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Top tips: Attract better job seekers by building a candidate persona

This article is brought to you by Indeed.

Picture your ideal job candidate - what qualities does he or she have, and which skills do they possess that are most relevant to your firm’s needs? Translating this into a candidate persona could get you that person.

'Persona' - more often than not, this word is associated with the different roles played by an actor, commonly in theatrical performance settings. It represents how one person can take on a range of identities in a made-up world, be it in different productions or even in the same production.

Just like how personas exist in the theatre, they exist in today’s job market too - for instance, picture your ideal job candidate - what qualities does he or she have, and which skills do they possess that are most relevant to your organisation’s needs? What are their goals and motivations?

When you have such information on hand, putting it all in a candidate persona can help you develop a talent attraction strategy that focuses on getting the right people for your organisation in the long run.

5 ways to uncover insights for an effective candidate persona

#1 Identify trends in top performers

Since you know your top performers/high-potential employees embody what you want in a job candidate, pinpoint what exactly all, or most, of them have in common for specific roles. This data can help you identify your ideal candidate, and apply those findings to your candidate persona for future hiring.

Not only would these traits help your organisation attract better-quality candidates, but it would also provide them with a more engaging candidate experience, wherein they can experience for themselves what a top talent really looks like.

#2 Use your own hiring data

Are you aware of how your best candidates actually find jobs? If you aren’t, it’s time to find out.

In building your persona, the next step would be to compare your top sources of hire to those of your top-tier employees so you can make informed recruiting decisions and focus on the channels that drive the best hires.

#3 Gain insights: Interview your internal stakeholders

They say it takes a village to raise a child. And it’s no different when it comes to building a good candidate persona because, to build one that is relevant to your organisation’s needs, you will need to involve the respective recruiters, hiring managers, and talent acquisition leaders in your team. After all, these are the people who would best be able to advise on the kind of employees they need and what each role requires.

While conducting a thorough candidate overview with this group, dig deep into the responsibilities of the role, the qualities of someone who can do the job, and the priorities and personality traits that align with your company culture. For instance, you can ask: “What might keep someone from accepting an offer at our firm?”

This can provide useful insights for you to apply to your hiring process, in order to deliver a more engaging candidate experience and target messaging.

#4 Interview your talent base 

What really matters to your talent, and what about your company drew them in? This is where it’s key to have conversations with your talent base - a mix of your top performers, promising new hires, and possibly candidates who had previously expressed interest in your company, to understand their concerns and highlights.


  • What information do you use to make career decisions?
  • What is most important for you to be successful in your job?
#5 Keep an eye on hiring trends in your industry

Apart from internal requirements, external data plays a big role in developing the ideal candidate persona. More specifically, by knowing what the general labour market trends are, characteristics of talent in a certain job or occupation category - the good and the bad, you’ll then be able to get a good picture of how to further hone your candidate persona.

Once you’ve identified and pulled out these trends, segment them and draw them up in a candidate persona template, which you and your talent acquisition team can then use to focus on the highest-value talent acquisition strategies.

How Indeed can help recruiters

More people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else. Indeed is the #1 job site in the world (comScore, March 2019) and allows job seekers to search millions of jobs in over 60 countries and 28 languages. More than 250 million people each month search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies on Indeed, and Indeed delivers three times more hires than any other job site (SilkRoad Technology Source of Hire Report, 2018).  

For more information, visit or refer to Indeed’s ‘Candidate Persona Toolkit: Getting to Know Your Talent Audience’ e-book.

Photo / 123RF

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