Recruitment Marketing
May 9, 2023
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Recruitment marketing series - Understanding and Profiling Your Ideal Candidate

Recruitment marketing series - Understanding and Profiling Your Ideal Candidate

Recruitment Marketing has been a buzzword lately. Simply put, it refers to the strategy or collection of activities undertaken to attract, engage, and nurture potential employees by establishing your employer brand. While most recruiters engage in marketing, their efforts are often disorganized, limiting their success. We have created a simple and comprehensive four-part series to help you organize and strategize your efforts: 

  1. Understanding and Profiling Your Ideal Candidate
  2. Crafting a Compelling Employer Value Proposition
  3. Strategizing content 
  4. Measuring and Iterating for better success

In the first post of this series, we will discuss what an ICP is, how to leverage it for better business outcomes and a simple process to create one.

What is an Ideal Candidate Profile (ICP)? 

It is the set of characteristics or traits needed in a person to succeed in a job or a company. To make it intuitive and easy to empathise, these traits are attributed to a fictional person. 

How to use the ICP for better business outcomes? 

Organise your recruiting efforts: 

An ICP can bring clarity among recruiters and other stakeholders on what kind of candidates they are interested in, where they can find them and what they value. This can save an enormous amount of time, effort and money by helping you look for the right candidates in the right place with the right message. 

Sharpen your people strategy: 

ICPs provide information on the values, goals and pain points of your ideal candidates thereby allowing you to identify current challenges in attracting and retaining your ICPs. You can use this information to redefine your culture and policies to attract and retain employees who can help achieve your vision and long-term business goals. 

How to create an ICP? 

Here is a simple four-step process you can follow to create an effective ICP: 1. Define the criteria for your ICP 2. Research to understand your ideal candidate 3. Filter out the relevant information 4. Identify pain points 

1. Define the criteria for your ICP: 

Although not necessary, defining the criteria in prior can help bring direction to your research. These could include skills, a brief description, etc that are important to understand your ideal candidate. The criteria can be quite flexible, but it is advised not to omit “Pain points" and “What your ideal candidate values” since these are crucial to creating your Employer’s Value Proposition and content strategy. You can start by giving your ICP a name, and even fill out a few details like role, skills etc. Here is a sample template: 

Recruitment marketing - ICP
Candidate profile template

2. Research to understand your ideal candidate: 

The following are some good sources to understand who can succeed in a role or company.

Existing top performers: 

Your successful employees already possess the traits needed to succeed in their jobs. You can talk directly to them and their managers to understand what helped them succeed. In these conversations, your goal should be to understand the top performers holistically. Do not worry too much about sticking to the defined criteria. Note down anything you would like to understand about the employee and keep your questions broad like the below to prompt a conversation. You can filter out relevant information later on.  

What does your day look like?

What are the key skills that contributed to your success? 

Did remote work help your productivity? 

What proactive steps do you take to get feedback and improve? 

What are the factors in this company that helped succeed here and which of these did the previous employer lack?


💡Tip: Use surveys if you need information that employees might prefer answering anonymously like how the company can better its culture.

Other employers: 

You can go through the job descriptions of other competent employers hiring for similar roles and profiles of some of their current employees, to make sure you don’t miss out on anything important and to help build your ICP. 

Job descriptions: 

Job descriptions and ICPs are symbiotic. Job descriptions contain useful information like skills, education and other criteria needed to succeed in a job that can help understand who your ideal candidate is. ICPs in turn can help create job descriptions tuned to attract the right candidates. 

Talk to hiring managers: 

When hiring for a role, it is always a good idea to talk to the hiring manager to create the ICP for the role or review an existing one. 

3. Filter out the relevant information: 

You’ve done your research and have a wealth of information and a fair understanding of the traits you should look for. It is now time to organise this information based on the defined criteria or even add new criteria if required. You can add a counter or other relevant information to judge the importance of an occurrence. Here is a sample categorisation: 


From here, you can start filling out your ICP template. You can ignore information that is not important. Eg: In the above table, you can ignore MBA under education since the validation is negligible.

4. Identify pain points: 

Once you know who your ideal candidate is, you can set out to identify their specific pain points/challenges. Although you could identify some of the pain points during the research phase by asking successful employees in your company and other sources, it is important to revisit the pain points once the ICP is prepared since the information you will gather now would be more accurate. The best way to identify your ICP’s pain points and to refine your understanding of the ICP, in general, is to start hanging out where your ICPs are. This could be professional communities on Slack, LinkedIn etc where they discuss their challenges, pain points, goals etc. Now, let us fill out the pain points in the above template: 

Recruitment marketing - ICP


💡Tip: Be as flexible as needed when creating ICPs to make them work for you. Example: You can create a generic one at the company level that does not include role-specific information and create separate ones for every role that includes the generic and role-specific information. Or you could create ICPs for a specific demographic to understand what they value and their specific challenges. 

What's next? 

  • Once you have profiled your Ideal Candidate, you can create your Employer Value Proposition that can further guide your content strategy.  
  • The ICP can be shared among the relevant stakeholders so they can reach out to the right candidates in the right channels to save time and effort.  
  • ICPs are not set in stone. You can keep revisiting and refining them as you gain new insights.  
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