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Using Persona Marketing Tactics to Source Candidates in the Tech Sector

Can persona marketing tactics work for candidate sourcing?  As a recruiter, it’s essential for you to find the best ways to reach the people who would be ideal candidates for the positions you’re trying to fill.

Ultimately, you need a reliable way of knowing where your potential candidates are, what they do, what they like and how you get in front of them.

Persona marketing is a strategy long used in user experience & marketing to drive better lead generation.

As a recruiter, you can also use it to hone your candidate targeting, identify the right communication channels, and craft better messaging that resonates with your target candidates.

By creating a set of fictional candidate “personae,” you can better evaluate where and how you are going to approach passive candidates.

Persona Marketing for Sourcing Candidates

What is Persona Marketing?

Persona marketing is a strategic approach that focuses on the kinds of people that make up your customer base.

Chances are, most of the candidates that you’re looking for have things in common with one another.

By dividing up candidates into key “archetypes”, and creating personae to go with them, you can better plan and organize your efforts for reaching the right people.

Rather than targeting people for skills, you start targeting people who fit certain “personas”, which ideally gets you a better fit of people.

The idea is to use a research-driven approach to gain insight into what target candidates are looking for.

By understanding how to best appeal to your ideal candidates, you can craft better outreach and marketing strategies to better reach those people.

Creating Candidate Personae

To construct your candidate personae, start with broader characteristics, then narrow it down gradually. Ideally, you should be able to pinpoint two or three main personae that reflect the kinds of people you’re looking for.

  • Location
  • Qualification type
  • Motivations for her next step
  • Job title
  • Industry
  • What do they like reading
  • What social networks they use
  • What news sites they read
  • What specific websites are in their industry?
  • What blogs they read
  • What podcasts they listen to
  • What are their general interests
  • What groups they join on Facebook
  • What companies they follow on Linkedin
  • Traditionally, marketers create customer personae using information gained through various research methods, often including surveys and interviews.

Although it may sound silly, you really want to dial down on your persona – giving each one a name, even touching on soft, subjective areas like their motivations, dreams, values, etc.

For recruiters, there are a few highly effective things you can do to start finding the information you need to craft accurate personae.

Look at top performers to identify trends and common traits.

As a recruiter, you’re helping companies find the very best candidates. One great way to start reaching more of the right people is to take a look at top performers in the industries or niches you recruit for.

What do they have in common?

Some of the factors to look at include:

  • Education level. Do top performers tend to have a certain level or type of degree? For example, do the best people in a given position tend to have post-graduate degrees, or to have taken a particular undergrad major? In some cases, you may even find that top performers tend to come from certain schools.
  • Do the people you’re looking for tend to “cluster” in certain regions, or in major cities? How mobile are they? Are they usually willing to relocate, or is that a deal breaker for them?
  • Experience and previous employers. What kind of positions did they hold before taking the position for which you’re recruiting? Do they tend to work for startups, midsize companies, or multinational conglomerates?

This is all information you can incorporate into your candidate personae.

Evaluate your own hiring data.

Where are you finding the best leads these days? How do you reach out to them? If you’re using an applicant tracking system, you can use it to identify where applicants are coming from.

You can also add a manual option that asks them to specify where the found your listing.

Good tracking and analytics systems will allow you to do broad-based analysis on the demographic, so you can really nail down who they are.

Once you’ve got your personas in check, you can plug them into your sourcing tools and start filtering candidates by a better grid than just skills.

Persona marketing helps you focus on the right people & get in front of those people via your marketing efforts.

Constructing applicant personae is a useful strategy that can help you better understand what kind of applicants are ideal for a role, what they’re looking for in a job position, and what channels they use to find jobs and recruiters.

Lets put this to practice: Candidate Persona Example

I have just got a job from a client who is a pharmaceuticals company looking for an intermediate UX / UI designer, so what does my target candidate look like?

Personal 1

Name: Joanne

Age: 26

Qualification: General Assembly crash course in UX / UI

Job Title: UX / UI Designer

Years of Experience: 1.5

Motivations:  She has been doing well but feels that she is restricted in a small company with limited funding, wants a larger organization that she can spend more time on her designs. 

Any company that has a good message and values about helping people sparks her interest.

Industry: Start-ups / medical / biotech sector

What does she like reading: New design tool reviews, biotech blogs and people posts on Pinterest. 

What social network does she use: She is of a younger generation and considers Facebook un-cool (apart from for groups), so she uses Instagram and Pinterest.

Where does she spend her time online:  Loves using dribble.com & posts design related images on Instagram and loves building her favorite design inspirations on Pinterest.

What groups is she in: Currently in a FB group for Sketch design program users and a “San Francisco Design” networking group on Meet-up.com

What companies would she follow on Linkedin: Bill Gates Foundation, Red Cross, Sketch.

Where are you going to source and netowork for candidates like Joanne?  Linkedin? 

Probably not my first pick, I would start:

  1. Dribbble.com 
  2. Instagram
  3. Pinterest
  4. FB Group
  5. General Assembly Meetups
  6. Meet-up.com Design networking event

Now create several of these fiction personas, 2 or 3 at the most, this will help you formulate a strategy to uncover your ideal candidates.

For each job you can attach different personae and ground your search around those – anytime a candidate surface during your sourcing, you can ask the question “does this fit my target personas?” 

Then you can ask yourself “is this candidate the best match I will find”

Always question yourself and reference against your persona, that way you will stay on track and deliver the most suitable candidates to your client.

Simple, easy but effective research goes a long way when sourcing candidates!

Enjoy!

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