What Are Talent Personas in Employer Branding?

WRITTEN BY: Jörgen Sundberg

Sourcing the talent your team needs is tough at the moment. Creating a talent persona for a vacant role can ensure that you look in the right places with messaging which is on target. If you can define a persona for each team and segment for which you want to attract candidates, it will augment your recruitment marketing efforts. To attract the ideal candidate, an in-depth understanding of what they expect from the job and the organization is essential.

A talent persona represents the ideal hire for a specific role. It should be based on data, but you also need to use intuition and empathy. The persona represents who you are looking for; their skills, values, drivers, motivation, aspirations and other concerns inside and outside of work. What really matters to them?

Rebecca Drew, Manager at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, told us: “Of course, no business will have a single type of person they want to attract, which is why segmentation is so important. This process needs to be driven by empirical market research rather than anecdotal assumptions.”

Data definition

Do the research so you can create and segment talent personas in a way that suits your organization and culture. Start by looking at data on current employees and then survey employees to find what traits make them successful in their jobs. Gather performance data from HR systems to identify the experience, background and career paths of high-potential employees as this data give a baseline for the persona of the ideal candidate and future successful hires.

A persona may be defined by critical talent, hard to find skills, or hiring function and they encompass target audience behaviors, preferences, job seeker behavior, demographic and psychographic profile.

Think about:

  • the skills and experience that the ideal candidate needs to have
  • what motivates and drives the perfect-fit candidate?
  • what are the ambitions and aspirations of the ideal candidate?
  • what does the ideal candidate seek in their work environment and corporate culture?

The utility of the persona identification exercise lies in mapping the talent pool so that your recruitment marketing can proactively target the talent you need for your team. A talent persona is used to define the ideal candidate for a vacancy, and if you make good use of your research framework the identified personas can facilitate more effective interviews with candidates. Such a comprehensive view of a candidate affords a more accurate assessment of a candidate’s potential fit for the role. You can fine-tune the job description messaging, and the interview questions that you intend to ask.

Precise and tailored

Maren Hogan, CEO, and founder of Red Branch Media told us she believes in “building talent personas for every department you own. Once you get into the habit, it’s truly not that difficult and building these personas can change everything about the recruitment process, from the way you word the ad to where you place your virtual help wanted sign and everything about the job, from the schedule to the benefits your offer to potentially outdated requirements.”

The interesting thing about a talent persona is that it is an evolving instrument, each candidate who meets your criteria also offers a new perspective that can be used to craft talent personas so they become precise and tailored reflections of your team. You should regularly look to at the focus with each vacancy posted, building a holistic picture of what defines a successful employee in a specified role – the model employee.


Our newsletter is exclusively curated by our CEO, Jörgen Sundberg, for leaders who make decisions about talent. Subscribe for updates on The Employer Branding Podcast, new articles, eBooks, research and events we’re working on.


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