Dorothy Wolentarski has worked in both agency and corporate recruiting for some of the biggest brands in the GTA. This experience, coupled with a straight shooting personality, has made Dorothy a sounding board for our ideas and strategies.
Most recently, we met with Dorothy. We felt that one of the keys to talent acquisition might lie in the notion that company stakeholders, coupled with internal recruitment, could create a “most wanted” list of talent for the different areas of the business. In true FBI fashion (not really – there’s no monochromatic wardrobe demand), the list would contain the top performers who might be working for a competitor, or even in a related industry. In response, Dorothy offered us an “ah ha” moment. She identified an important interim step. Before crafting a “most wanted” list, you need to consider the hiring persona.
Intrigued? We were. Read the interview below to find out how hiring personas can help you identify and land the right talent.
I’m curious. Do you start by making a list of the specific people that are the most wanted, or do you come at it from a different direction?
Dorothy’s answer: I’ll start off by saying that most large organizations like mine can’t wait to get to a place where we proactively hunt the right talent. Currently, we don’t have “most wanted” lists in place right now.
That kind of hiring would take a very strategic approach, with ample planning and a clear sense of what is needed at all levels. In reality, I think that a first step towards building a “most wanted” list would be to investigate the different roles in detail and create some hiring personas.
The hiring persona lets us sit down and think about what we want our message to be when we engage with talent. It’s a proactive approach that allows you to source talent that can move your organization forward. Establishing hiring personas is one of my goals for my team this year.
What is a hiring persona and what skills do you think you need to employ when building them?
Dorothy’s Answer: Hiring personas happen when marketing meets recruiting. You need to understand your talents’ needs and what makes them tick to market your company effectively to them. Developing hiring personas means an internal recruitment team knows what motivates the talent they’re trying to land. They understand the candidates’ perspective and what their goals are. That’s what’s called a persona. And it keeps hiring leaders, or anyone involved in the hiring process, moving towards the same goal versus just aimlessly interviewing. So I would say that the first step in a successful hiring strategy is creating personas.
How do you actually develop the personas with your hiring people internally?
Dorothy’s Answer: I’m currently brainstorming how to develop the personas most effectively. Obviously, our finance team would have a different persona than our retail functions. So our job descriptions need to reflect this, and they currently don’t. We want to change that because it’s not approaching that specific persona. For example, the phrase, “Perform other duties as assigned,” is vague doesn’t move us forward as an organization when it comes to sourcing the right talent.
I’m also thinking about how we reach our persona (target market) once we understand who they are. It’s not enough that the message is unique, the strategy for attracting the different personas also has to change. And while this doesn’t keep me awake at night (Dorothy says this with a rueful laugh) I do spend time thinking about getting it right.
Resource: To read more about how to develop a persona, check out this article.
The concept of a persona is not new to the marketing world, but it’s a particularly interesting concept for the recruiting landscape. If key stakeholders could partner with internal recruitment to develop personas and a “most wanted” list of top talent, the hiring process would become more effective and efficient. After all, understanding what each department needs to be successful and how to position the message to the right persona can only result in a greater chance of hiring well the first time.
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