Jan 25, 2021
Wouldn’t you love to dive into the minds of talented prospective employees so you could know what they want and how to attract them? That is exactly what you can do for your company with an “employee persona”. Derived from the marketer’s “buyer persona” toolkit, an employee persona is a hiring method used to help you determine who your target employee is for a specific open position. This will then inform how you can reach the right candidates and accelerate your hiring process.
When you create an employee persona, you are getting into the nitty-gritty of identifying exactly what you need from the role and therefore who you need. By having a clear (and realistic) outline of who you are looking for, you will know where to post job advertisements for best success rates, what key skills and experience your candidates require, and why they will want to work for your company over a competitor.
Let’s take you through step-by-step how to build out an employee persona that fits your company’s needs.
When hiring for a new role, many employers will jump straight into creating a job description for the ideal prospective employee. But this approach can intimidate the people you want and discourage them from applying. Backing up your requirements with data can help you from getting too carried away (and scaring away who you really want to hire in the process).
If you are replacing an existing employee, ask them what the “must-haves” for their job are. Try to stay realistic – we’re talking the “if you can’t do this, the job won’t get done” kind of essential. Then chat with them about their day-to-day – the tools they use, the regular tasks they must complete, the level of experience the role requires, where they go to upskill (online courses, conferences, etc.), and what their biggest work challenges are.
If you are creating a new role, you’ll need to get creative. Together with the role’s direct manager, ask yourself:
Some of these questions may not be relevant for the role or you may want to ask different questions. That’s fine. The point of this exercise is to think, really think, about who you are looking to hire and put yourself in their shoes. If you’re stuck with what questions to ask, you can also use a buyer persona builder tool and adapt it to suit your needs.
While you are looking to hire someone to fulfil your company’s needs, remember that job seekers are looking for a job that fulfils their own needs. People are motivated by different drivers and if you want to hire someone who will be a good culture fit and stay with the company for years, you need to identify what their career goals are.
The previous exercise should have given you the skeleton of who your employee persona is. Now let’s add some muscle. Extend your questions to identify:
Job seekers may be motivated by opportunities for career progression, ongoing training, strong workplace benefits, company culture, salary, and/or work-life balance. What motivates your persona?
At Lucida, we have a values-based approach to hiring and we believe that values alignment is at the heart of any successful team. We also believe that every company (and individual) has a “Values Code”. This is the ever-elusive company culture fit that so many job seekers are looking for. It’s what is going to make you stand out from the crowd.
Ideally you want to hire someone that matches your company’s values code, so dive into your company’s values and really drill down to what your values look like in action. How does respect manifest in your workplace? Why do you care about innovation? What makes your company brave? Identifying this values code will help you to know exactly what to look for in your candidates.
This is an important step. It is the heart of who you are as a company. You want to take the time to get this right. Because when values align within an organisation, culture improves along with productivity and performance, and that’s good for everyone.
If you want some help in this endeavor, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our capability and experience has already helped organisations like Telstra and SEEK grow their teams positively and effectively and we can help you grow yours.
Now that you have done your research and identified your employee persona’s goals and values, you can start actioning what you’ve learned. Since you know what motivates your persona and what they value, you can create an irresistible job description that will attract your next amazing employee.
Tailor your “About Us” paragraph to make the value code you identified really pop out. When writing the “Why Work With Us” section of the job description, make sure you include benefits that your employee persona is motivated by. And then follow through on delivering those benefits.
If you have an enviable work culture, ask your employees to contribute one paragraph testimonials that you can include on your website’s “About” page or your company’s LinkedIn profile. People trust people – job seekers will trust current and past employees who give their genuine opinion and help paint a picture of what the average day at the office looks like.
Finally, your employee persona should have given you a good idea about where your prospective candidates live online. If you know your persona is highly active and engaged on LinkedIn, posting job advertisements on a job seeking website won’t attract the person you’re looking for. Likewise, if you know your persona’s go-to job searching tool is SEEK, make sure you utilise that platform.
Another must for recruiting is advertising open positions via your social networks. That means asking your social media team to put something together for any platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) your company is currently using. Fans of your company will likely be followers and will be motivated to apply if they have already developed a relationship with your brand.
Building an employee persona can give your company a competitive edge to hiring your next best employees. By following these five steps that we’ve outlined, you should be well on your way to creating a successful employee persona that will help you identify your ideal candidate’s career goals, values, and motivators, as well as how you can successfully reach them online.
If you want to go a step further in uncovering talent whose experiences and thinking will enrich your culture and lead to better business outcomes, we can help. Visit lucida.io to explore our recruitment service which helps companies just like yours to reimagine recruitment approaches to attract great and diverse talent.