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How Candidate Personas Can Strengthen Your Recruitment Strategy

Published July 12, 2021
These days, candidates have a multitude of ways to access job opportunities. With the range of job websites, social media sites, industry-specific websites, email, etc., recruiters and talent managers have to be the ones to reach out to candidates and find the best matches. There are many ways to find your best candidate, but having a strong candidate persona can help you know what to look for.

In one of our Best Practices for Digital Recruitment in the Current Workforce article, we discussed the role creating a candidate persona plays in a digital marketing strategy. Having a strong candidate persona is vital to understanding your audience and who is it you want to hire, their goals and motivations, and the qualities that make them the perfect fit for your organization.

By creating a strong candidate persona, you have a better idea of what to look for in applicants to find the best cultural fit for your organization. Done right, a candidate persona should be so comprehensive that new additions to your hiring team can use the document to get up to speed in no time.

What is a Candidate Persona?

So what is a candidate persona, exactly? A candidate persona is a fictional representation of your ideal candidate: the person you're trying to recruit. Candidate personas are similar to marketing buyer personas but, rather than pinpointing a potential buyer, candidate personas help recruiters zero in on the perfect hire. It offers recruiters and talent managers the opportunity to look over applicants and passive candidates with a strong idea of what their organization is seeking.

Identifying and Creating a Solid Candidate Persona

There are many steps that go into identifying and creating a solid candidate persona. To create your candidate persona(s), there are a few items that you need to define:

  • Career goals
  • Background and experience
  • Interests – personal and professional
  • Key demographics
  • Devices and platforms
  • Tech proficiency 

These details are important when thinking about advertising a job because demographics and interests play a huge role in identifying target audiences online—beyond the typical target-by-job-title. Including other aspects in a posting will get your job in front of passive job seekers (those who aren’t actively looking for a job) and push your position to a broader range of potential candidates.

Using a Candidate Persona as a Roadmap

Your persona is your roadmap for who you need to attract (or market to) and unveils where you can find these candidates. To find the perfect candidate for an open position, you must think beyond the apparent list of job requirements. You have to learn who they are first and then be present in the places where they spend their time.

In addition, candidate personas can help with interviewing (having a customized questionnaire can make the interview less formal and focus more on the position), marketing (allows for targeted ads based on personal attributes), and career pathing (knowing unique motivators and expectations can help create the right career path and increase chances of retention)! 

A candidate persona can also help you with:

  • Interviewing: Instead of following the same old list of questions, create a customized interview questionnaire for each type of candidate (or each persona). This will help an interview feel less formal and allow you to have an actual conversation based on the position and role .
  • Marketing: If you understand the type of person you want to attract, then your marketing opportunities can expand significantly! You can target ads based on personal motivators or attributes (like hobbies), expanding beyond the common demographic selections.
  • Career Pathing: Each role (or person) is going to have unique motivators and different expectations in their job or career. When you or this person’s manager understands these motivators from the start, you can create the right career path for them and increase the chances of retaining them.

A candidate persona is a great tool. It works to help recruiters decide where their marketing dollars will work most effectively. However, if you are targeting candidates, you want to make sure that candidate personas are being used when determining when and where advertising and sponsoring should be utilized.

At Hueman, we know that by establishing a candidate persona profile at the outset of our relationship with a partner, we can identify what tangible and non-tangible qualities an employee must possess to be successful in their organization. When we couple a candidate persona with mission interviews and internal score sheets, we can ensure that we are only submitting high-quality candidates to our partners. In fact, the anecdotal feedback that we consistently receive from our partners is that candidate quality goes up shortly after we take over recruiting.

In our World-Class Recruitment Guide, we provide a blank candidate persona template to help organizations create candidate personas. Download your template today by clicking the image below! 

Candidate Persona Blank Template

Whether you’re marketing to future candidates via behavioral targeting, channel marketing, search marketing, or other parameters, candidate personas help prepare recruiters and hiring managers to know what to look for during the initial application process. 

Interested in learning more information about candidate personas?  Download The World-Class Recruitment Guide, for everything you need to know.


  • Topics: 
  • Recruitment Strategy,
  • Recruitment Marketing