We often talk about sourcing personas in our materials. But don’t be surprised if you don’t see that term mentioned elsewhere. We’ve created it ourselves since we found the more “traditional” candidate persona wasn’t very useful in improving our approach messages.
What is the difference between a sourcing persona and a more widely covered candidate persona?
You’ll find that most recruitment blogs mention the same definition of a candidate persona:
While marketing draws on tons of data in order to create customer personas, in recruitment data rarely comes into play. Instead, the hiring manager simply shares their wishlist with the recruiter and whoever they decide to describe becomes the candidate persona. As a result, unsurprisingly, recruiters often end up chasing some imagined mythical creature that doesn’t really exist. There’s a reason a recruiter looking for a candidate who has 3 years of experience in a technology that was only introduced last year has become such a popular meme.
Since we wanted to make sure sourcing personas make your work easier and not more difficult, we had to change our perspective.
A sourcing persona is always a set of two key pieces of information:
Who has the qualifications necessary to do this job well + what would motivate them to speak to you (and ultimately leave their job)
This allows us to source for people who actually exist and, better still, are actually likely to consider the role we’re trying to fill.
Examples of personas for a Senior Recruiter role
- Recruiter from a similar company + promotion to a more senior role
- Senior Recruiter from a different industry + looking to move into an industry that offers faster growth
- Recruiting Team Leader + moving back into a hands-on role
What is the individual motivation?
Candidates have their individual motivations that we may try to uncover by analysing their profile or CV. This motivation is nothing other than a need they have that hasn’t yet been met, for example the need for a promotion, more training that will help develop their skills, a new project or a chance to learn a new tool or technology.
Of course these needs are individual and just because some people may want a promotion, it doesn’t mean everyone will be interested. A promotion or a new challenge isn’t objectively good – each of us may be looking for something else.
How to personalise messages based on sourcing personas and individual motivations?
Motivations aren’t always obvious. Imagine someone who worked as a developer for 12 years and was recently promoted to a Team Leader role. You could avoid messaging this person about a Lead Developer role. But actually, they may have gone for it because it was the only way to get promoted. They could be regretting the decision to start managing a team.
In which case you could send the following message:
I see that you’ve recently been promoted to Team Leader. That can be a tough transition sometimes, from writing code to managing the team’s performance. Do you ever miss spending more time on your own projects?
If so, let’s chat.
Simply choose a convenient time in my calendar:
This is of course just a template message. But that’s the beauty of focusing on the recipient’s needs. They don’t need to see any details you found on their profile to see that you took the time to consider what they could be looking for.
Wait, what, personalised templates?
Have a look at any of your company’s job ads. Check if it’s written from the company’s or the candidate’s perspective. If your ad contains a lot of “we” statements, that means it focuses on your needs first and foremost:
– We are looking for, we need, our team, we require…
In ads like that, there’s no room for serious consideration of what the candidate could want or need.
True personalisation doesn’t mean you’re using someone’s name or mentioning the name of their employer or their job title. Let’s be honest, your candidates don’t need you to remind them what they do and who they work for.
Instead, it should prove that you took the time to consider the candidate’s interests and you know how the role you’re hiring for could address them. This means your message will be clear and concise, mentioning only the most important arguments you have for the recipient to invest 10 minutes in a phone conversation.
This is how you stand out from other recruiters and make sure your message is the one candidates will reply to.