How to Use Candidate Personas for Talent Sourcing

Press Release from Analytics Search

Did you know that 96% of the global workforce is open to new opportunities? According to data released via CNBC from, this figure is due to rising inflation in 2023, with most professionals searching for better pay. 



With the number of interested candidates, both passive and active, on the rise, talent sourcing has become more important than ever.  By conducting thorough research and engaging with passive candidates, talent sourcing can significantly impact the talent funnel, leading to greater recruitment success. To develop an effective talent sourcing strategy at scale, it is essential to standardize talent sourcing by implementing candidate personas.



What does it mean to standardize talent sourcing?



Standardizing talent sourcing is critical to the development of a mature talent sourcing function that consistently ‘sources ahead’ of business and hiring goals. This is important because a standardized process essentially quantifies what success looks like, and as a result, creates a repeatable recipe your team can follow to achieve success. 



At Analytics Search, we generally segment talent sourcing into two parts: talent research and candidate engagement. Both segments can be standardized at scale by eliminating the ‘guesswork’ from their respective processes. A successfully standardized talent research segment will reduce friction in scaling different business units with quality hiring. This will lead to a positive impact on hiring metrics such as interviews per hire, hiring speed, offer acceptance, and reduced recruitment costs.



What is a candidate persona?



A candidate persona, more commonly known in sales and marketing as a buyers or customers persona, is a semi fictional profile of a target hire’s skill and experience, oftentimes with hypothetical information like demographics and behavior. Candidate personas can define target characteristics, career motivations, and digital habits to reduce sourcing time. When aligning candidate personas to talent acquisition it can increase overall efficiency and ROI for talent sourcing and recruitment marketing.



For a sourcing team, a candidate persona helps narrow down appropriate sourcing channels such as Facebook, Github, LinkedIn, etc., and messaging and outreach strategy for their sourcing motion. In other words, candidate personas let you send the right message, to the right people, in the right place. For a recruitment marketing team, candidate personas drive success by creating targeted ads that generate the highest possible return on marketing investment.



How to build a candidate persona for talent acquisition.



Building personas is a common marketing tactic used to simplify and segment a target audience. We are currently in a hiring landscape where companies have vastly different measurables for hiring. Some companies prioritize skills over academics or past experience, while others value core competencies like customer obsession, collaboration, or resiliency.



Regardless of the benchmarks you set the formula for building candidate personas is consistent:

Compile various sources of candidate data:

Work collaboratively with your stakeholders and business teams to analyze the skills and behaviors of current top performers within your internal employee network, evaluate recently interviewed candidates, or conduct external market research.

Define and segment:

It’s acceptable to be subjective or generalize your target audience to help guide your team’s efforts. Determine what categories are important for your team to have defined, such as titles and experience, interests, habits, etc.

Learn their digital habits:

Understanding your candidate audience and where to find them requires time and research. If you’re looking for dedicated salespeople, LinkedIn is often a strong starting point, as sales professionals frequently engage with and prospect clients on that platform. On the other hand, there might be better networks to identify engineers, such as Github and Stack Overflow. Once these outlets are identified, a skilled talent sourcer can begin to source profiles with increased focus.




An example candidate persona:





A pro tip, your candidate persona can be used for more than outbound sourcing.  Share your candidate persona’s with your stakeholders and their teams for increased referrals. They can be an easy to understand alternative to sharing job descriptions that best illustrate your target hire. Sharing versions of these personas to your employee Slack channels can have a significant impact in driving referrals from their own network. 

Companies Mentioned in this Press Release: