It’s no secret that the competition for the best talent is fierce. Candidates can be very choosy about where they want to work and, once they’re in the role, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay for long. Over 60 million unique users visit Glassdoor monthly. And the majority of these users (83%) are actively looking for a new job or would consider better opportunities.
This hiring climate calls for a focused approach to finding and attracting the right people, one that takes account of personality and preferences as much as qualifications and experience. If that sounds familiar, it’s because marketers have been taking this approach for years to ensure activity is targeted towards particular customer segments.
Marketers achieve this by creating detailed personas that provide clear direction on the most effective messages and channels for reaching specific audiences and stakeholders. Today’s successful recruiters apply the same method to the hiring process, building a comprehensive picture of the kind of person most suited to the role in question.
Here are three reasons why creating realistic candidate personas will help bring the right talent into your business:
1. You know where to find candidates.
In the past, it was often enough to advertise in a key trade title or on a respected industry job board, safe in the knowledge that it was the destination of choice for the majority of candidates.
As the media landscape has fragmented, it has become trickier to ensure that the people you want to reach are even seeing your recruitment activity, let alone engaging with it.
This is why it’s increasingly important to understand who your candidates are as real, three-dimensional people and where they spend their time.
What social platforms do they use? Are they active on LinkedIn or are you more likely to find them on Instagram? Do they visit industry sites or is Facebook their primary source of breaking news? Take the time to understand your ideal candidates and you’ll know exactly where to reach them.
While everyone is different, with their own habits and idiosyncrasies, it’s possible to create broad candidate segments that share behaviors. Build a picture by combining industry reports with first-hand research among those in similar roles, either within your organization or elsewhere, to create a rounded profile and focus your recruitment activity around those channels.
2. You know how to talk to candidates.
In addition to figuring out where your future employees spend their time, you should think about what’s going to get their attention.
Are they interested in a particular cause, such as diversity or sustainability, or is there an issue that’s guaranteed to excite them? Showcase details of any relevant initiatives within your company so that candidates can see where you stand and why they should pick you over a competitor.
Ask yourself whether formal business language will convey the right image, or will it come across as stuffy and old fashioned? Attitudes can vary dramatically, particularly across generations, so you need to adapt to the audience in question.
Along with the message and tone, think about what kind of content will make your ideal employees sit up and take notice. Are they going to be stopped in their tracks by a standard advert, or will a video do a better job of cutting through the noise and creating the buzz you need?
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3. You increase the likelihood of a cultural fit.
Having spent time getting to know your ideal employees, you’ll have a clear idea of what they will expect from an employer in terms of culture and benefits. There’s no point coming across as hip and cool during the hiring process if successful candidates will be disillusioned the minute they walk through the door.
Understand what motivates them - whether it’s career development opportunities or a range of snazzy perks - and build that into your retention strategy. If you come to the realization that your business environment is at odds with the kind of people you want to attract then it’s time to have some serious conversations at a senior level, with a view to making the necessary changes.
Similarly, by creating a clear picture of the kind of person you want on your team, you’ll find it easier to listen to your gut instinct when faced with a candidate who doesn’t quite ‘fit’. If you know that a position is best suited to someone with specific characteristics and attitudes then it pays to hold out for the right candidate, rather than hire in haste and repent at leisure when they don’t quite measure up.
Creating effective personas can be time-consuming, but it’s an investment worth making when you consider the value of recruiting people who are perfectly suited to the role in question and your business in particular.
If you’re unsure of where to start, consider hiring a specialist who can help by conducting research and turning that raw data into a set of clearly defined personas to underpin future recruitment activity.