A common mistake that many recruiters make when trying to attract candidates is stopping at the point of basic job distribution, or getting jobs out into the marketplace in the simplest way possible. Instead, recruiters should be taking a step back in order to be more strategic about how and where those jobs should be advertised or they run the risk of missing the best candidates completely. In order to be more strategic, it’s recommended to develop candidate personas.
The concept of candidate personas comes from marketing and understanding who your target audience is. Recruiters can develop a persona by job family or skills and competencies, but it really should go deeper than that to create a very specific picture about who the perfect candidate is. The brainstorming process can be fun and gives you a chance to be creative as you determine who your best candidates really are. Taking a tip from marketers, it can be helpful to give the personas names and create pictures to better visualize who you are trying to find and appeal to.
Here are some questions to ask as you create these candidate personas:
What are the characteristics of our top performers?
In order to understand the persona of a top candidate, it’s worthwhile to spend some time getting to know your current top performers in similar positions. Poll these individuals and learn about them on both a professional and personal level. In addition to their job performance, find out what they like to do, how they might spend a Saturday afternoon, and what’s important in their lives outside of work.
What’s the typical job title this person might have?
It’s important to keep in mind that the job title in your ATS might not match up with the candidate you’re looking for. Instead, spend some time discovering what their job title might be outside of your world, in the “real world.”
What are their hobbies?
What do these candidates like to do in their spare time? What activities do they enjoy? What kind of media do they consume? Do they shop? And if so, where? If you see a trend, it might make sense to advertise in spaces that are related to these activities and interests, outside of your typical job boards.
As you ponder these questions, you can use your experience, your imagination, and hard data from traits of your current top performers to open your mind and develop a specific candidate persona. This process will uncover clues so you can broaden your job distribution and research channels that can reach these potential candidates. Persona information allows you to better target your ad content and be more strategic about ad placement, discover which job boards are the best fit, and determine which social channels are most frequently used by your target audience in order to target both active and passive candidates.
Of course, the persona you create might not apply to everyone who is a good candidate, but it’s a great way to really visualize who you’re looking for and uncover additional sources that might make a difference in finding good channels to target these people.