What is Candidate Persona?

By Abhishek Kathpal | Updated 21 July, 2022

Hiring practices are constantly developing, and candidate personas have been a giant step forward for recruiters. Gone are the days when hiring managers drew up generic job descriptions and hoped to bag an ideal candidate. Now, companies actively hunt for the best employees using the targeted approach of job candidate personas.

What is Candidate Persona

Candidate Persona meaning and definition

As the name implies, a candidate persona is the persona of your ideal candidate. Where conventional job descriptions outline the necessary skills an employee needs to possess, positions they would fill, and the roles they would function in, a candidate persona goes beyond. A typical candidate persona would target education, employment history, career goals, personality types, etc., to predict the ideal candidate for a position. It is an employer's equivalent of a buyer persona in many ways. As such, it is mainly fictional, but it streamlines the recruitment process and helps cast a smaller, less-likely-to-fail net.

Why are Candidate Personas used?

  1. To develop brand and workplace culture. Culture is essential to the success of workplaces, and there's no better way to create great culture than by hiring people with the right traits. A candidate persona also helps identify the most efficient recruitment channels for desired characteristics.

  2. To reduce employee turnover rates. It may or may not be challenging to find the right skill set for a particular role. However, it isn't easy to maintain workplace cohesion if you have to keep changing employees regularly. A job candidate persona reduces the hit-and-miss risk of recruitment and helps build cohesion.

  3. To write better job descriptions. It's simply more logical to write a job description with the image of an ideal candidate (skillset, experience, and personality-wise) than to write one based on skills alone and hope to get the right candidate.

How to create Candidate Personas

  1. Research. Draw on experience, old/current employee information, analysis of competition employees, and other relevant data to determine factors influencing an employee's success.

  2. Identify factors/traits/information common among successful employees

  3. Assemble all of the information gathered into a persona. Beware of contradicting or unrealistic combinations of traits, and imagine the persona as a natural person.

  4. Integrate identifiers for the created candidate persona into your interview questions.

This is not a comprehensive enough guide, so keep thinking about the process.

About the Author

Abhishek Kathpal

Abhi is the co-founder at Longlist.io. Funded by US based OnDeck, Longlist is currently enabling 50+ businesses to increase their candidate and client reach outs, automating the workflow across stages.