Two Quick Thoughts: Hiring Personas

Posted by Charley Hughes on May 12, 2016 3:58 PM


In my December 2015 article I discussed reasons we hire for logic (not merely a grasp of EDI or translator specific syntax) and why we conduct our screening processes in such a way to achieve an understanding of skill sets. Today I’d like to add an additional thought about hiring using a concept called Personas.

What are Personas?

In the simplest terms a persona can be thought of as your ideal candidate reduced to paper in a way that describes not just the skills they should possess, but the personal attributes that make them a productive fit for the position you are seeking to fill as well.

When building an ideal candidate on paper, here are a few things to keep in mind.Brain_Puzzle.jpg

The Clone Syndrome

It can be tempting to look at your best employee and try to “clone” the job description around their technical talents and personal attributes because they are productive at what they do.   However, trying to clone an exact copy of an existing employee fails to consider the fact that their station and responsibilities within your company may be too different to be an accurate benchmark for the role you seek to fill.   

Instead, consider using an amalgam of the productive personal attributes found within your entire team that most accurately matches your goal. The attributes may be boldness, critical thinking, personal ownership, sense of urgency, decisiveness, technical vision, high standards, or any number of other qualities that don’t fit neatly into the category of a technical or soft skill set. The common themes you discover as you consider what makes similarly stationed employees successful will become apparent.

Don’t Swim Alone

Seek out a trusted colleague and ask for their input about what makes the people in your department successful beyond their skillset. You’ll be surprised at what they may share that you haven’t considered.

Paint the Target

Once you discover persona themes that can be listed in a job posting, by all means place them there, but prioritize the most important ones for public display. Showing candidates why they may already have what it takes to be successful in your company enhances your chances that they will respond to your posting.

Avoid Perfectionism

Don’t lose perfectly good candidates in search of only perfect ones. Focus on persona matching more with your finalists rather than with early round candidates, using the concept to seek out the best fit among finalists instead of straining to find only perfect ones.

Alter the Interview

Take a look at your interview questions for this role. Do they probe for any behavioral insight into how a candidate matches the broad themes of successful employees in similar roles? If not, think about how adding a few of the right questions could make a difference in gaining such insight.

Use Your Judgement

No one has ever been absolutely perfect for any job. Ever. While this concept of personas will help increase your odds of a productive hire no single thing ever guarantees success. Your intuition as a manager should remain firmly in play during the entire hiring process as you consider technical skills, logical ability, and a few targeted attributes for success using personas as a guide.

Need help hiring? It’s what we do every day here at REMEDI. Contact us without obligation.  We’ll be happy to discuss finding the right candidate for your EDI, EAI, or MFT opening.

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