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Invest in Buyer Personas: Customer Profile for Recruitment

The recruiter, the true middle-man, the artist of persuasion and people management... Well, when profits are soaring!

How often do you leave work feeling like your heads about to explode?

Relationships with clients have soured and candidates are turning down offers left, right and centre.

There's increased pressure for sales and tension is being thrown around the office like a hot potato. How can you change this? Surely there's a way to keep everyone happy.

Ask yourself, do you really know your candidates. Do you really know your clients? Do you really know your staff?

Most people convince themselves they do. It's more comforting than getting winded by the punch of reality. It hurts.

And we're not talking about hiring manager Karina's favourite type of lasagne. We're talking about her desires, her goals, her problems.

If your sales are dry or your leads are waning, you’re recruiting the wrong people.

We have a confession to make. We know a secret. A way you can control your customer service, streamline your sales and master your marketing. Recruiting clients is simple when you use buyer personas.

What is a Buyer Persona?

You might be feeling a little doubtful, uncertain. Allow us to explain what a buyer persona is, and how this proven method can benefit you.

Worldwide marketing company HubSpot (if it works for them, who are we to argue?) define them as;


A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.

Buyer personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your company. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.

This may sound like a lot of work, but don't worry, you don't need to create 20 buyer personas!

There's no set number on how many buyer personas to create, it depends on the size and type of your agency. If you specialise in hospitality recruitment, you’ll have a buyer persona for different job specs or company types. The possibilities are endless.

A buyer persona has two parts, customer segments and customer profiles. Customer segments contain all the simple information, like your age and gender.

Customer profiling digs deeper. It looks at the prospects goals and motivations, and how your company can help them achieve them. You need to understand how these factors are changing the buying process.

Why Use Buyer Personas in Recruitment?

We're going to demonstrate why buyer personas work for recruitment agencies. We'll use relevant examples broken into client profiling and candidate profiling sections. Double your value, double your results.

Customer Profile for Recruitment Example


1. Conduct Interviews Over the Phone

No matter how you sell your service to clients and candidates, we'll bet a phone call occurs at some point! It's the research method at your fingertips.

Use these phone calls to your advantage. It's a great opportunity to extract important information from your prospects.

Create a loose script for your consultants. Tell them to focus on the client's needs and ask probing questions. Commit to discovering what their problems are, not making a sale.

Phone calls are like interviews, gather meaningful information and concentrate on problem-solving.

Here are some open, penetrative questions for both prospects;


Notice the emphasis on why, you need to uncover the reason your client is doing what they do. It'll give you an advantage when brainstorming solutions.

2. Create a Client-Candidate Alliance With Negative Personas

Hiring managers are picky! That's partly true. Aren’t you when you employ new consultants? Would you want them to be the best investment? After all, you're paying them to work for you, and you want value for money.

Adopt a different approach. Gulp that pride down and persuade yourself you aren't recruiting the right candidate. Tell yourself you need to be better.

Buyer personas make you better. Wouldf a passive, quiet person thrive in a bustling, loud, and vibrant environment? Probably not.

Most clients are happy to tell you what they want, but how many tell you what they don't want? Let's face it, candidates don't want to be ignored and clients don't want candidates who don't solve their problems.

Who you don't want is just as important as who you do want. Why offer someone a service they don’t need or want? You're asking for negative feedback.

And on the subject of negativity, create negative personas! Negative personas tell you exactly who you don't want to recruit.

Create negative personas. Consider who you don't want.

Negative Customer Profile for Recruitment;


Candidate Profiling Example: You're recruiting for senior roles with 5 years management experience. Inexperienced executives and managers are applying, so you're aiming the role at the wrong people.

Use your positive persona with your negative persona for precise targeting. It'll improve your recruitment ROI and eliminate candidates you don't want.

Client Profiling Example: A client tells you they want someone who is an extrovert, friendly and bubbly. So you look for a candidate with those qualities. Their organisation is humble and considerate.

What the client is asking for is different to what they practice. So probe, discover their reason. Don't take their word for it. Ask why? You find out your client is trying to shake the workplace up a bit. Add this to your persona and choose your candidates in line with this goal.

3. You Pick-Up the Little Details

Buyer personas give you a platform to acquire the details your competition miss. Attention to detail is the fine line between success and failure.

For example, how often do you ask your candidates what platform they use to search for jobs? Or call someone who has no recollection of posting a CV on a job site?

Cold contact is going cold. It's difficult to attract clients and candidates in a crowded market, so save your sanity by knowing who you're outreaching to.

Candidate Profiling Example: You know the majority of 18-24-year-olds on your database search for jobs on Indeed, using the app on mobile devices. What a great piece of information to have. Your next job? Optimise your site/app for the younger generation!

Client Profiling Example: Algorithms are helpful, but what happened to human contact? Algorithms don't pick up the passion a client has for team acquisition. It's one thing knowing your client searches for employees on LinkedIn. Anyone can type that in a questionnaire. But algorithms can't detect the hatred the client has for LinkedIn job searches.

 4. You Can Focus on Your Brand

The recruitment market is noisy. There's huge demand for candidates so the best ones always have a choice. They're in the driver's seat.

Move with the trend, if you continue to use outdated targeting methods you'll fall behind. Use buyer personas to build your brand, tailoring your offer to different personas.

You know your prospect’s goals and problems. Give them a solution or value proposition.

Candidate Profiling Example: Your candidate is getting plenty of offers with high salaries. But the bonus packages are poor. How does your company solve this problem?

Consider adding this to your buyer persona in the form of a value proposition. If your consultants have answers candidates are more likely to work with them. If you can prove it even better. Send out case studies or reviews from candidates you’ve helped.

Client Profiling Example: To attract interest, staple your brand as the only recruitment service. Elevate your company's reputation. Become a service in demand, you don't have to chase business because you ooze quality.

If you want to attract more business, invest in inbound marketing. A digital content strategy is proven to generate more leads.

5. Improve Your Job Descriptions

Every recruiter knows that writing job descriptions is an art. Writing sloppy, badly structured job descriptions will attract below-par candidates.

Get the details right! What we say and how we say it matters, so communicate in the right language.

Let's say your target is young and interested in the IT sector and its lucrative salaries. Your persona should reflect this.

Task: Create a Framework for Your Job Descriptions;

  • Goals candidates would achieve or problems you would solve.
  • How you would help them achieve those goals or solve a problem.
  • What platforms you would post the job description on?
  • Why the client chose you to represent them in the recruitment process.

Get the sales team (or whoever creates your job descriptions) to write some job descriptions and adopt the process of using buyer personas.

6. Improve Your Sales Pitch

Get a better return on your sales pitches using buyer personas. Don't mistake a sales pitch for an interview, which is used to get information for your buyer personas.

If you're going to your first point of contact with a sales pitch, you're doing it wrong. Recruiters that understand their clients wait for the right moment to close.

And don't make it sound like a close! Use the right language. Some recruiters talk about how good their company is, and how bad the opposition is. Don't. If you keep mentioning someone else your prospect might do a bit of research on them!

Always start by talking about the client and what they want. Use your persona to create a script. Use trigger points to find out what their goals are.

Ask about their problems (they won't stop talking, and it's not always about work either!). You don't need to win someone over with fancy offers and sweet talk if you can reach them on a deeper level.


Every question doesn't have to pierce the prospect's soul. Simple details like income count as well.

What to Avoid

There are tactics you should avoid when creating buyer personas. Don't be too specific, you'll end up targeting nobody at all. Or such a limited talent pool that you won't find what you're looking for.

Don't base your decisions solely on demographics. Attracting firms that are local or clients that have certain incomes can pigeonhole you.

There's also a risk of lacking diversity, sometimes companies like something a little different. When recruiting for your firm, you might want to shake things up a bit.

Prioritise your personas, don't start with personas in the industry you're thriving in. Look at the industries your struggling in or want to break into.

top tip

Use buyer personas as a guide, not an exact representation of your customer.

Last But Not Least...Save Your Time!

Buyer personas = enhanced accuracy. It's as simple as that. And accuracy saves time!

With more accurate results you'll spend less time chasing lost leads and writing long-winded job descriptions that appeal to everyone and target nobody.

Why are you still here? Download our template, create those personas and get recruiting!

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