How personas can help staffing agencies

Jeremy Corporate Recruiting, Staffing

Staffing is about understanding people's strengths and putting them in position to succeed in a new role. Staffing professionals get to know a lot about candidates, from where they went to school to their hopes for building a career. Agencies can put what they've learned to work through the use of personas.

Marketers rely on segmentation in order to target their messages at the right audiences, tailoring their approach to bring in new customers and retain existing ones. Many of the same principles apply when it comes to recruiting and placing workers. With quality information and modern tools, staffing professionals can segment candidates based on personas, achieving improved communication and results.

Get to know your personas
In both marketing and staffing, it's essential to speak to real people's needs and desires. Of course, it's impractical to communicate directly with every single person in a target audience. Marketing personas are tools for figuring out how to reach out to people through the correct channels and accomplish more consistent, focused and effective messaging.

"Marketing personas are tools for reaching out to people."

These personas include a broad swathe of information about a fictional individual, such as occupation, family life, household income and budget. These imaginary people even have behavioral aspects like anxieties, pain points and habits for consuming content. To be successful, the representations must be based on sound market data and research. Marketing Land explained that much of the information tends to come from customer interviews, demographic information and the impressions of sales teams.

The number of personas a company needs differs based on the particular industry and marketing goals. HubSpot warned against establishing too many of these fictional individuals. The personas are only useful as long as there is plenty of information about each of them and stark differences to set them apart from each other. In many cases, two or three fleshed out personas may be sufficient.

Establish a social recruiting strategy
Just like advertisers, staffing professionals need to make sure their messages are getting out to the right people. That's where a thoughtful social recruiting strategy that targets candidates based on personas comes in. Staffing agencies can draw from their store of real hiring data and industry experience to establish identities that characterize major segments of the workforce they are striving to engage.

When it comes to finding and making contact with candidates, it helps to first familiarize yourself with their needs, pain points and preferred means of communication. Writing for LinkedIn, Storyhackers co-founder Ritika Puri discussed how personas could give recruiters a leg up in finding high-quality jobseekers. She explained they can assist in choosing the most effective language, developing lasting relationships, addressing specific concerns and selecting the best channels to get a message out. Mitchell Camp of Divergence Academy advised thinking about a persona's long-term goals, as well as his or her immediate requirements.

"Map out the career context in which this candidate is placed, as well as how this individual makes decisions," he said. "Look at their values and motivations. Tell this story from the beginning of this person's journey to the end."

Accurate personas for recruiting rely on data gathered through a firm's past placement results, website analytics and social networks. According to Proactive Talent Strategies, you can supplement this information with market research to learn details like what websites these imagined people visit regularly, the sources they go to for industry news and what events or personalities capture their attention. All this information taken together allows for strengthened outreach and communications strategies.

JobscienceDevelop personas by talking to real job candidates.

The power of smarter segmentation
With a powerful analytics suite, you can seek out high-quality candidates and learn a great deal about their qualifications before making a placement. Staffing software allows you to find jobseekers who have the skills and experience businesses are looking for by searching internal databases, checking social networks, and posting to both branded and third-party job boards. Analytical tools identify where people are coming from and what other agencies they've been placed with so you can make smarter calls as you engage them.

Applicant tracking systems can increase both the volume and the quality of your placements, making it possible to easily gather, organize and browse through a huge quantity of resumes in a standardized format. Rank candidates for specialized positions on the basis of particular skills and easily present their information to potential employers. Throughout the process, stay in contact by using mobile recruiting tools, building relationships with a variety of candidates.

Staffing agencies rely on an in-depth understanding of a large volume of people's abilities and desires. When incorporated with smart staffing software, personas offer a major advantage in finding and engaging job candidates. When you know people's stories and motivations, you can assist them in taking their next step.