Whether it's employee number 1 or 5000, a new executive or new cashier - each one has the potential to propel your company forward or stop it in its tracks. These two outcomes are why getting the hire right will always be crucial, and the reason why Candidate Personas are incredible valuable. By just taking this extra step, you'll see vastly different and positive hiring results.

So What Are Candidate Personas?

At their core, Candidate Personas are a semi-fictional representation of a position's ideal hire. To build out these characterizations, you should focus on 5 key areas:

Pivotal Character Traits / Drivers for Success / Being in a Group / Interactions with Superior(s) / Being a Supervisor (optional)

Below are just some of the questions, you should be thinking about when creating your Candidate Persona...

  • Pivotal Character Traits
    • How often should the hire be creating goals outside of work?
    • How should the hire solve issues? Outside the Box Thinking vs. Logical Solutions
    • How willing should the hire be to perform tasks outside of his/her comfort zone?
  • Drivers for Success
    • Should this hire be more focused on individual achievements or group accomplishments?
    • In which order should the new hire rank the following drivers for success (From most valued to least)
      • Raise in Salary
      • Praise from Colleagues
      • Higher Ranking Job Title
      • Company Mission Statement
  • Functions While in a Group
    • How often will this hire be working in a group?
    • What 3 group related soft skills should this hire have?
      • Generate Ideas
      • Keep Team Focus on a Task
      • Drive Project's Progress Forward
      • Ease Tension in a Group
      • Recognize Practicality of an Idea
      • Notice Risks of a Decision
      • Focus on the Details
      • Superior Knowledge of a Single Area
      • Gather data from Outside the Group
    • How often should this hire express his/her opinions while in a group?
  • Interaction with Superior(s)
    • How persistent should this hire be when his/her superior does not agree with the initial idea?
    • How often should this hire be asking the superior for guidance on tasks?
    • How often should this hire be taking initiatives without the superior's permission?
  • Being a Supervisor (optional)
    • How comfortable should this hire be with subordinates speaking up?
    • When two subordinates are facing similar issues, should the hire provide solutions that are the same across the board or tailored to each individual?
    • Does this hire have the authority to hire/fire an employee?

The Benefits

By putting in the work and delving into these different categories, you'll be able to see what motivates the hire, unveil potential weaknesses, discover valuable skill sets, find stressful situations, understand how they'll fit in with the company and so much more. The whole process is eye opening, and really sets you up for success. Most importantly, by creating this Candidate Persona, you'll be able to distinguish between which traits and abilities are absolutely vital and which ones are worth overlooking.

Additionally, this tool can help you find and attract good candidates. By taking the time to understand who this person is and what he/she likes, you're allowing yourself the option to uncover where they hangout online and reach them in a more targeted way. On top of that, you should know what he/she values in a career, and use it to highlight the new opportunity (If and only if, you can actually offer it to them).

Finally, these Candidate Personas can be used to tailor interview questions around specific must-have qualities and abilities. This allows you to thoroughly vet each candidate and ensure you find the right hire.

Bonus - Understanding Your Company Culture

A core belief at Fulfillingly is, you don't get the hire right by finding the best talent - you get the hire right, by finding a talented person that embodies your company's values. Because of this, you need to build your Candidate Persona's with the company's culture in mind.

If your business is trying to define its culture or you want to tighten up / change your company's culture, I encourage you to check out "Capturing Culture - The Art of Defining Your Values." Honestly, besides it being a way to keep you on Fulfillingly, that write-up will provide you with the foundation needed to be successful in hiring and beyond.

Suggested Follow-ups:

Article By: Tom Kieley

About the Author

Tom is the creator of Fulfillingly. He absolutely enjoys giving people the tips and tools they need to find a satisfying career or dependable employee. Tom does
this by combining years of experience with incredible outside sources.

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