Can The Candidate Persona Improve Your Employee Retention?

A third of UK companies have turnover levels of around 21% according to a recent survey carried out by the Hay Group.  For businesses with between 100 to 249 employees the cost can amount to as much as £138,000 per year.

It’s suggested that this turnover is affected by weak job descriptions but if companies don’t understand the type of candidate they need, how can they develop an effective job description?

As three quarters of employers struggle to recruit qualified applicants, the candidate persona may be the answer to finding scarce skills and hiring the talent your business needs.

What exactly is the candidate persona?

The candidate persona can be defined as a template for your ideal hire for a specific role. It is developed from data provided by your recruitment analytics, together with educated assumptions about your ideal hire’s experience, motivation and personal and professional goals. Developing a candidate persona isn’t essential for all vacancies but can help in sourcing roles that are:-

  • Required in volume or need to be filled on a regular basis.
  • Require you to attract passive talent or source particularly hard to find skills or qualifications.

Developing a candidate persona will help your business to understand the type of candidate you want to hire and to create more relevant job descriptions to attract that type of individual.

Creating the candidate persona

To develop the candidate persona, HR must understand exactly what your vacancy requires, approach it in the same way as you would create a job description. Consider the following:-

  • What traits does your business need in this role that will align with your company culture?
  • What are the characteristics of the most successful employees in that role? Evaluate the background of these employees, find out what attracted them to your company and where you sourced them from, ie, employee referral, talent pool, job post etc. Your applicant tracking system will provide you with this information.
  • If resources allow, identify profiles of typical candidates on social media and online recruitment sites like LinkedIn that fit your brief, noting their interests and background to gain insight into their character.

From there, you need to ask a number of more probing questions of what your ideal applicant would look like, including:-

  • What stage of life are they in?
  • What is their experience, background and upbringing, including their morals and the challenges they face in their life?
  • What are their work/life balance needs?
  • What are their personal and professional aims?
  • What are their hobbies and interests outside work?
  • What do they expect from their employer?
  • What would prevent them from accepting a position with your company?

In identifying relevant background information avoid specific demographic details, such as age, to avoid discrimination.

Attracting key skills

Once you have thoroughly assessed every aspect of this person, your careers site, e-recruitment, automated messages and social media posts can be targeted towards your specific candidate. To ensure focused recruiting:-

Address issues that matter to your candidates : Focus on how your vacancy can help them to overcome challenges and achieve their personal and professional goals. Repeat this message in your job descriptions, job postings and during candidate interviews.

Share your candidate persona with your HR team : Cloud based talent recruitment systems make it easy for HR teams to collaborate and share information instantly to ensure talent sourcing efforts are focused in the right area. Your applicant tracking software can be adjusted to screen for this type of candidate.

The benefits of a candidate persona

Once created, the candidate persona can be used:-

  • As a template to improve your cultural fit.
  • As a benchmark for the initial candidate screening process.
  • To enable HR to identify the most effective sources for qualified candidates.
  • To inform your final candidate selection.
  • To enhance your ability to attract, hire and retain talent.

As an additional tool in your recruitment marketing strategy, developing candidate personas improves your time to hire, attracts more qualified applicants to your brand and enhances your staff retention levels.  

Support your findings and the success of your talent acquisition strategy with world class recruiting software which improves the effectiveness of your hiring process.


You might also like to read:-

Talent Acquisition : Why Slow Hiring Is Bad For Business

Are Job Hopping Candidates The Answer To Your Recruitment Crisis?


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