Some people start building jigsaw puzzles without even glancing at the picture they’re constructing. But in doing so, they’ll most likely spend more time being confused, and more time in general, than they would if they had looked at the overall image to begin with. Starting a high-volume hiring process without creating a candidate persona is bound to generate similar results. You risk getting leads that are not viable, thus spending an unnecessary amount of time on candidates that have little value for you at that point. By laying the groundwork, you set yourself up for success and today we’ll look into how you do just that!
By doing market research online and offline (conducting interviews with people in that role) you can create a semi-fictional representation of your ideal candidate. If you want, you can name your persona in order to humanize it more, for example: Coder Cory, Designer Dom, Customer Charlie. This helps paint a picture in your mind of who your ideal candidates are.
Working from a candidate persona p.o.v is a kind of insurance for you that helps you stay on the right track. It helps you navigate and see how to attack certain tasks such as:
Writing the job ad
By having a clear picture of who you want to attract you can more easily adjust your choice of words and language.
Revisit candidates in your talent pool
Use your existing talent pool and ATS to find candidates that fit your persona.
A persona enables you to scour through applications faster since it’s easier to determine whether someone is a good fit or not.
Before you begin chiseling out which skills and traits are preferred for the role at hand, there are other factors that have to match up. Start by writing down general criteria that are necessities for the position, such as:
When you’ve pinned these down you can proceed by looking at the job description and jot down which traits and skills are needed for someone to be successful in the role. Take inspiration from people in that role by interviewing them. All to get a greater understanding for why they have succeeded.
You can choose to create an in-depth persona or a more surfaced one, it depends on the role at hand. For high-volume hiring in general, the more “on the surface” one is more reasonable because you don’t actually have to have an extremely deep understanding of the persona. BUT! It’s good practice nonetheless and can become useful in unexpected ways. Remember to avoid questions that hold prejudice. Ethnicity, sex, age, sexuality, etc. are irrelevant. To build a more in-depth persona you can ask these questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible.
How can you, who is not the candidate you’re looking for, answer these questions? Well, you turn to research! Source candidates of similar sort and look up what they’ve been up to. What kind of social media profiles do they have? After having looked at many similar profiles, do you find any similarities that you can draw assumptions from? Let’s say you’re hiring back-end developers. Are they active on github? Do they seem to be active in any clubs that are focused on coding? The reasoning behind why this is important information is because it can help you in sourcing the right candidates. Without further ado:
With your finished persona in mind, make sure to be present at the places, both offline and online, where you believe your persona spends their time.
For inspiration, use these points:
If you create multiple personas for a variety of jobs, save them to use in the future! However, considering how fast-moving this world is, remember to update them every two years or so in order to stay relevant.