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Employer Brand’s Target Audience in 3 steps (+ Candidate Personas Template)

By Universum on 24/01/2020

Your Employer Brand communication is complex. It should reflect your strategy, interact with current and future talent and be engaging enough to attract candidates. It goes beyond choosing the right office candid photo to post on Facebook, it should be part of a strategy.

To get the best results out of your Employer Branding efforts, the place to start is at the root: your target audience. To define one, you must know the answers to these questions:

  • Who are your ideal candidates and what are their interests?
  • What channels do they use to communicate?
  • Do they have set expectations in terms of communication with potential employers?
  • Most importantly, what are they looking for in a job and an employer?
Download Candidate Personas Template »

Think of it as consumer marketing. At the core of all decisions lies the person who you want to attract, the “consumer”, who in the case of recruitment marketing is the ideal candidate. That individual who fits your culture and has the desired experience and skills to succeed at your organization.

These 3 steps will help you identify, understand and reach your target candidates to develop an Employer Branding strategy that resonates with them.

1. Look within your organization

Similar to other situations and context, to attract the right talent you must understand your corporate culture, strategy, and vision. Your business goals should be present on your Employer Brand development in order to connect and find the right talent.

Take a look internally and briefly define your internal strategy for:

  •   Business: For instance, is your organization planning to develop a new product or expand to another geographical location?
  •   Workforce: Think of the near future. Will there be a significant organizational or industrial change in the coming years?
  •   Talent: What type of talent are you hoping to attract? Are you willing to train young professionals, or do you prefer to hire experienced talent?

This exercise will help you connect the dots of the big picture. Once you are clear in the major need and goal for the right talent, you can define priorities for the new or recent hires. This planning is beneficial to several parts of your Employer Brand. It’s not only relevant internally to align objectives, but also helps to keep a coherent external communication and relationship development. You will be capable of giving your potential employees a detailed idea of what their future with you might entail.

2. Audience segmentation

Your different audiences have unique needs and preferences. In the era of personalization, you should address each of them with the individualized attention they deserve.

Start your strategy development by differentiating and categorizing your audiences. Take into consideration the goals and priorities you previously defined to complement it with:

  •   Experience Level (newly graduated, entry-level, management or executive.)
  •   Department (sales, finance, people management/HR, technical, etc.)
  •   Location (by city, country, region, remote.)
  •   Main Field of Studies (STEM, Business, Humanities.)
  •   Industry Experience: combined industries, transversal fields.
  •   Source: Referrals, internal, job boards, social media.

The insights you get from this analysis will help to have a clearer idea of your top candidate’s expectations and priorities, allowing you to craft a compelling messaging. If the results show something different to your organization’s values or goals, this shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to deceive talent by communicating features or values you don’t share. Authenticity is at the core of an Employer Brand. Candidates value highly a company that is genuine and honest.

It is possible that sometimes a high-qualified applicant ends up not being the right fit. The above categories are basics and not an exclusive list to follow rigidly. When segmenting your audiences, keep in mind the ideal person who is very likely to suit your work and values, who should be at the center of your Employer Brand strategy and messaging efforts.


After segmentation is done, is time to prioritize talent goals. Take into consideration:

  • Immediate hiring needs.
  • Roles always open.
  • Gaps in leadership or expertise.
  • Revenue production.

When a list of priorities is in place, it’s easier to allocate a budget for recruitment marketing as well as to define a strategy for payroll. You might realize some of your openings can be filled by less-experienced talent, leaving more budget for roles that require highly-qualified professionals.

Prioritization helps your Employer Brand too by properly directing your approach to the best messaging and channels. Do you hope to engage with Millennial entry-level talent first and foremost? That goal should impact everything from a career site layout to the job description copy and placement.

Employer_Branding_Targe_Segmentation

3. Create Candidate Personas

Among the tactics from consumer marketing, developing a candidate persona is one of the best ways to reach and engage your target audience. This exercise requires a deep understanding of the Talent Acquisition team of the ideal candidate as an individual.

Some of the features to consider when creating a candidate persona include:

  •   Background /Demographics (Age, education level, area of study, hometown, etc.)
  •   Current Role/Experience
  •   Skills
  •   Professional Goals
  •   Personal Attributes (Goals, hobbies, interest, favorite brands)
  •   Channels (Frequented Websites and Social Media)
  •   Challenges (Frustrations, reasons to change jobs, dislikes)
  •   Social life (Who influences their decision?)

Although this exercise is based on fiction, the point is to be as specific as possible in order to picture clearly the person who is your ideal fit. While creating a candidate persona you might realize potential weaknesses in your candidate experience that is affecting your Employer Brand and organization goals in general. 

Brainstorming with different areas of your company such as Talent Acquisition, HR, Communications and Marketing is a great way to encourage collaborative work and creativity. You can even think of running a focus group made up of current employees who hold the job or match the target candidate.

Download Candidate Personas Template »

Once your candidate persona is brought to life and you have a well-defined target audience to focus on, you can move on into creating a strategic Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that grabs their attention while remaining true to your organization.

At Universum, we help you in every step of the process. Whether you are looking for insights to get to know your target audience or you are crafting an employer brand strategy, our global data and a dedicated advisory team can help you attract the talent your company deserves.

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With over 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted more than 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at www.universumglobal.com.

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