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  • Writer's picturePierre Boffet

Candidate Persona: 4 simple steps to create it

Updated: May 15, 2023

candidate persona marketing RH

In recent years, recruiters have adopted marketing techniques to attract the best active and passive candidates. Employer branding and candidate experience enhancement showcase the company's culture and values. They can be very effective as long as the team has designed these elements with their candidate's persona in mind.

What's a candidate persona?

Very similar to the buyer persona used in marketing and sales, Hubspot defines the candidate persona as "a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers." Replace the term "customer" with "candidate" and then "employee" and you pretty much know everything you need to know.

A candidate persona is therefore "a semi-fictional representation of your ideal candidate based on market research and real data on your existing employees". In other words, it's the archetype of your future employees.

Why bother creating a candidate persona?

Think of your candidate as the executive who will guide the creative activities of your team. Defining your candidate persona before marketing and recruiting operations begin will save you and your team a lot of time in the long run by ensuring that these campaigns are well suited to the individuals you want to attract.

With a clear idea of the type of candidates you want to target, you can find sources of information that are absolutely accurate!

The key here is research! But with so much information available in this digital world, it can be complicated to know where to start.

That's why we've put together this guide to targeting your audience so you can start finding the best candidates for your business.

How to create a candidate persona?

You can use your job descriptions, job postings, a survey of your current employees or an external source such as the site of Information and Statistics of the Labor Market - You can search for a trade or sector of activity in a specific region and obtain information as varied as the description of the trade or sector, the required and available training or even demographic statistics, etc.

candidate persona marketing RH

1. Create your checklist

Below are some sample questions, similar to the questions salespeople and marketers ask themselves to define their buyer persona.

  • Which social network does my candidate use?

  • What types of music and podcasts does my candidate listen to?

  • Where is my candidate in their career (Junior, Manager, Senior Etc.)?

  • What is the biggest project my candidate has ever undertaken?

  • What are my candidate's career goals?

  • What benefits does my candidate care for?

  • What does my candidate do for fun?

  • What are my candidate's strengths and weaknesses?

⚠ The questions your team uses to define the candidate's persona should not encourage bias. Discriminatory criteria such as age, marital status, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, should not be key factors. For example, you cannot say: "The ideal candidate is a 35 year old married man who goes to church every Sunday". Even some of the less protected criteria such as education level should be set aside if the position could be filled by someone with equivalent experience.

Then, try to build this Candidate Persona with the following data in mind.

  • Personal interests (what your target candidate likes, watches, listens to or even buys)

  • Education or field of study

  • Location (country, region, city)

  • Similar or related positions (positions your target may have held or be interested in)

  • Similar or related companies (companies where you would like to hire or that may interest your target)

  • Other (details and characteristics of the ideal candidate's profile).

2. Analyze your current talents

candidate persona marketing RH

Current employees know best what the company has to offer and what it lacks. The goal is to be as accurate as possible to create a better marketing and recruiting strategy, so it's best to offer anonymity to ensure honest answers.

Look for people within the company (or outside if it's a new position) who have already proven themselves in that position. Talk with them to understand what motivated them to join the company, their level of experience at the time of hire, and whether they know of any online professional groups you could contact to learn more.

3. Use your resume database

When using your resume database, be sure to check your assumptions. Let's say you're searching for keywords to bring up candidates, add the resumes of people who have already been hired for that position to see if they show up in your search, otherwise, that search would lose all interest.


4. Go to the internet

candidate persona marketing RH

Analyze the online behavior of some of the top candidates identified in your database, taking into account the type of content they share on social networks and with whom, their activities, their groups, etc. All these elements can provide information on their motivations and interests. All these elements can provide information about their motivations and interests.

If you go to an online forum, make sure you are respectful of the space and opt for the "silent observer" role. If you start spamming the group, you will be kicked out and recruiters will not be allowed in.

Here is a visual example of a candidate persona, feel free to adapt it to your activity and target.

candidate persona marketing RH

And now ? 🤷🏻‍♀️

Once you have completed your survey and feel that you know your persona inside and out, it is time to begin the final phase.

It is interesting to start by having an idea of the size of the reachable audience. Specifically, "How many people fit my ideal candidate?". Use for example the Candidate Audience Calculator that allows you to get an accurate estimate of the number of active and passive potential candidates that fit your persona criteria. This allows you to know if your persona is credible or if you are looking for a unicorn...

Then, use what you've learned to effectively communicate with these candidates, both in terms of content and channel.

This may mean finding the right job site (check out Jobboard Finder) or redesign your career page to make the application process easier. Maybe your candidate likes a certain type of YouTube video and in that case you can advertise there, or maybe they're addicted to artisanal treats and then you can set up a booth in your local market.

One of the most effective ways to reach your ideal candidates today is through targeted advertising. This technology allows you to broadcast your job opportunities and/or employer brand, directly to the sites, apps and social networks that your active and passive candidates browse every day. To set up these promotional campaigns, you can either dedicate someone to do this work manually, or use a solution like Seeqle which will automatically target your future candidates on thousands of sites and applications.

Be creative, sky is the limit! ☁️

PS: If you have learned something useful, we count on you to share this article with ❤️ !


Try our free analysis tool which will give you the size of your audience detected on the entire web as well as the number of candidates you will receive. 👇

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