When crafting the perfect job description for an open role, it is obvious to include what tasks a candidate will be expected to perform on the job. However, a candidate’s ability to complete certain assignments does not automatically indicate that they will both enjoy and thrive in any given environment. Determining whether a candidate is culturally and socially a good fit for your company’s climate is as important as if they possess the skills necessary to do the work.

With 70% of Americans reporting they find their sense of purpose through their work, it is important for recruiters to consider what other factors contribute to employees feeling valued and devoted to their professions. Fortunately, there are factors recruiters can consider when measuring a candidate’s overall fit for a role and a company. Such variables can be outlined to design a candidate persona recruiters can measure applicants against when selecting the best fit.

Determine What Qualities Your Ideal Candidate Needs

The best first step for a recruiter is to thoroughly explore what qualities a business’s current top performers possess. Educational background, including what areas of study and what level of degree, is one important factor to consider. Assessing a candidate’s prior experience is another factor recruiters can measure applicants by. Perhaps they were just starting out or they achieved a managerial role in their industry first. These are factors that will help a recruiter gauge what kinds of individuals would be interested in the role.

Determining what environment a well-fit hire should have experience with is another attribute to consider. If a business has an involved culture that encourages fellowship between employees, recruiting from larger businesses where candidates are used to a more energized atmosphere may serve your team better than applicants who identify as independent workers. In the same token as considering what does work, determine what has not worked in the past. Perhaps a company’s business model focuses more on individual projects that require focused, analytical work. If self-described extroverts who prefer team projects have resigned from the company after less than a year in the past, it is likely another similar personality type would also struggle to find satisfaction in that environment.

An Initial Investment Can Pay-off Long Term

Since a bad hire can cost a business thousands of dollars, a candidate persona can provide transparency to both employee and employer. Applicants can determine whether they believe they would be a good fit based on qualities recruiters build into job descriptions. When pitching the role to applicants, recruiters can highlight key factors that may impact someone’s experience at a company. For example, a job description can feature a section that says, “you are: comfortable in a fast paced environment where priorities can shift in a moment’s notice,” or “you are: able to be self-sufficient and require little oversight to complete the tasks at hand.” Each description presents a realistic scenario an applicant may find themselves in if they joined your company. If the description motivates and excites them, you may have found a great hire, whereas if they know they are easily susceptible to becoming overstressed or are nervous in nature, they opt out of the application process. Both scenarios save your talent team time and resources in identifying a good hire.

One of the most important factors a candidate persona can help a talent team determine is how to advertise the available roles. If a recruiter determines that they are looking for applicants who are early into their professional careers, take time to identify where such candidates will seek out their next employment opportunity. Social media ads may be a logical investment in this instance. If you are targeting a specific age range to recruit from, such as Gen Z, make sure you invest in the platforms their demographic is most likely to see your ad on, like in YouTube in this case. Recruiters can find digital magazines, popular chat boards, and many other interfaces to reach their desired audiences. Marrying the right description and the most efficient vehicle to access ideal candidates is the ideal formula to implementing a successful candidate persona.

As recruiters continue to face an employee’s market, where employees are confidently leaving their jobs for new opportunities, investing time and resources in finding a good fit on the front end can save a business from dealing with heavy turnover in the long run. Candidate personas benefit both employers and employees by determining if they are selecting the right candidate and the right environment, respectively. When both parties benefit, less turnovers and associated headaches can be expected.

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Heather van Werkhooven

Heather is the Director of Content & Thought Leadership for Joveo.