How to Develop Personas to Better Your Employer Brand/Marketing Efforts

by Tom Borgerding

Employers have an uphill battle—positioning your company as the best place to work for your target candidates when there are so many high quality companies available.

Each year, we learn about generational expectations as noted in this previous blog. With information about the differences between Gen Z and Millennials, plus the different candidate characteristics of the positions you fill, it can be challenging for employers to understand how to stand out in the crowd.

The following is an overview of the process we use at Campus Media Group to help employers get “on point” with their target candidates. This process will point you in the right direction. It won’t fit 100 percent of your candidates, but your messaging and targeting will be much better with these questions asked. Use these as your rule of thumb (80 percent of your best candidates) when thinking about what to present in information sessions, at career fairs, during student group presentations, in interviews, on your careers website, etc. The customization will take you a long way toward your end game…hiring the best candidates for your company.

Answer each of these questions for each type of position you are looking to fill. You don’t need to do this for every position, but the key categories are great starting points. For example, as you think through these questions, ask yourself or your team how this candidate type (aka “persona”) would be best described. For example, a customer service rep (CSR) will have a very different persona than a programmer. A CSR might typically be an extrovert, socially motivated and leadership motivated. The programmer is more likely to be introverted, wants access to the latest technology, and likes high detail while geting into the code. These two candidates will want to hear different messages when they visit your website or speak with a recruiter. Let’s look at the questions with the example of a CSR.

Create a Persona

Start with a name and picture

Example: Name—Customer Service Rep Rachel. Add a picture to help everyone on the hiring team visualize the persona.

Build the persona’s demographic information:

Example: 22-25 years old, a graduate from a large public institution; middle-class family; first in family to graduate from college; socially responsible; has 1,000+ friends on social media

What does a-day-in-the-life of this person look like?

Example: Two to three classes each day, sorority or fraternity meeting, lunch and dinner with friends, workout at the gym with a best friend, group study in library for a class project, and bed by midnight. Make a few assumptions: This person Snapchats with friends throughout the day, catches up on friends’ stories, texts location of meetings, and watches videos on Youtube of celeb news.

What are their pain points? What do you help them solve?

Example: Pain points—nervous a “real job” will limit their social lives and ability to connect with people; potential for upward mobility in the company; and work will not be as fun as college. Solutions—are mentors available? Are there new-hire social group options? Can you share stories of the impact other CSRs have had on clients and CSR team?

What does this person value most? What are his/her goals?

Example: Values—social relationships, being busy, and impact on others’ lives. Goals— making an impact, being with friends, knowing that he/she is leaving the world a better place each day.

Where does this person go for information?

Example: Friends, classmates, professors, sorority sisters, student groups, Youtube, social media, Google searches, and parents.

What experiences will this person look for in your company?

Example: Company stability, career path, peer connection opportunities, company sponsored social and professional clubs, impact on clients/team.

What are their most common drawbacks to your company?

Example: He/she doesn’t hear much about the culture of the company and thinks he/she she could get bored or feel alone within a large company. She won’t have any friends there. She’d have to move away from her friends to join the company.

Answers to these questions may be different for other positions.

Give it a try. See how it helps you define the characteristics of the best candidates and the message/branding/recruiting efforts you will use to reach them. It’ll help your recruiting messaging find greater success  by developing and using these persona questions.

I’d be happy to discuss what personas can look like for you and how you can take advantage of them to have greater recruitment success.

Look for part 3 of Tom Borgerding’s blog seires for recruiters, Using Snapchat and Social Media to Connect With Students, on Tuesday, August 8.

Tom BorgerdingTom Borgerding, President/CEO, Campus Media Group, Inc.
Twitter: @mytasca, @Campus_Media

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