Recruitment Marketing

Your Guide to Creating Candidate Personas (Template and Example!)

Candidate personas
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia
Your Guide to Creating Candidate Personas (Template and Example!)
5 (100%) 6 votes

Here’s an analogy you might not have heard before: Creating recruitment content is like playing darts. Hitting the dartboard is certainly a goal, but you’re specifically aiming for that bullseye, right? For Recruitment Marketing practitioners, developing the right content assets is how you get on the dartboard. Creating that content with the exact right candidate audience in mind is how you hit the bullseye.

But how can you ensure you continue to attract and engage the right talent with your content – i.e., hit the bullseye? Your best tool is candidate personas. These profiles help you hone in on the ideal candidates you want to reach and develop content that speaks to their interests, answers their questions, addresses their pain points and entices them to apply.

If you’re not sure what candidate personas are, how they can help you and how you can create them, I’ve got you covered! This is your guide to developing candidate personas so that you can attract and engage the right talent with your employer brand and your jobs. Plus, we’ve provided an example and a free best-practice candidate persona template below!

What exactly is a candidate persona?

A candidate persona is a profile that describes a specific candidate who you are trying to hire for a specific job. The concept of a persona is borrowed from marketing. Marketing professionals have long been using customer personas to describe potential customers who are likely to buy. Of course, in the case of recruitment, these personas describe candidates who would make a great fit for specific roles.

Each candidate persona should define the demographics, skill sets, backgrounds and traits that an ideal hire would possess. These profiles should also go a level deeper, though! It’s a good idea to identify the common pain points these candidates face, how they want to communicate with your company, their job search behaviors, their “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” in a job and where they spend their time online.

Candidate persona example

Candidate personas are used to define the demographics, skill sets, backgrounds and traits that an ideal hire would possess.

Why do candidate personas matter in Recruitment Marketing?

Candidate personas help you create meaningful, relevant and engaging Recruitment Marketing content that informs job-seekers about your company and your opportunities, and entices them to take action, such as joining your talent network or applying for a job.

Candidates are not one-size-fits-all. That’s to say that a certain type of content or communication that works for one candidate may do nothing to inspire another candidate. Personas serve as a guidepost when creating content to ensure that you target each piece of content to a specific audience to answer their individual questions, address their pain points and provide a message that will resonate with them and encourage them to complete a certain action.

What are the missed opportunities?

Without candidate personas, you risk throwing blindly at the dartboard! You won’t know which social sites and media channels your target candidates spend time on, you won’t know which information to include that’s important to their job search and you miss out on capturing the attention of passive candidates who may be just starting to think about a job switch. Effective Recruitment Marketing content is created specifically for a candidate persona. If your content isn’t targeted, you might just be adding to digital noise.

How do I create a candidate persona?

Candidat persona template and examplesIt’s not as daunting as you think! It starts with research. You can tap into a range of team members who can help you build out each persona profile. For example, you’ll want to interview the recruiters who regularly recruit for the roles, the hiring managers who know which candidates they are looking for and employees who are already in the roles you’re looking to fill. You can even interview candidates who fit the ideal target profiles (such as silver medalists) to get a better idea of their backgrounds and interests. Remember to go beyond the basics—find out about pain points, questions, job preferences, communication methods and more.

Once you have gathered this information, you’ll want to map out each persona profile with the necessary details. To get started, download our free best-practice Candidate Persona template that will help you build out a profile that includes skill sets, interests, educational backgrounds, pain points and other important bits of information. Check out this example of a persona for a “Developer Climber” to help you see what a mapped persona should look like:

Candidate persona for a “Developer Climber”

Candidate personas are created through researching pain points, questions, job preferences, communication methods and more.

Creating candidate personas helps inform a wide part of your recruitment efforts and should be referred to when creating Recruitment Marketing content. With your personas defined, you can ensure you’re using the right language in your messaging, reaching candidates on the right channels and continuing to attract the right talent that will succeed at your company.


Looking for more guidance on creating great Recruitment Marketing content for all your candidate personas? We recommend that you consider taking our 1 hour virtual course that teaches you how to create Recruitment Marketing content using a methodology that maps content directly to the candidate journey.

It will save you tons of time by showing you exactly how to create a recruiting content plan for every stage in the candidate journey and ensure that your content directly addresses candidates’ needs and questions during their job search and your candidate experience. You can learn more about our virtual course Rally Content Rescue here.

Virtual Course: Rally Content Rescue

Your Guide to Creating Candidate Personas (Template and Example!)
5 (100%) 6 votes

Learn why candidate personas are important for today’s Recruitment Marketing and use our best-practice template to create your own candidate persona profiles.

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

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