Finding the Right Job Candidates in 4 Simple Steps
Create a candidate persona to find the right candidate.
Candidate personas are research-based profiles that can help you find the best candidate for a specific job. By building a candidate persona, you’ll understand how to identify the right candidates faster, decrease time to hire, and increase the overall quality of hires. Here’s how to get started in four steps.
Step 1: Align with hiring team
A good first step in creating effective personas is to loop in key stakeholders and find out what their ideal candidates look like. Then ask them to identify top performers who are currently in the same role you’re hiring for.
Important questions for the hiring team:
What soft skills does a candidate need to thrive in this role?
How would we screen for those soft skills during different stages of the interview process?
What technical knowledge and qualifications are needed for the role?
How would we screen for those areas in different stages of the interview process?
Culture and values
From a culture perspective, what are the necessary soft skills and values needed for this role?
Are there any traits or attributes that are specific to this role?
Step 2: Interview top performers
Identify top performers in the position you’re hiring for and interview them to learn more about what sets them apart. The goal is to find out what motivates them, what keeps them up at night, and why they applied to your company in the first place.
Sample questions to ask your top employees:
What are your professional strengths and weaknesses?
What are the must-have skills, degrees, and certifications you need for your job?
How motivated are you to take that next step in your careers?
What aspects of your company’s brand, culture, or hiring process would cause someone to not want to work for you?
Step 3: Craft candidate persona
Dig into your data and interview notes to identify emerging trends. How did top performers find your company? Did they come from a major city? Craft a detailed and realistic persona from what you’ve learned.
Make sure your candidate persona can help answer:
• What is the right candidate looking for in their work environment?
• Where do they search for jobs?
• How do they handle stressful situations or pressure?
• What skills does the right candidate absolutely need to have?
• Do high-performing candidates like working independently or as part of a team?
• What qualifications or technical knowledge does a candidate need?
• Do they need to come into the office regularly, or can they work remotely?
Step 4: Review with hiring stakeholders
Once you’ve finalized your candidate persona, get sign-off from stakeholders and the full hiring team. Be prepared to receive some pushback, but remember that you’re able to defend your work with data. Down the road, build a library of candidate personas for all the roles you hire for.
Before using the candidate persona, answer these questions with your hiring team.
• Does your job description reflect your candidate persona?
• Do you have organizational buy-in from your entire talent acquisition team?
• What channels are you using for recruiting?
• Does your recruiting message ladder up to your organization’s values?
• Does your recruiting message incorporate what you’ve learned from your persona?
• Do your recruitment channels align with your candidate persona and give you the best chance of finding candidates that fit the role?
How and when to use the candidate persona
You can use your persona to inform everything from writing job descriptions to conducting interviews. The hiring team can use it as a point of reference when interviewing. It’s also important to keep your persona up to date by checking in with new hires and top performers throughout the year and making adjustments as necessary.
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