6 Steps to Creating Talent Personas

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

For talent sourcing, personas represent the ideal target candidates. This lets you be more strategic in addressing each target as you are trying to attract and recruit, and helps you relate to them as potential team members.

To create a persona, gather data from your HR system, from candidates and high potential staff (through surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.) and look at your performance data. You’ll need to decide where you most need to develop the persona framework, it may not be essential for all vacancies but if you need to attract passive talent or source hard to find skills that may be a good place to start.

Talk to your top performers those who excel in a specific role or on the team; then talk to hiring managers. Look at the experience and career paths of your brightest and best then review the sourcing strategy used to find your current talent.

Data analysis

Look at trends and insights from your research interviews, gather data from your applicant tracking system and from employee engagement surveys and analyze this for details that will create your persona.

Ideally, you will define the following about your persona:

  • Demographics and lifestyle
  • Work history and experience
  • Traits and preferences
  • Attitudes and beliefs
  • Motivation and drivers
  • Goals and aspirations.

A persona is not set in stone so keep updating the persona template up as you talk to managers, candidates and top performers; you will likely need to make tweaks as you use the persona. Ensure your persona documents are reviewed regularly and updated as roles and duties change or as the description of the ideal candidate changes.

6 basic steps

  1. Identify the roles and teams where personas will be most helpful
  2. Collect HR data around employees, top performers, candidates, and performance
  3. Identify the characteristics that define success in the relevant role, team, and context
  4. Road-test your assumptions and framework
  5. Use the persona with plenty of checks and balances so you can amend as necessary
  6. Start small and think big!

Make your personas detailed, authentic, and ensure they resonate with team members. Once your recruiting team is happy that a persona does what you expect then you can ask yourself where the ideal candidate is most likely to be found.

Careful use of a talent persona framework facilitates understanding of the expectations of a diverse and multigenerational workforce so that HR can design and enact innovative, employee-centered policies, processes and procedures which afford an environment and workplace culture suited for greater success.


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