See how to create a candidate persona that will make qualified talent flow your way

A question we often encounter is: “How do I reach the ideal candidate with so many competitors in the labour market?” A legitimate question, because most organisations don’t have prominent names like Google or Facebook. Nonetheless, we believe that every organisation can attract the best candidates, if they approach this the right way. It’s important to acquire an understanding of what drives potential candidates, what they find important in a new job and how they view their future career path. Developing candidate personas can help you with this.

Recruit like a marketeer

Marketing is playing an increasingly important role within recruitment these days. Maybe even the most important one. That’s why we showed you 5 steps to help you recruit like a marketer in our whitepaper. Where marketers speak buyer personas to map and visualize their target groups, in recruitment we speak of candidate personas. They basically answer the same question: Who do you want to reach? Without having a clear pictures of this, your chances of success are slim.

A candidate persona helps you create inspiring vacancy texts, think of catchy job titles and determine the right angles for your recruitment campaign. When you have a clear picture of your ideal candidate, a candidate persona kan even help select the right recruitment channels. Think of what moves the people in your target audience online: What inspires them? What do they find interesting to read? Where do they find information? It might seem obvious, but in most companies the number of recruiters that truly know the answer to these questions and create candidates personas can be counted on one hand.

Next to the fact that a candidate persona will improve your chances of reaching the right candidates, it also makes sure everyone in your company has their noses pointed in the same direction with regards to the recruitment process. And it’s always better to make sure things clear up front, then to deal with disappointments afterward.

How to develop a candidate persona?

As buyer personas are created by researching, interviewing and surveying customers, with candidate personas you focus on your current employees, promising applicants and other candidates that you deem suitable to hire. A candidate persona is a fictitious archetype of a person with the characteristics of your ideal candidate. Often the persona is not perfect in the beginning, but you can always adjust it as you go. If you put some time into it, a candidate persona can eventually help you optimize your content, like a vacancy text or career page, and the distribution of it.

Tips for creating a candidate persona

  • Identify your top performers

Try to find out what kind of background, experiences, skills and behavioral traits your top performers have. This information will paint a picture of your ideal candidate. This will increase your chances of a successful hire.

  • Analyse your network

Platforms like LinkedIn are perfect to analyse your own network. Check out profiles of people who are jobs you want to fulfill. Look for similarities in work experiences and education in their profiles, what groups they are part of, what influencers they are following, what type of content they share and what they find interesting. This will help you create content and approach similar candidate in a way that resonates with them.

  • Check out your competitors vacancies

Your competitors vacancies can give you valuable insight. Of course you shouldn’t just copy-paste their texts, but look for specific elements like the tone, lay-out and design. Sometimes you will find elements you haven’t thought of, but work really well in attracting your ideal candidate.

  • Document your persona’s

Although this might be the most obvious tip, it is often forgotten. Document your personas and share them with all stakeholders involved in the recruitment. From the recruitment team, to the hiring manager.. Print them out and lay them on their desks if needed. This will make sure everybody is reminded who you’re looking for.

Do it yourself!

Are you planning to create one or more candidate personas yourself? We’ve created a neat format to help you visualize your target audience. Download it for free and improve your recruitment strategy!

Happy recruiting!


Rinske Lichtendahl
Online Marketeer at VONQ