How to create and lead with candidate personas: what makes up a persona?

Employer Brand, Attraction, Candidate Personas, Candidate Experience

As the recruitment landscape gets ever more complex and competitive, candidate personas are coming to the fore. But what makes up a persona?

As the recruitment landscape gets ever more complex and competitive, candidate personas are coming to the fore. 

Having a clearly documented idea of your ideal candidate's skills, hopes, dreams and drivers is a powerful tool for hiring managers and HR teams to have in their repertoire. 

But what makes up a persona?

You’ve probably heard about buyer personas. - created by marketers to define their target audience and help businesses reach customers more effectively – well, candidate personas follow a similar methodology.

By doing your research and identifying common trends you can tailor your job descriptions, understand the best channels to use and hone in on your key targets. 

Quite simply, candidate personas help businesses likes yours recruit in a far more efficient manner.

Here's what you should typically include: 


Personal Details

What’s the demographic of your ideal hire?

Age? Family? Location (very important)?

Where do they currently work?

This is your essential starting point when crafting your persona.

Roles and Experience

What’s your target’s current role and job title?

How much experience in the discipline or industry is required, if any?

Have you had previous success hiring from certain companies?


This can be as succinct as ‘good team player’ or you can really drill down into specifics, e.g – list coding languages or marketing specialisms such as SEO or PPC advertising.


What does your new employee need to bring to the party?

For example, do they need to be analytical or creative?

Think about the role and outline what you’d expect to see.

Working Style

What type of environment will your new starter be coming into?

Does your role demand a self-starter?

Or are you searching for someone who’ll enjoy working in a close-knit team?


With any new hire you should be looking for someone who wants to stick around and aspire for career progression. Map out what you think their goals should be.

Likely Objectives

Why would a prospective candidate turn you down?

Be honest about where objections could come in and focus on how you can sell the positives of the role and working for you.


Interests and Hobbies

Everyone has a life outside work. Are you looking for any standout interests that tie-in with your role?


You might not assess personality profiles before hiring but your persona should include the type of personality that’d be a good fit for your team.


What’s likely to really draw your ideal candidate in? The progression on offer?

Exciting projects?

Emphasise what they really want.

Consumed Media

An important piece in the puzzle.

Research where your ideal candidates hang out on and offline so that you can create an effective communication and advertising strategy.

Want more?

Download our guide to find out more about the value of personas, how they feed into a wider attraction strategy and how to measure their impact.

And feel free to drop me a line at if you’d like to chat more about crafting effective candidate personas. 

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