Putting the 'persona' into personal


By Vicky Green

One-size-fits all isn’t enough anymore. As employers focus on targeting and attracting Gen Z it’s becoming more and more apparent that this isn’t one audience — it’s several. As anyone who spends their time in schools and on campus will tell you, students are all different.

This means you need to identify and appreciate the different characteristics of your audience. Not only that, you also need to know them well enough to provide tailored communications that genuinely feel individual. It’s a big challenge. But it’s one that can’t be ignored.

Audiences are crying out for personalisation. 64% prefer highly targeted personalised emails and 53% like it when personalised suggestions are made to them due to their online behaviour*. Audiences expect you to understand them. They expect you to know what they want. And they demand that every interaction reflects this.

Without a detailed understanding of your audience and the nuances of their generation, you’ll struggle to make an impact and achieve maximum ROI. This is where personas come in.

They allow you to be more focussed in your communications. They help you say the right things at the right time to the right people. Engaging candidates from the get-go and giving them personalised support throughout their journey from pre-application to post-hire.

Recognise. Analyse. Personalise.

Not sure where to start? Great personas come from talking to people. Get to know your audience, speak to them first-hand and ask them what they care about. What motivates them? Who influences them? What do they look for in an employer? What economic, political or social factors are they interested in? Find out as much as you can about them. Whether it’s through online surveys, focus groups or interviews, the more you learn now, the more effective your personas will be.

Once you’ve got these answers, it’s time to segment your audience into groups who share common characteristics and beliefs. But make sure each group is distinct and different from the next. Doing this, will enable you to create personas that truly reflect your candidate body.

It’s important to make your personas easy to use. You want your teams to use them whenever they’re preparing and writing all your communications. So, try to describe your personas in a way that will help your team get the most out of them.

Then it’s time to put them into action. Try to pre-empt the support certain candidates will need, and the questions they might ask, based on the information in your personas. These are great things to talk about in your email comms, on your website and on social media. Aligning candidates to personas based on a qualifying question can help you ensure that messaging throughout their journey is consistently personalised and relevant. And don’t forget to reflect on your engagement and react if anything needs changing.

City, University of London had some great results using personas to support their Postgraduate recruitment. Take a look at how they did it here.

Personalised content. Promising results.

Cut through, get noticed and establish a stronger relationship with candidates. Creating personas and personalising messages and experiences can deliver a lot of impressive benefits:

– Boost brand awareness.

– Get the right candidates at the top of the funnel.

– Improve engagement and get better metrics in advertising and wider comms.

– Deliver better candidate experiences by making them feel important, supported, and valued.

– Make the right decisions to help you recruit and keep graduates

Let’s do it

We’ve created personas for all kinds of clients and seen some incredible results. To see the impact they could have on your organisation, get in touch.

*Taken from a UCAS survey around the impact of student communications.