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Candidate Personas against shortage of skilled workers

Candidate personas to combat the shortage of skilled workers? Absolutely! We show how - plus practical tips for your recruiting.


Today, the shortage of skilled workers in German industry is the second most pressing problem after the shortage of raw materials. In 2022, a job was vacant for an average of 142 days across all industries in Germany. Even then, it is not certain whether the person found is the right one and will stay: According to a LinkedIn study, 28% of new hires leave the company again within 90 days.

Small and medium-sized enterprises and companies where jobs with special requirements are vacant, such as IT experts or engineers, are being hit particularly hard. But the shortage is also very noticeable in the construction industry, the skilled trades and logistics.

The picture is the same for apprenticeships: in 2021, around 40,000 apprenticeships would remain unfilled. Even if all unsupplied potential apprentices were to take up a position, this gap would remain.

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With Candidate Personas to Candidate Centricity

This situation is the same for all companies; none of them can conjure up candidates. This makes it all the more important to stay ahead in the race for candidates. The magic word here is: Candidate Centricity.
After all, if it is no longer the people who apply to the companies, but the companies who apply to potential employees, the companies must align themselves with their needs throughout the entire process, the "candidate journey," and give them a reason to sign on with this company and stay for the long term. The Candidate Journey consists of the phases: Awareness - Consideration and Interest - Application - Selection - Hiring - Onboarding. If a mistake is made in an early stage, the candidate may drop out of the process at a later stage.

A good candidate journey is achieved with data-based candidate personas: fictitious people who embody the ideal candidate. They contain what is written as a "requirement profile" in job advertisements and record demographic data, interests, pain points, media consumption, character traits, habits, values, wishes, etc. - a complete profile with name and photo. A data-based Candidate Persona is like a real person that can be introduced to and empathized with by recruiters, managers, colleagues and business partners. This makes it much more tangible than a "target group."

Targeting and consistency: reaching and retaining the desired candidates

If you have one or more candidate personas and integrate them into the relevant areas of the company, you can reach the desired candidates without wastage and with comparatively little effort and address them in the right tone. If the company then manages to apply design and content precisely, the person sought ideally has the feeling of being personally addressed. That's a huge advantage over competitors who are looking for the same people but don't use a data-based Candidate Persona.
However, the right approach on the right channel alone is not enough: If the subsequent application process does not meet the expectations of the candidate, the contract will not be signed despite good targeting. But if you know your candidate persona very well, you can tailor the rest of the application process and onboarding precisely to them. A company that uses youthful-looking targeting to attract young professionals from Generation Z or potential trainees and then turns out to be a "hierarchy monster with a culture of screening and complicated official channels" in the further process will quickly scare away the prospects it has just attracted. But if you can offer Candidate Centricity thanks to data-based Candidate Personas, you will develop a positive employer branding - and thus become a magnet for desired candidates.

For this to work, candidate personas must be created on the basis of reliable data. The searching company obtains this data, for example, from existing personnel and applicant data (analytics, CRM system, personnel data, ...), analysis tools of its own social media and web presences, from job interviews, or from interviews with target group representatives or its own employees, etc. The missing data can be purchased from opinion or market research institutes or from platforms, authorities, surveys, and polls. Missing data can be purchased from opinion or market research institutes, or obtained from platforms, authorities, surveys, and surveys as well as by means of literature research. An alternative to this are providers such as the Persona Institute, which creates data-based candidate personas on the basis of data it has collected itself - and, if necessary, enriches them with data from customers.

This is worthwhile, because: A search with candidate personas requires fewer resources with a better conversion rate, because the desired candidates find themselves in the campaign. In addition, coordination processes in the company are shortened because everyone knows what the candidate persona does when, why, where, and how intensively on which channels. Ideally, precise targeting with candidate personas can even lead to significantly better performing organic social media posts and viral moments. In this way, even extended target groups that are similar to the core target group can become visible and turn into potential candidates.

More info? Then read our eBook "Candidate Personas in Recruiting" or our "Personas-based Job Ad Construction Kit".

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