Using Candidate Personas in your Hiring Process

You know you need to hire a sales executive but besides the job title, do you actually know what kind of candidate you are trying to target? In this economy, candidates have options – and they are educated job seekers. You need to fully understand what these candidates are looking for and where they are looking to attract them to your open positions. Taking the time to develop a candidate persona will help you understand your target talent audience and consistently hire high-quality applicants.

What is a candidate persona?

A candidate persona is a “fictional representation of your ideal hire for a specific role…based on as much real data as possible, along with educated guesses about experience, goals, motivations, and concerns.” It’s essentially a research-driven strategy to attract your ideal candidate, similar to the process marketers use to develop buyer personas and attract their target customer. Personas, different than simple profiles, will move you away from the more technical way of recruiting and differentiate your company on the job boards. Having a candidate persona can help you rely personality and allow candidates to connect to this and the cultural fit of a job posting.

How do I create a candidate persona?

Start by examining your current employees, specifically your top-tier, and identify trends. Look at their education, experience, career path and even location.

While the data is important, it’s also crucial to talk to those existing employees. Find out what matters to them. Ask them what they do on a daily basis, what attracted them to their current role, what they are interested in, and what matters to them in a job.  Interviewing those employees and people in your company who understand the role, whether it’s the hiring manager or recruiter, will help you learn more about the qualities and personality traits of the ideal candidate.

Next find out where your candidates are coming from. Knowing where your top applicants and hires come from can help you focus on the channels that deliver the best results. Within CareerPlug, we offer automated candidate source tracking and provide you will this reliable data to use in creating your candidate persona.

How do I use the candidate persona in my recruitment process?

Once you have identified the qualities of your candidate persona, you can use this information to improve your recruiting process. Share the persona with your recruiters and hiring managers so everyone is on the same page. Use the qualities you identified to create a job description and elevator pitch that will be targeted towards your ideal applicant.  Having this candidate persona as a guide during your decision-making process will give you a focus and better chance of attracting the right talent.

For more recruiting tips follow us on Twitter @CareerPlug

Taylor Wilson is one of CareerPlug’s Dedicated Account Managers. 

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Nicolle Gatlin

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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.

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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.

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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.