Candidate Persona: What It Is and How to Create One

Filling positions can be challenging, especially for roles that require specific licensure or degrees. Creating a candidate persona is one of the strategies modern recruiters implement to increase the chance of attracting top-level candidates and saving resources. 

This article will discuss candidate persona, its importance for the hiring process, and how to create one. 


What Is a Candidate Persona?

Marketing specialists have this so-called customer persona, a fictionalized version of consumers likely to buy the products or services the business offers. Marketers use these personas to understand their target customers and determine the kind of marketing that will appeal to them.

Candidate persona is essentially the same thing, except instead of describing the target customer, it details who you are trying to hire for a specific role. It defines the qualifications, skills, experience, ambitions, interests, and other characteristics the person for the role should possess based on collected data.


The Importance of Defining a Candidate Persona for a Company

According to a Glassdoor study, the average cost of hiring an employee is about $4,000. This amount can rise considerably, depending on various factors like the role, business size and location, and industry. Aside from that, the hiring process can take anywhere from one week to more than a month. It’s time-consuming and expensive. 

A combination of a clearly defined career persona and other winning recruitment strategies can make the process take less time and resources. You can use the persona as a guide when creating recruitment marketing content to ensure you target each message to a specific audience. It can help recruiters create content that appeals to ideal candidates and entice them to take action.


The Advantages of Creating a Candidate Persona

Creating a candidate persona can be beneficial for recruiters and businesses in many ways. These are some of the advantages:

  • It helps optimize recruitment marketing – An in-depth understanding of your ideal candidate can help your recruitment team increase the efficiency of marketing campaigns.
  • Find higher-quality job candidates faster – Tailored and detailed job descriptions are more likely to attract top talents than a generic job description. When you know what you’re looking for, narrowing down your options is easier.
  • Reduce cost-per-hire – Having a clear description of the candidate you would like to hire will speed up the hiring process. The faster you find the best candidate, the less money you need to spend in the process.
  • Improve employee retention – A candidate persona allows a more targeted recruitment effort, therefore increasing the chances that the talent you hire more closely aligns with your company’s needs. A culturally fit employee may be more motivated to stay and grow with the company.


How Are Candidate Personas Used?

Candidate personas can be extremely versatile, providing recruiters with guidance in nearly every stage of the recruitment process. You can use it to create tailored job advertisements and descriptions. You can use it to determine which recruitment channels talents that fit your candidate persona typically visit. You can also use candidate persona to tweak the recruitment process and make it more appealing to your target candidates.


How to Define and Create a Candidate Persona

The process of creating a candidate persona starts with research. You need to gather as much information as possible from various sources, such as your company’s HR department, to create a persona. You can also interview employees or have them answer a survey with relevant questions, like the following: 

You can also interview hiring managers, recruiters, and other stakeholders to get more data. You can ask them about common job titles for the same role, the expected salary, and the necessary skills for a particular role.

After collecting data, your next step is to analyze the information and look for trends. Once done, the final step will be assembling the candidate’s profile. Create a story that provides a 360-view of the persona you’re building. It should include not just demographics but other factors like background, wants, values, and pain points as well.


Example of a Candidate Persona

Here is an example of a candidate persona for a marketing manager:

Fictional Name: Sarah Thompson

Age: 35

Education: Bachelor’s in Marketing

Experience: 10 years in digital marketing

Skills: SEO, content strategy, data analysis, team management

Personality: Creative, detail-oriented, team player

Goals: Increase brand visibility, drive revenue growth, lead a high-performing team

Challenges: Staying updated on industry trends, balancing short-term and long-term goals

Motivations: A results-driven, collaborative work environment, opportunities for professional growth


How Kilpatrick Can Help Companies in Creating a Candidate Persona?

With decades of experience in recruitment, Kilpatrick Executive understands what makes a candidate successful. Our seasoned consultants know what to look for in talents and where to source them. If you’re creating a candidate persona or seeking to fill a high-skilled position fast, Kilpatrick consultants have the expertise to help you accomplish your recruitment goals. Contact us today for more information.