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Mastering Candidate Persona Creation: A Guide for Recruiters & Talent Acquisition Professionals


When it comes to achieving your business goals, there are few things more important than having the right people on your team. In fact, it is precisely what often drives business success. But in the competition for the most compatible, talented candidates out there in the workforce today, there are a multitude of hurdles recruiters and talent acquisition teams must overcome to scoop up the best of the best – before the competition. Fortunately, with a little help from the right technology and a multifaceted recruiting strategy, you can successfully grab the proverbial brass ring that is the ideal candidate.

One essential trick of the recruiting trade for pulling top talent into your orbit is to drive recruiting efficiency by creating candidate personas. But to do it correctly and achieve the most bang for your buck, it’s important to have a broad understanding of the ins and outs of what each of these terms means, and how to leverage them in your talent acquisition game plan. Let’s begin by defining what candidate personas and candidate profiles actually are and why they are significant.

Candidate Persona Defined

Candidate personas are fictional representations of an ideal candidate for a particular role, or type of role. A candidate persona will be built around several benchmarks including background, experience, skill set, personality traits, qualifications, education, and even current role. In some cases, candidate personas may also include desired personality traits. For instance, a candidate persona for a nursing professional might include trait such as compassion and empathy.

Candidate personas help recruiters define exactly the type of candidate that is likely to be the best fit for a given role. Creating a persona that embodies the attributes that would make someone an ideal candidate by identifying the qualities, skills, education and other criteria, can make it easier to refine your search parameters and narrow the field to talent who match your persona. You can imagine this could be a huge time saver when it comes to talent sourcing and shortlisting appropriate candidates. This is especially important when you consider that recruiters spend almost one-third of their work week sourcing candidates for a single role.

How Does a Candidate Profile Differ from a Candidate Persona?

Candidate profiles and personas are two terms often used interchangeably, but they possess subtle differences. A candidate profile is exactly what it sounds like – a comprehensive snapshot of a job candidate, with relevant information about their skills, experience, qualifications, personality, and other key attributes related to a specific role.

It’s easy to see why mastering the creation of both candidate persona creation and candidate profiling can help you source talent much more efficiently.

How to Build Effective Candidate Personas

So as not to put the cart before the horse, let’s start with how to create a comprehensive candidate persona. After all, this is an important step to finding the right candidates.

  1. Identify the primary job duties and responsibilities associated with the role: Analyze the job from a broad perspective all the way down to a granular perspective to truly understand what performing the job entails. Determine if it is a role suitable for an entry-level candidate or will the job require a specific amount of experience, certifications, education or other relevant qualifications.
  2. Outline the minimum core skills and qualifications: Once you’ve developed a firm grasp of the job description, identify and list the minimum functional skills and qualifications necessary to do the job.
  3. Determine what soft skills and personality traits are required: Whether you’re creating a candidate persona or profile, you’ll need to go beyond merely identifying the specific skills and experience required for the position. You’ll also need to consider what personality traits and soft skills make up the ideal candidate.
  4. Do your research about the target audience: Understanding the language, interests, and behaviors of the target audience can help inform the language and tone used in the candidate profile. For example, if the role is one primarily filled by Gen Z candidates, noting that in your candidate persona will allow you to tailor outreach efforts more accurately towards the right audience when you’re actually conducting a search.
  5. Gather candidate data: Collect data on the candidates who have applied for similar roles in the past, as well as those who have performed well in similar roles. Knowing what the ideal candidate looked like in the past can speed up and simplify creating your ideal candidate persona.
  6. Be mindful of diversity and inclusion: Incorporate inclusive language in your candidate persona and more importantly, be careful not to use language that biased or geared towards a particular demographic.
  7. Objections: When creating a candidate persona, it’s important to play the what if game to understand what would make a candidate not want to work in a particular role or at a particular company. Knowing what would turn a candidate away is the best way to target the right candidates and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
  8. Refine your candidate persona: Monitor industry trends, competitor hiring practices, and candidate preferences to gain insight into the talent market to continuously refine your candidate profile. As you acquire new information and receive feedback, use it to update your candidate profile to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

What Should be Included in a Candidate Profile?

In some respects, candidate profiling is similar to creating a candidate persona. However, we’re not talking about a fictitious candidate here. Creating a candidate profile is the ultimate – getting to know you process for a recruiter or hiring manager and goes beyond simple resume matching and keyword searches.

A candidate profile typically includes a range of details, including the candidate’s employment history, location, education, professional achievements, skills and expertise, interests, and in some cases, candidate profiles might even include social media profiles, work samples, or other types of digital content. In addition, identifying what the candidate’s professional goals are, and what their preferred work environment is, as well as their personal communication style are all important factors to include in a candidate profile.

The best rule of thumb for a candidate profile is to deploy a 360-degree approach. To do that, it’s important to look deeper than a candidate’s resume. Reviewing social media profiles and online forums a candidate may belong to can be very helpful to gain a better understanding of who the candidate is, and whether they would be a good fit for a particular company culture or work setting. But it’s also important to examine their overall career trajectory. Look for patterns that may provide key insights into what their ideal role looks like. After all, it’s not just about filling a role, it’s about matching the right candidate to the right company as well.

This is also where the right sourcing technology can do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to evaluating a candidate’s compatibility for a role. Arya, the award-winning AI sourcing platform by Leoforce, uses 7 multidimensional data points, and 300+ attributes to score and rank candidates for compatibility, reducing candidate review and shortlisting time by 50%.

Essentially, a candidate profile provides a way for recruiters and talent sourcing professionals to get to know an actual candidate in greater depth, beyond the basic information that can be found on a resume or application form. By compiling and analyzing this data, recruiters can better understand a candidate’s suitability for a given role and make more informed, data-driven decisions about whether or not to pursue them further. And data-driven hiring is paving the way to a more efficient, cost-effective recruiting process with 67% of recruiters claiming that a data-driven hiring approach saves them time and money in the recruitment process.

Best Practices for Leveraging Candidate Personas in Talent Sourcing

Once you’ve created your candidate personas, it’s time to put them to work for you. Following a few best practices can help you maximize your ability to target and capture the right talent for the right jobs.

  1. Candidate screening: Use candidate personas to screen resumes and prioritize which candidates to interview based on how well they match the persona.
  2. Job description creation: Leverage candidate personas to develop targeted job descriptions and identify the most effective recruitment channels for a particular role.
  3. Personalize outreach: Craft personalized outreach messages using the information collected in your candidate profiles to target the ideal candidates who match the persona you’re sourcing for.
  4. Create structured interviews: Using candidate profiles that focus on assessing key skills and experiences, as well as behavioral and situational factors and develop the right interview process that is tailored to the candidate’s profile.
  5. Continuously track and analyze candidate data: To identify patterns and trends in hiring and recruitment processes and use these insights to continually refine and improve your candidate personas. such as the number of qualified candidates sourced through candidate profiles, time to hire, and overall hiring success rate. This data can help recruiters refine their talent sourcing strategies and optimize the use of candidate profiles.
  6. Leverage candidate profiles to drive diversity: To create a more diverse and inclusive recruitment processes, identifying and prioritizing candidates from underrepresented groups and developing more inclusive recruitment strategies.

Ultimately, developing, adapting and refining candidate personas based on the roles or industries you’re recruiting in can be a highly effective tool that helps you achieve powerful recruiting outcomes. Having the right tools is critical to reaching your goals no matter what industry you happen to be working in. And when it comes to the recruiting and talent acquisition industry, nothing is gaining more traction than leveraging the right AI-powered technology.

Where AI-Powered Sourcing Technology Fits into Candidate Persona and Profile Creation

If you’re on the fence about where technology and automation fit in to your talent sourcing strategy in general, here are a few 2023 research stats on AI recruitment to consider:

  • 99% of Fortune 500 firms and 65% of recruiters and talent acquisition professionals currently use AI tech tools
  • 73% of companies are expected to invest in recruiting technology
  • 79% of sales and marketing leaders claim AI has played a pivotal role in increasing their company revenue

There are a great deal more stats that illustrate how AI sourcing technology is transforming the talent acquisition industry. As to how it can help recruiters create and leverage candidate personas and profiles, it can be a game changer in a number of ways.

But all AI powered sourcing technology is not created equally and it’s critically important to choose wisely to optimize your ROI. With a sourcing platform like Arya, recruiters and hiring teams have access to a myriad of features that minimize typical recruiting challenges and streamline the entire sourcing lifecycle with features that:

  • Refine and optimize sourcing output with powerful search options for recruiters with all levels of experience: Create customized Boolean search strings with the option to save and share successful parameters across your team to repeat sourcing success or leverage Arya’s AI assisted search.
  • Shortlist candidates 2X faster with exclusive scoring and ranking features: Arya scores and ranks talent for compatibility, *simultaneously sourcing candidates from multiple channels on 90% of jobs in 23+ languages across more than 150 industries – in under 5 minutes, while reducing candidate review and shortlisting time by 50%.
  • Source more compatible talent using comprehensive market insights: Arya’s Talent Intelligence uses predictive analytics around key data points such as location potential, skill set distribution, salary projection, company mapping, and education to create more effective search parameters that lead you to the most compatible candidates and empower you with the right recruiting strategies up front.
  • Empower recruiters to eliminate bias from diversity sourcing: Diversity in the workforce is more important than ever with 78% of talent professionals and hiring managers surveyed stating that diversity is the top trend impacting how they hire. Arya delivers a list of candidates, scored and ranked for compatibility, highlights the candidates who match the diversity indicator, but doesn’t select only candidates in the selected underrepresented class, eliminating bias and putting the power in the recruiter’s hands.

As the workforce continues to evolve and businesses clamor to keep up with the breakneck pace at which technology is evolving with it, staying ahead of the curve in the recruiting and talent sourcing arena means arming yourself with the best information, and the best tools technology has to offer. If you’re ready to get an edge over the competition, book a demo of Arya today and see for yourself how the power of AI can empower your sourcing strategy.


What should be included in a candidate profiling?

A candidate profiling should include key skills and attributes, relevant work experience, education and certifications, and any other relevant information that can help recruiters determine if the candidate is a good fit for the job.

What’s the difference between a candidate persona and a candidate profile?

Candidate personas are fictional representations of an ideal candidate for a particular role, or type of role, while a candidate profile is a comprehensive snapshot of an actual candidate’s skills, experience, qualifications, personality, and other key attributes related to a specific role.

How many candidate profiles should I create for a job opening?

There is no fixed number of candidate profiles to create. You should aim to create as many candidate profiles as possible, with a focus on quality over quantity. This will ensure that you have a diverse pool of candidates to choose from.

How do I incorporate diversity and inclusion into candidate personas?

In some ways, it’s more about what not to include in a candidate persona. Recruiters need to make sure to use inclusive language in job descriptions and job postings and be open to diverse candidates regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, and disability.

How often should I update candidate profiles?

As often as new information becomes available. Keeping your database updated is essential to ensuring you are able to discover or rediscover the right candidates when the need arises.

How can I use candidate personas to improve my recruiting process?

Candidate personas can be used to streamline the recruiting process by providing recruiters with a more focused and targeted approach to talent sourcing. By using candidate personas, recruiters can quickly identify the most qualified candidates and spend less time on unproductive searches.

Can I use candidate profiles to build a talent pipeline?

Yes, candidate profiles can be used to build a talent pipeline by keeping a record of qualified candidates who were not selected for a particular job opening. This allows recruiters to quickly reach out to them when a suitable job opportunity arises.


  • https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-100-hiring-statistics-2022-rinku-thakkar/
  • https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-100-hiring-statistics-2022-rinku-thakkar
  • https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-strategy/trends-shaping-future-of-hiring

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