Winning candidate profile: 8 crucial pieces of info you can’t recruit without

The more information you have, the better your decisions will be. In recruitment, this should be a guiding principle. Screening, interviewing, and evaluating are all done with the purpose of gathering more information on your candidates. But gathering the information you need to complete a comprehensive candidate profile is not always easy. And information that is not conscientiously documented into one central and accessible record may be lost or potentially kept in a recruitment data silo.

Creating a complete profile of your candidates will not only help you gather the right information, but also help you and your team make a better-informed decision when it comes to making the offer. Here we’ll outline eight must-haves to ensure you are getting the most out of your process with your candidates and that you have all the information you need when it comes to making a selection. But first…

What is a candidate profile?

Candidate profiles are the digital CVs of applicants who apply to your jobs (usually, through your ATS ). Your ATS (or team) will parse information from a candidates’ application and CV and categorize it accordingly. They may also be called candidate briefs. Candidate profiles are often limited to just a CV.  For some teams, this can be enough. For others, just the information provided by the candidate will be insufficient to make a hiring decision. A complete profile will include a comprehensive overview of the candidates’ skills in comparison to the job.

So what should a complete profile have?

  1. Basic information
  2. Link to candidate’s socials
  3. Candidate ranking
  4. Career highlights
  5. Evaluations
  6. Last contact information
  7. Scheduled interviews
  8. Source of application

1. Basic information

First and foremost, you need to have your candidate’s most basic information in their candidate profile. What do we mean by that?

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • City and country
  • Basic career history

Usually, this comes in the format of a CV. And while CVs used to be absolutely mandatory, today they’re not always collected at the application stage (some even speculate that the traditional CV may be dead). Some employers putting have decided to prioritize mobile applications. This means that they have done away with the immediate need to submit a CV, instead opting for candidates to leave their name, email, title, and phone number. This way, with some basic details they can follow up with their candidates about their interest in the position. This approach can be more time intensive, however, it may reward with better candidate selection when it comes to niche or scarce profiles.

While the idea of only collecting the bare minimum (name, phone number, email, title) seems outlandish, it becomes less so when you ask candidates to link to a social profile like LinkedIn. Having candidates provide their LinkedIn profile can be a helpful alternative to having them provide a CV or a nice addition to it. This can help fill out potentially blank spaces in a CV and, given the amount of candidate activity on the platform, can provide more information on their professional personality. It’s definitely an added bonus if they have former colleagues or managers offering references in the recommendation section at the bottom of their profile.

Depending on the position, it may be useful to have candidates link to additional social profiles. For technical candidates, you may be able to get better insights into their skills if they link to a GitHub account. For design candidates, you may want them to link to a DribbleBehanceArtStation or DeviantArt accounts. Additionally, these accounts can show you how active they are in their professional field, which can be a good indication of a deep interest in their industry.

3. Ranking in reference to the job description

During the candidate interview process, recruiters are able to collect additional information from the candidate. Usually, screening and interviews try to reveal the candidates’ motivations for applying to the company or position and confirm their basic career history or experience. At this stage, it’s important to record all the insights gained to a central candidate profile. However, recorded insights from conversations don’t always tell you clearly how to proceed with a candidate.

This is where ranking your candidates in reference to the job description can come in handy. You can construct this in a yes-no format or a number ranking (from one to ten or one to five). Listing and structuring the necessary qualities and skills and assigning a numerical value to each can help simplify the selection process later on. You may decide to rank a candidate on different skills at each stage of the interview process but tracking rankings in reference to a role will help you and your team make a better selection later on.

4. Favorited career highlights

Inevitably not everything in a candidate’s career history will be relevant to the role at hand. It may be helpful to highlight or pull out career highlights in the comment section of a candidate record. This can be done by the recruitment lead or by a hiring manager who may have a set idea of the necessary experience required for the role. By systematically pulling out your favorite career highlights from a candidate’s experience, selection during a potential offer stage can be a little more straightforward rather than differing to potentially biased preference.

candidate profiles should have a lot of information
Your candidate’s application profile should be where all of the information you need is kept, including their interaction with your colleagues.

5. Evaluations from colleagues

More and more, companies are embracing collaborative hiring.  This means that colleagues and hiring managers are involved earlier on in the process- sometimes as early as sourcing or CV screening. Those working in a collaborative hiring environment often have colleagues involved in evaluating candidates, whether this is done by ranking on skills, running skills assessments, or cultural fit trial days.

Collaborative hiring can have a big impact on candidate profiles. With more people involved in the hiring process, it’s important that anyone involved can access a candidate profile. This way they can save recruiters and HR time in collecting feedback by leaving their evaluation information on the candidate record themselves. When evaluations from colleagues are compiled onto a candidate record, they can help make your selection process easier with more data.

6. Last contact information

Communication is the cornerstone of a great candidate experience. But with so many potential points of contact with a candidate- email, phone, text, messaging, even voice messaging!- it can be hard to keep track of your last contact. Nevertheless, this is a crucial element to completing a comprehensive candidate profile.

Making note of every communication point had with a candidate during the hiring process is crucial to keep track of valuable information. If you have more than one person involved in the hiring process, make sure they have access to the candidate records so that they can record any phone conversations or contact they’ve had with the candidate. Better yet, integrate your email with your ATS in order to ensure any emails are automatically synced to the candidate record.

7. Scheduled interviews or meetings

During the hiring process, there may be multiple scheduled meetings or interviews with a candidate. Sometimes it’s not always the same person who schedules the meeting as who attends. In order to avoid confusion and missed meetings, make sure all scheduled interviews are kept in one central and accessible place: the candidate profile. To avoid skipping a beat, make sure this is either automated in your ATS or ensure you regularly update this information!

8. Source of application

Source of application is often considered a nice-to-have when compared to all of the data that could be collected on a candidate’s profile. But tagging a candidate’s application source- where they applied or were sourced from- can be a powerful tool in helping you maximize advertisements on the right social channels and eventually predicting your next best hire. All of the following can be considered sources:

  • Social paid: ads on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels.
  • Social organic: free job advertisements or social sharing on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social channels.
  • Internal candidate referral: a candidate who is already an existing employee in another role or department.
  • Employee referral: a candidate who is referred to a position by an employee.
  • Careers site: a candidate who applies via your careers site directly.
  • Job board: a candidate who comes from a job board like Indeed or Monster.

It’s important for categories like social or job boards, that you tag based on which job board or platform they came from. This way, with a few successful hires under your belt, you may be able to see trends in which channels are producing the best candidates!

Creating a comprehensive and accessible candidate profile

When it comes to candidate profiles: the more information, the better. But collecting the right information and ensuring its accuracy can be time-consuming. This is why it can be helpful to tie in colleagues and hiring managers where possible to share some of the recruiting duties. It doesn’t hurt that with more people involved in hiring, not only will you be able to gather more complete information but you can avoid unconscious biases.

Creating the perfect candidate profile doesn’t need to be done alone. Make sure your ATS allows for your colleagues to contribute to every step of the recruitment process, including access to editing and adding to candidate records.

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