Candidate Profile: Definition and How It Helps Companies

Updated May 25, 2023

Image description

A man stands next to a stack of illustrations of candidate profiles, with two lists floating nearby. The first says, "What is a candidate profile?" and lists these items:

  • A candidate profile is a description of the ideal candidate

  • Supports recruitment teams in identifying appropriate candidates

  • Profiles are different from job descriptions by focusing on the ideal candidate instead of focusing on duties and responsibilities

The second list says, "Why it's important & how it helps" with these items:

  • Candidate profiles reduce unconscious bias

  • Attracts quality candidates

  • Streamlines recruitment

  • Produces better hiring outcomes

Recruitment teams help companies find candidates that meet specific job descriptions and fit into roles. Candidate profiles include vital information, including the necessary skills and qualifications a candidate requires for the job. Understanding what a profile is and how to create one can help companies improve their recruitment process by facilitating communication during the hiring stages and ensuring they find high-quality candidates for each position. In this article, we define a candidate profile, explain why it's important in recruitment, discuss how it can help companies make better hires, and list the steps to create your own.

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What is a candidate profile?

A candidate profile is an overview of the ideal candidate for an organization's open job position. This document contains specific details about the ideal candidate to help recruitment teams find appropriate candidates according to the desired attributes and traits for a role. It can also describe any recruiting methods or platforms the company uses during the search process. Profiles can help recruiters better understand the open position than an organization is hiring for to ensure they review candidates effectively.

These profiles differ from job descriptions because a profile defines the ideal candidate, whereas job descriptions focus on the job duties and responsibilities. For instance, a profile may be very specific and include certain characteristics, such as confident, team player, optimistic, and customer service background. It can also include the ideal candidate's communication methods, education background, and career goals. Ultimately, the ideal profile describes the ideal candidate.

Related: What Makes a Good Job Applicant and How to Become One

Why is a candidate profile important?

Profiles for job candidates are important because they can help companies simplify the hiring process by reviewing potential candidates before the interviewing stage. A recruitment team's goal is to select the appropriate candidate for the role to improve the overall efficiency of a business. A productive organization can improve the long-term success rate of a business and increase the motivation of team members. Here are some other benefits it can offer:

  • Reduces unconscious bias: Reviewing each candidate for their attributes and traits can help eliminate any social stereotyping about specific groups of people. It focuses on a quantifiable standard approach to help remove any bias during the hiring process.

  • Attracts higher quality candidates: Well-qualified candidates may be more likely to work for an organization for a longer period because their attributes meet the job description and the business' goals. Quality candidates possess the necessary skills and qualifications to complete the job duties effectively.

  • Streamlines selection process: Having a document with a candidate's ideal qualities can help organizations match candidates to job descriptions with ease. Hiring managers can focus more of their time on each applicant if all candidates in the interviewing stage already fit the profile.

Related: Differences Between Recruiting and Selecting Employees

How do candidate profiles help companies make better hires?

Here are some benefits to using profiles for job candidates during the recruitment process:

Improves job descriptions

Profiles and job descriptions help recruiters source the ideal candidate for an open position. Knowing the desired candidate can make it easier to write a targeted job description that includes relevant skills and qualifications. This also helps attract higher-quality candidates for the role to help ensure they're a good organizational fit.

Maximizes sourcing strategy

If an organization already knows specific details about their ideal candidate, such as level of education or previous work experience, it can help improve their sourcing strategies. This can help recruiters focus on using the most efficient hiring channels. Better recruitment channels attract ideal candidates faster, which can also lead to a business saving more money.

Produces better outcomes

Creating a profile for job candidates can improve the efficiency of recruitment and hiring processes. It allows employers to better understand their employees and target new campaigns towards higher quality candidates. It can also help recruitment teams stay focused during every stage of the hiring process to help ensure hiring managers select the appropriate candidate for the position.

Related: 15 Recruiting Tools to Make the Hiring Process Easier

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How to develop your own profile for candidates

Building a profile for job candidates requires in-depth research and careful consideration. Here are the steps you can take to create your own:

1. Determine primary job duties

Begin by learning as much as possible about the open job position. This may require in-depth research, such as checking similar job postings, speaking with current employees, and consulting the position's supervisor. This can help you better understand the expected responsibilities to describe the day-to-day tasks and goals for the position in simpler terms.

2. Identify skills and qualifications

With a list of the job's primary duties, determine which soft skills and hard skills the candidate requires to fit into the position. It's important to ensure you use appropriate industry related language to describe technical capabilities. Here are some soft and hard skills to note:

  • Soft skills: These skills are non-technical and often relate to emotional and social abilities. In most cases, people can develop and improve their soft skills, such as empathy or working as a part of a team.

  • Hard skills: These skills are technical and often relate to a specific trade or occupation. Most hard skills aren't inherent, so anyone can work towards these skills and learn to develop them.

3. Compare successful employees

You can establish what an ideal candidate looks like by learning about a company's top performers. Analyze their notable qualities, accomplishments, and personality traits to identify the type of person who may complement the work environment. You may consider seeking candidates with similar or contrasting mentalities to enhance a team's perspective.

4. Consider company culture and priorities

It's important to consider a business' vision and mission when seeking candidates with a strong organizational fit. This helps ensure the candidate aligns with the organization's core values and can interact well with the current employees. Review the vision and mission statements to help identify ideal qualities and characteristics to look for in a candidate.

Related: Describing Your Ideal Culture in a Corporate Environment

5. Draft the full profile

Develop a profile based on all the information you've gathered to write a comprehensive document that details the ideal candidate for the open position. List the qualities and characteristics that the candidate requires to help ensure they can be a successful member of the team. You may also consider creating a list of non-negotiable skills and attributes that may immediately disqualify a candidate from advancing in the hiring process.

6. Connect with ideal candidates through sourcing channels

After establishing your concept of an ideal candidate for the open position, use the information to determine how to get in contact with potential candidates. Finding the right sourcing channel for an industry can eliminate candidates who may not qualify for the position. For instance, if the open position requires extensive experience, you may focus your recruiting efforts on professional sites rather than college job fairs.

Related: FAQ: What Should the Hiring Process Include? (With Steps)

7. Write the job description

Write a job description based on the ideal candidate for the position. It's important to clarify the role's expectations to help ensure applicants have a good understanding of the organization's values and the job's responsibilities. Job descriptions can act as an advertisement for the position while also being a reference for the applicant as they enter the interview stages and consider other options. Put the most important qualifications and characteristics first and ensure there's no spelling or grammar mistakes before posting.

8. Apply the profile to candidates

It's important for the recruitment team to consider the profile throughout the hiring process to match ideal candidates to the job description and select the best choice for the organization. Applying the profile during every stage of the hiring process can help identify potential candidates faster and select one before the competition. Evaluate candidates based on the specific traits noted on the profile to stay on-topic during interviews and hiring discussions.

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