type of candidate you would like to hire. So, it will hopefully speed up the process.
  • Cost per hire. The recruitment process is now faster and optimized, so less money needs to be spent during the search process.
  • Offer acceptance rate. Informed by your candidate persona, you can clearly outline what you seek in a new hire. Everyone is looking for a job that speaks to them, so they should be happy to accept it.
  • Employee retention. You've explained your expectations of the candidate, their role and responsibilities, the standards you keep, working hours, and the company's nature. No stone was left unturned. With this information, they are under no illusion of what the job entails, and their acceptance shows they are happy with this. Hopefully, it will lead them to stay long-term.

How to create a candidate persona


At the beginning of your journey, you need to learn what your company needs to boost performance. In the short term, your recruitment focus may be on finding candidates to fill positions because of departures and promotions. However, if we are thinking more long-term, you may be looking for candidates with specific skills that your business may require moving forward. 

Creating candidate personas can give your recruitment strategy more direction, as you know exactly what positions and individuals you need.

With an understanding of your organizational needs, you can build the foundations of your candidate persona based on data, not with guesses and assumptions.

As candidate personas are composites of many different individuals, you can look at the data surrounding previously successful hires and the top performers within a specific position or department. By doing this, you can identify the traits that make these excellent employees unique. 

Learning from the past can inform your future recruitment. The insights you take from your successful hires in the past:

  •  The sources that provided quality candidates
  • The qualities and skills that made them successful
  •  Their previous work history
  •  Or reasons that made them apply

The insights can inform your candidate persona and guide your search for the best hire. 

Involve your key stakeholders

By engaging with hiring managers, recruiters or team members, you can harness their views into the type of candidate they think would be the best fit.

The involvement of those within your organization can inform your candidate persona with a real-life background. And a more comprehensive understanding of the traits required in the new hire.

In addition, by spending more time with your teams and workforce, you can see what they need. An insight into the group's personalities, styles of working, and capabilities can help create your candidate persona and direct your recruitment process.

So, you can base your search on exactly what they need, someone who can fit seamlessly into the existing culture and has the skills to improve performance.

Choose the most relevant traits

Having completed the research phase into your candidate persona, you should now have plenty of information to shape your search. You can now organize and analyze the traits you consider the most integral that you would like to form the basis of your candidate persona.

By selecting 5-10 qualities a candidate must have, you can apply the criteria you have chosen to the pool of candidates to see if they match your requirements. These may include:

  • The specific expertise or skills the role may need. Certain educational qualifications.
  • A focus on the job title. And the relevant experience of said role. Or in general. Do you seek an older, more experienced head, or someone hungry to learn, who may need training.
  • A candidate based in a particular geographic region.
  • The best modes of engagement. What sites to advertise on, what messaging will work with your ideal candidate.

Your candidate persona can incorporate all the criteria you regard essential to help your recruitment search be easier.

Let the search begin

It is now time to incorporate your candidate persona into the recruitment process. Utilize what you've learnt to guide the writing of job descriptions and inform your social media posts or advertisements.

Sticking to the message and focusing on your candidate's qualities should help the right candidate see and know that the opportunity is right for them.

Furthermore, it is of the utmost importance that your recruitment teams understand the candidate persona. 

The criteria that make up the persona can help recruiters see if anyone in their network may match what you need. Also, an eye to the essential criteria can tailor their approach to interacting with candidates.

For example, it can help their questioning during the interview stage; they know what to focus on to determine if the candidate has the right personality and skills.

And remember, whenever your organization is looking to hire, it demands the creation of new candidate personas. Creating persona stories gives your teams a 360-degree view of your ideal hire, thus making the recruitment easier for effective targeting of the best-fit candidate. 

As time passes, you can build a library of candidate personas to use. To find the right candidate whenever you have an opening.

Candidate personas constantly evolve depending on internal and external change businesses contend with; however, updating regularly and being aware of the criteria for a specific role or department can hopefully help you create your ideal workforce.

Why candidate personas can be so crucial to your organization

Creating candidate personas can help you recruit the individuals who are the best fit for the job and your culture. In addition, the research undertaken beforehand means you know who and what traits you are looking for in a candidate, and the criteria you select can inform your choice.

Alongside this, it can help make the recruitment process far more efficient and streamlined and help you perfect your approach. With the involvement of critical stakeholders, you can learn what is needed and ensure your process speaks to that.

It can also help to identify the channels where you can best engage with the candidates you seek and ask the right questions to delve further into the nature of your interviewee to see if they could be the right fit.

The work done creating candidate personas may take more time, but the benefits are enormous. And will help you to recruit the right talent to bring success and improved performance to your company.

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