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Making Recruitment Personal: Defining Personas

Think about the highest-performers on your team.

Are they the embodiment of a bulleted list of job responsibilities, skills, and credentials? Partly, perhaps, but there’s much more to it than that. They are individuals who thrive in their roles because they were the right hires for the organization—and the reality is that sometimes this happens by sheer luck.

Anyone who has participated in some or all of the steps of sourcing, recruiting, vetting, interviewing, and hiring candidates knows that the process is at best time-consuming and stressful, and at worst, a costly fumble when the wrong hiring decision is made.

Our talent acquisition research has found that high-performance organizations are going beyond comparing candidates to lists of credentials and skills. They start by look closely at the talent in their organizations who are thriving, creating profiles of these employees (personas), and incorporating that understanding into their hiring decisions.

The process itself of creating personas, which involves doing some research on your own workforce, conducting stay interviews, etc., helps employers better understand what draws key talent to their organizations in the first place, what resonates with them most in terms of culture and benefits, and what sort of work is most meaningful to them. 

Personas enable employers to communicate more effectively with the talent they are trying to attract—and keep them longer once they’ve hired them.

The use of personas to help identify and connect with the right talent, which likely looks very different in real life than on paper via a brilliantly crafted resume, is a worthwhile undertaking. But it’s one that requires investment of time, open-mindedness, and willingness to set aside everything you know about how to hire top talent. 

Everything is evolving—technology, jobs, talent—so too has the approach to profiling the “right” hire for a job and an organization.

Give creating a persona a try—there’s no need to hire an expensive consultant. Check out this new i4cp toolkit, which outlines the basics, and experiment with creating a profile based on your highest-performers.

Lorrie Lykins
Lorrie is i4cp's Vice President of Research. A thought leader, speaker, and researcher on the topic of gender equity, Lorrie has decades of experience in human capital research. Lorrie’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other renowned publications.