Why Creating Candidate Personas Can Help You Find Great Hires

Posted by Kandace Miller

Successful hiring starts with knowing what to look for in a candidate. That’s where personas can come into play. According to experts, developing personas for your candidates is a great way to identify what qualities you’re looking for, and it can lead to better hires. What’s more, with 65% of recruiters claiming that talent shortages are the biggest hiring challenge, developing a list of personas can help you find talented candidates you may otherwise overlook. 

Before we dive into why you should develop personas, it’s important to talk about how to do it. If you’re familiar with the concept of personas in marketing, you know that they’re used to identify ideal customers and target marketing campaigns accordingly. Candidate personas are largely the same, and the best way to come up with them is by identifying the key traits of your top performers. Start by outlining a list of these characteristics, then use them to build out your personas. Pro Tip: Aim for at least three to five personas and try to be as inclusive as possible when establishing the character traits for each one. 

Once you have these nailed down, here’s how they can make a difference in your recruiting.

They can help you identify your ideal types of candidates
One of the major benefits of using candidate personas in your recruiting is that they can help you get a clear sense of what an ideal candidate looks like for your specific team. For example, if you’re looking for someone with strong tech skills who is also an effective leader, creating a persona around this type of candidate can help you identify those skills more easily when interviewing prospective employees. This process can also help you assess how success is measured at your organization, and which types of candidates are most likely to thrive there. 

They can boost the likelihood of a good culture fit
Few things are as important as finding employees who mesh with the culture of the company, and candidate personas are a great way to identify which traits are most important. Whether you’re looking for someone hard-working, flexible or well-versed in a variety of skills, a good way to ensure that you’re being mindful of these qualities when hiring is to build them into your personas. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each of your candidates needs to have all of these qualities, but it does mean that you should consider all of them when creating your personas and applying them to your hiring strategy. 


They can help you identify the best recruiting strategies
One of the lesser-known benefits of creating candidate personas is that they can help you determine which recruiting strategies to use with each type of candidate. This comes down to identifying the skills and personality traits of your ideal employees and determining which recruiting methods are likely to resonate most effectively with them. For example, if you’re looking to hire software engineers, attending a tech-focused meetup can be a good way to connect with the types of candidates you’re looking for, and engage with them in a comfortable environment. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change your recruiting process to suit each persona, having insights into what your candidates are looking for can make it easier to communicate with them in a meaningful way. 


Creating candidate personas can certainly take some time, but it can also be an extremely effective recruiting tool. What’s more, it can help you streamline your recruiting process while giving our recruiting team the best chance of success.

Want to improve your talent acquisition strategies even further? Learn how to set achievable recruiting goals in 2020 and how to build a talent acquisition wishlist.

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