Ask a Hiring Expert: How to Create an Ideal Candidate Profile

Editor’s Note: We have produced a brand new video to accompany this content. 

You can’t make the right hire until you know what you’re looking for. What will it take to be successful in a given role? At CareerPlug, we identify these traits using a planning tool called the Ideal Candidate Profile. Our very own Director of HR, Natalie Morgan, walks us through how to create an ideal candidate profile in this two-minute clip.

Investing in hiring is one of the most impactful choices you can make for your business. Your people are your greatest assets: they are the sole unique advantage you have over any competition. Hiring the right employees can accelerate your growth, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce workforce turnover.

Making the wrong hires is a drain on your operations. Making the wrong hire costs time, clients, company resources, and, in some cases, your sanity. If you’ve made a bad hire (and most of us have!) you know what I’m talking about.

The most valuable step in hiring happens before the job posting goes live – where you consider both the gaps that you’re hiring for and what type of person will be most successful in filling those gaps.

Types of Roles

The gaps you’ll find in your organization will fall into three types of openings: existing roles, expansion roles, and new roles.

1. Existing Roles

Existing roles are ones you need to fill that were previously held by someone else. These can be fairly straightforward if you hire for this type of position regularly. They can be more difficult if this is a unique role that was held by the same person for a while.

2. Expansion Roles

Expansion roles are for situations when you are adding another person to do the same thing as a current team member, usually to accommodate growth. These roles should be easier to hire for, but growth and success can sometimes cloud your vision. You could also be in a situation where the company is expanding, perhaps to a new location, and the people involved in the hiring process are under a lot of stress to fill these roles as soon as possible.

3. New Roles

New roles are typically created when someone removes a function from their own plate. They can also arise from the new needs and functions tied to company growth or changes in strategy. This is usually an exciting time for a company, but it can be challenging too. You have never hired someone for this position before, so you may not know how to identify the right person. This is a great opportunity to get outside help and learn from others who are in a similar role or have managed someone in that role.

Regardless of what type of role you’re filling: if you want to hire the right person, you first need to understand what the right person looks like.

Ideal Candidate Profile

We identify our ideal candidate using our Ideal Candidate Profile. We build it from the following components: specifics for the role, key culture drivers, and the job description.

1. Specifics for the Role

Your first step is to identify the traits that are important to successfully perform the responsibilities of the role – and how you plan to evaluate candidates for those. 

  • Skills: What expertise and experience are needed for this position?
  • Talents: What inborn abilities and natural characteristics would help someone be successful in this position?
  • Behaviors: How should someone act in this role? What behaviors and choices will the right person exhibit?

It can be difficult to pinpoint the right traits, particularly the talents. Talents are natural, inherited aspects of someone’s personality. It’s important that the person feels comfortable performing the functions of the role.

In our experience, we’ve found that people can do almost any kind of function in the short term. They may not do it well, but they will work hard at it. It takes a lot of energy to perform a function if it does not come naturally to you. Over time, this wears you out and saps your motivation. When a better opportunity comes along that matches your personality, you will be gone.

Talents are best measured through personality assessments and interviews. But first, you should know what to benchmark against. Study your top performers. Give them personality assessments for further insight. You can also give the same assessment to your average team members to provide perspective on how your top performers stand apart. If this is a new role for you, get some outside help from someone who has experience with this type of role. 

These skills and traits that you identify will be the core of your candidate scorecard. If your list of desired talents and skills is too long, you will not know where to focus. Keep in mind that there are certain things that you will look for in any person you hire. You will naturally look for things like goal orientation, team player mentality, and strong communication skills when you evaluate someone — they don’t belong in your Ideal Candidate Profile. 

2. Key Culture Drivers

Next, we look for signs that a candidate exemplifies our Key Culture Drivers. At CareerPlug, we’ve identified four characteristics or driving behaviors that we ensure every hire exemplifies. These traits are the bedrock of our company culture and non-negotiables when making a hire:

  • Scrapper: Passion & Perseverance
  • Initiator: Leads with Action
  • Learner: Growth Mindset
  • Giver: Generous & Unselfish

Consider your own company’s core values. How do these translate into employee behaviors? Are there key traits your current team shares that you want all new employees to have as well? Spend time articulating these culture fit requirements to help guide your evaluation during the interview stages.

3. Job Description

The final piece of our Ideal Candidate Profile is the job description. We keep it pretty simple:

  • Key Objectives: What are the 1-3 priorities or goals for this position?
  • Measurable Outcomes: What are the metrics you’ll use to evaluate this position’s success?
  • Responsibilities Breakdown: What are the daily/weekly/monthly responsibilities for this role? This is the place for the details.

Start by taking inventory of the functions that will be performed in the role. Break down the job into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and responsibilities. Be careful not to turn this into a laundry list (seven or fewer items is best). Focus on the functions that are critical to success in the role. If this is a new role for you, search for similar jobs online to see which tasks and responsibilities are listed.

When you take the time to plan for great hires, you’ll save the time it takes to manage poor hires and subsequent turnover.

Ideal Candidate Profile Example

Now that you understand a little more about how we hire using an Ideal Candidate Profile, take a look at one of our Ideal Candidate Profile examples. This one is for a sales position at CareerPlug. Click to expand!

candidate profile example

Download a free ideal candidate profile template!

Use the free candidate profile template designed by the Hiring Experts at CareerPlug for your own hiring needs.


Take Action:

  • Use the Ideal Candidate Profile as a checklist to help you learn about a potential candidate. It should help you ask better questions and probe deeper to ensure you can clearly answer if the candidate is the best person for the job.
  • Remember: there is no perfect candidate. The right hire won’t necessarily check all the boxes outlined in the Ideal Candidate Profile. The tool is intended to clarify what’s most important and what’s non-negotiable.
  • Making the right hire begins with identifying your ideal candidate. Invest in finding the right person up front and you’ll see, as we have at CareerPlug, how much easier it becomes for a hiring manager to make objective and thoughtful hiring decisions.

Recent Posts

Nicolle Gatlin

Manager of Partner Success

Kacie Sommers

Creative Design Manager

Kacie was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology.

Kacie joined CareerPlug as an intern while still in college in 2012. Post-graduation, she joined the CareerPlug team full-time as a Talent Specialist on the Recruitment Services side of the business, eventually working her way up to be the Recruitment Services Manager. From there, she learned her passion for the internal processes of what makes the business tick and explored other roles at the company, including Internal Support, Implementation, and Quality Management, before eventually finding her home in Design. She is now building a Creative Design branch off of the Marketing team.

Outside of work, you can find Kacie walking her dogs Bixby & Bean along Buffalo Bayou, hanging out with friends (and their pets), and tending to her 40+ house plants.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Chris Igou

Vice President of Sales

Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Andrew Robinson III

Vice President of Product and Engineering

Natalie Morgan

Senior Director of People

Leslie Chamberlain

Senior Director of Client Experience

Brad Pilot

Director of Sales

Teresa Hall

Director of UX & Product Design

Canaan Davis

Director of Engineering

Ashley Garia

Director of Product Marketing

Desiree Echevarria

Senior Content Marketing Manager

Ashley Johnson

Implementation Manager

Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

Tulay Solak

HR Manager

Aiden Kinney

Consultant Manager

Zach Garcia

Sales Operations Manager

Kirsten Penaloza

Director of Client Experience

Eric Morales

Manager of Account Executives

Brandy Lee

Operational Manager


Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.


Polly Schandorf

Engineering Manager

Joe Lepis

Engineering Manager

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.