How to Craft an Ideal Candidate Profile in 8 Steps

Ideal Candidate Profiles Made Simple

Searching for that perfect candidate to join your organisation?

Using an ideal candidate profile can help you find and identify the right applicants. This can in turn help reduce time-to-hire, lower employee turnover, and get you better, more relevant candidates.

Clearly outlining the traits you’d like helps by providing something to compare candidates against, and brings a sense of focus to your recruitment efforts. 

What is an Ideal Candidate Profile?

A candidate profile is your recruitment blueprint, allowing you to define all of the things you’d like to see in an applicant. This includes personality traits, qualifications, experience level, a mix of soft and hard skills, and anything else you think is relevant to their performance in the role. 

Of course, these will depend on your organisation and the role you’re hiring for, but examples could include adaptability, critical thinking skills, two years in a similar role, and knowledge of certain relevant software.

Putting all of your ideas together into a concrete candidate profile helps you to organise these thoughts so that when you begin reviewing candidates, you’ve got a baseline to work from.

After all, how can you find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for? 

What are the Benefits of a Candidate Profile?

There is a whole range of reasons why visualising your ideal candidate will help with recruitment. Here are a few below:

A Finely Tuned Sourcing Strategy

Having an idea of who your ideal candidate is allows for a more focused recruitment marketing campaign. You’ve got your target and know where to start looking. 

Improved Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are a vital part of the hiring process. Describing your ideal candidate here will help attract the right kind of people, and also allows applicants to better relate. Potential applicants are much more likely to see themselves reflected in the description of an ideal candidate than a list of tasks and responsibilities. 

Better Outcomes Overall

Understanding your ideal candidate brings a level of focus to the entire recruitment process. Cohesion within the talent acquisition team, a shorter time to hire, and better quality candidates are just some of the benefits.

How To Create an Ideal Candidate Profile

1. Define Roles and Responsibilities

The first thing you should be looking at is what your ideal candidate will be doing day-to-day. Use everyday terms to describe the responsibilities, expectations, and long-term objectives. Speaking to team members in the same position, or their manager will help you to better understand what your candidate will need to succeed. Looking at similar positions advertised by your competitors can also be a great way to gain insight into what the job typically entails.

2. Consider the Team and Company Culture

While a candidate may have the perfect professional background and work experience, they may not have a personality that suits your team or company culture. Consider your organisation’s goals and mission, and use that to define what sort of person would align with those. You want someone who will collaborate effectively with the current team and uphold the values your organisation has worked so hard to establish.

3. Outline the Desired Skills

What does your candidate need to know that will help them perform their duties effectively? Think about both hard and soft skills. While hard, technical skills are very important to look for, soft skills can be just as impactful on a candidate’s performance. For example, people skills are vital for a salesperson and given that soft skills like this are generally innate rather than learned, they’re not to be glossed over.

4. Look to Your Top Performers

Observing successful team members is a fantastic way to figure out what sort of person you need to hire. That’s not to say that you need to hire the same person again, diversity is great, but look at what makes traits help them to perform well in the team, particularly in terms of personality and soft skills. Speak to these high performers, as asking them what they think is important for the role and what motivates them will be instrumental in finding like-minded talent.

5. Put it All Together

At this point, it’s time to collate all of the information you’ve gathered so far into a cohesive ideal candidate profile. It’s helpful to start by listing the most important characteristics, the must-haves, and working your way down to the less necessary, but still desirable qualities. Make another list of things that would disqualify a candidate for selection, perhaps a lack of flexibility or a poor team-worker. What you put down will of course depend on the role. Communication skills for a developer may not be that important, but it’s a must-have skill for salespeople. 

6. Determine the Best Sourcing Channels

Now that you know what skills you need, begin thinking about where you are most likely to find these people. Looking for a recent graduate willing to grow in the role, perhaps job boards and university sites are the way to go. If you need to hire an executive, searching through LinkedIn or headhunting may be the better option.

Partnering with a recruiter is the other option, and can be a great way to find the candidates you need. Share your ideal candidate profile with them, and they’ll do all of the hard work. Better yet, you’ll have more access to passive candidates, those who aren’t actively looking for a job, which is particularly valuable for niche or highly specialised roles.

TalentVine can make finding your ideal candidate quick and easy!

7. Be Realistic

Remember that your ideal candidate profile is a rough guide, not a list of requirements. Ensure that the hiring team knows that finding an exact match will be next to impossible, and vainly looking for this unicorn may leave some great hires overlooked. 

Maybe you find a candidate with the right set of soft skills, and a winning personality, but lacks a couple of hard skills. Those can be learned! While an ideal candidate profile is a useful tool for visualising your new hire, getting caught up on the particulars could leave you with no hire at all.

8. Keep your Ideal Candidate Profile in Mind During Recruitment

Designing the most in-depth, well-planned candidate profile is next to pointless if you aren’t actually using it. You and your hiring team should keep the candidate profile in mind throughout the entire recruitment process, from resume screening to pre-employment assessments to initial and follow-up interviews. You’ll find it much easier to weed out unsuitable candidates, and much easier to identify those golden eggs in your recruitment basket. 

Final Thoughts

Between the shorter time to hire, more compelling job descriptions, and better candidates, there’s no reason to not create an ideal candidate profile.  Knowing what you’re looking for will bring much more focus to your recruitment efforts and help you to to identify the best candidates for any role you need. 

If you’re having trouble finding or hiring the right candidates, TalentVine’s free recruitment marketplace can connect you with the best recruiters around. Simply post a role and select based on reviews, ratings, past performance, fees, and more.

Stephen Maule-ffinchGet the best from your recruiter

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