Nail Your Candidate Profile With Marketing Lessons

Did you know that Product and Marketing professionals spend hours defining who their buyer persona is? They do this in order to understand where to find them and how to communicate more effectively. Basically, marketers have been using data to better target their audiences for decades. Doing market research, selecting customer segments, building customer experience journey, defining a product or service distribution channels and doing promotional activities. Does this ring a bell? It’s funny how marketing and recruiting activities have become so alike. As In-house recruiters, for flexible and remote companies, there is a lot to learn from your marketing colleagues to draft candidate profiles for your open positions.

Talent Acquisition teams have only been doing this for a few years now, with an exponential push since the global lockdown. McKinsey reports that 52% of employees prefer hybrid work arrangements. This is a huge heads up for all leaders that want to lay a solid foundation for a future-ready company. If flexible and remote work arrangements are the future of work, recruitment strategies should fully transition as well. Worryingly, when it comes to recruiting, you can still find companies basing their sourcing and recruiting activities on outdated tools, like traditional job descriptions with a local mindset. 

Sourcing for Distributed Teams

Photo by Gyan Shahane on Unsplash

At acework, as Talent Advisors, we are experts in sourcing for distributed teams. We advise our distributed and Remote First partners to primarily draft the key elements of a remote job description. There are many operational factors that will directly impact the sourcing strategy, such as:

  • The type of employment you can offer to a candidate
  • Realistic workflows
  • Work set-up
  • Compensation strategy
  • Time-zone
  • Leadership

Plus the traditional and necessary sections, such as:

  • Responsibilities
  • Requirements
  • Expected outcomes or type of project

We recommend keeping the latter at a maximum of five bullet points for each one. You don’t want your perfect candidate to get scared! If you have a huge list of duties, potential hires will not like it. You have to prioritize the “musts” in a total of your top 10 between requirements and responsibilities.

Based on our years of recruiting experience, we have found that the perfect background and accurate past experience are very attractive to Hiring Managers, but they do not guarantee successful performance long term. This is even more true when working on flexible or distributed teams, when other skills are put into action. By the way, here is an amazing book that will change the way you think about candidates.

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Once this has been clarified, the next step before starting any remote hiring effort is to put down a detailed briefing of the ideal candidate profile. Not the specifics of the job, which you have done before, but the person’s personality traits, feelings, perceptions and goals. In short, the ideal candidate profile is identical to what marketers use to define their ideal customers.

Marketing Lessons for Recruiters: Have you heard of the Empathy Map?

An empathy map is a template that helps identify what customers think, feel, hear, see, want and do. It’s a collaborative tool that you can use with your Hiring Managers to get a deeper insight into their ideal candidate. We borrowed the empathy map from its creator Dave Gray to try and help you as a Talent Manager better define your ideal candidate. Once you have internally drafted this, you will be prepared to brief your Talent Advisor, which will impact sourcing initiatives, boost candidate quality and reduce time to hire. Have a look at the picture below:

You can find Empathy Maps templates in Canva, MURAL or use Dave Gray’s last update

A quick tip to kick off your first Empathy Map is to learn from your top performers. Reflect on their personality traits and key skills, what makes them stand out and be successful at your company. This will help you define what areas are non-negotiable and what high performers have in common. Particularly when it comes to motivation, attitude, goals, personality and soft skills. These can be difficult to identify at first glance, and they can even be very different from each other.

Merging your candidate profile and Empathy Map

Ultimately you will blend your candidate Empathy Map and your Job description in a final document. The more specific and detailed your Empathy Map is, the more likely you will find a person that will want to be part of your team and create a long term relationship. 

As a flexible or distributed company, maybe you’re recruiting worldwide, or at least across multiple locations. You need to be aware of the cultural differences and how perception can change from person to person. You have to make the final document inclusive, covering all aspects of the opening but it also needs to be attractive to the people you want to engage.

It’s good practice to make the first profile screening a collaborative activity with your Hiring Manager. This way you can make certain that the in-house recruiter and Hiring Manager are aligned. If they are not aligned, this is the perfect time to correct any bias or initial mistakes when defining the ideal candidate. The hiring team should always keep the candidate profile in mind throughout the entire recruitment process.

Briefing your Talent Advisory team

It’s key to brief your Talent Advisory team for successful hiring, main inputs should be:

  • Remote Job description
  • Empathy Map
  • Industries listing, companies listing

Once your Talent Advisor has introduced you to an ideal potential employee you should avoid too much deliberation. Hiring Managers want to contrast different profiles, but a slow process can make you lose that perfect person. If you have put enough thought into your Empathy Map and remote job description you should be able to make your decision quickly and start onboarding your brand new hire!

Want to learn more? Watch the recording of our webinar about remote onboarding here.

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At acework, we enable businesses to build their successful distributed workforce. We can help you find and hire experienced professionals looking for flexible career opportunities. Our advisory creates actionable strategies for companies based on their culture, processes, and business needs. Schedule a free strategy session to start building your high performing diverse and distributed team.

If you are a candidate looking for work, don’t forget to visit our job board and save it to your favourites. We regularly post new roles there.

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We developed a unique soft skills assessment to vet for remote readiness, and have screened hundreds of candidates based on it. We screen for intrinsic motivation, organisational skills and independence, among others.

Assess your remote readiness with this free, remote-ready checklist, that we created for individuals working or looking to work remotely. The checklist includes essentials such as:

  1. Reliable, high-speed internet connectivity
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