10 Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Candidate Profile

By Abby McCain - Dec. 14, 2022
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When you’re a recruiter or on a hiring team, it isn’t uncommon for you to be the only one to go over a particular candidate’s resume, check their references, and conduct their interview. Because of this, it’s important to be able to write a candidate profile that convinces everyone else that this is the best person for the job.

In this article, we’ll give you instructions and tips on how to write a powerful candidate profile.

Key Takeaways

  • Start your candidate profile with your overall impression of the candidate.

  • Outline the candidate’s skills, achievements, and qualifications, and explain why these make them a great fit for the job.

  • Include details such as the candidate’s salary expectations and availability.

10 Simple Steps to Writing a Powerful Candidate Profile

10 Steps for Writing a Candidate Profile

Rest assured there’s no need for a Lord of the Rings trilogy. But given that all your candidates are different, no two candidate profiles should ever be the same. Here’s what you should always include:

  1. Your Overall Impression From the Candidate Interview

    What made this particular candidate stand out?

    How did they present themselves? How did they communicate? Why exactly are you putting them forward for the role?

    Example Impression Section:

    Antony came across as an extremely competent and professional candidate with a wealth of experience in B2B sales. He was well presented and was able to articulate his career highlights succinctly during his interview. He is clearly passionate about sales and also has a great sense of humor, which when combined with his high level of commercial acumen has no doubt contributed to his successes to date.

  2. Suitability to Key Selection Criteria

    Looking at the three or four most important key selection criteria (perhaps relating back to the performance profile), what makes this particular candidate perfect for the role?

    Example Key Criteria Section:

    Antony is clearly comfortable cold calling as well as sitting opposite key decision makers. In his current role he has also been instrumental in writing and winning tenders. Based on his responses during our discussion, he runs a very effective consultative sales process.

  3. Career Highlights and Achievements

    Based on the career achievements your candidate would have talked about during the interview, if there are any specific highlights which would resonate with your client, include them here.

    Example Career Highlights Section:

    We discussed his key career achievements and he listed these as being his top three:

    1. Winning the ABC account after persisting and chipping away at them for nearly 10 months. Antony wrote the tender document and ultimately led the winning sales presentation.

    2. Being recognized as Sales Person of the Quarter for the last three consecutive quarters.

    3. Being asked to write and run the sales training curriculum for all new sales executives.

  4. Relevant Skills and/or Qualifications

    Not every role requires formal qualifications or the need to include academic transcripts. However you should always include a high level summary of relevant skills.

    Example Relevant Skills and Qualifications Section:

    Antony has spent the last 8 years in sales, both at the coalface and more recently also leading a sales team of 3.

  5. Referee Feedback 

    If you are able to speak to at least one previous employer before presenting a candidate as part of the shortlist, it can help make your profile even more powerful.

    That way, your thoughts and comments are reinforced by those made by someone who has actually managed the candidate in the past.

    Example Reference Feedback Section:

    He is still employed in his current role, but I have been able to speak to one of his referees who had been sorry to lose Antony from his team 3 years ago. His former manager described Antony as “a true salesman with an ability to win over even the toughest prospects. He’s hungry, tenacious, and super driven … and will easily surpass his targets without even a hint of arrogance.”

  6. Salary Expectations

    It’s best to put this information on the table from the outset. That way you won’t be wasting anybody’s time.

    Not yours, not your client’sc and not your candidate’s.

    Example Salary Expectations Section:

    Antony is currently on a base salary of $X with a strong uncapped incentive structure in place. In the last financial year he earned $XX and would expect to at least match this in his next role. He is also currently given a car allowance.

  7. Availability

    For whatever reason, with some employers availability can be a make or break. So as with salary, it’s best to be clear and address it up front.

    Example Availability Section:

    Antony is due to be paid a decent quarterly bonus in mid-July. His preference is naturally to wait for this commission before resigning. He is then only required to give 2 weeks’ notice so would be available to start from August 1st.

  8. General Recommendation

    Hopefully this is pretty self-explanatory.

    Something along the lines of:

    Example General Recommendation Section:

    Out of all the candidates I screened and interviewed as part of my selection process, Antony is by far the strongest and most suitable for the role. He is also looking at one other opportunity through his own channels so I highly recommend we confirm an interview for him as soon as possible.

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Tips for Writing a Candidate Profile

  1. Get the Candidate to Complete as Much of the Profile for you as Possible

    Naturally the overall impression and general recommendation needs to be written and tailored by you, as well as any referee feedback you’re able to obtain.

    However if you’ve interviewed a great candidate and they are genuinely keen on the role, there’s no reason why you can’t give them ‘homework’ to complete some of the other sections themselves. Just ask them to write it in the third person to make your job even easier!

  2. Sometimes You Might Just Want to Pick Up the Phone

    While I wrote this post to help you write more engaging candidate profiles, often the best way to ensure you get your candidate in front of your client is to call your client and sell the rockstar candidate in over the phone.

    In addition to the words you might choose to include in a written profile, remember that the enthusiasm and conviction in your voice can be incredibly powerful too.

    Who knows … you might not even need to write a profile at all.

Writing a Candidate Profile FAQ

  1. What is in a candidate profile?

    A candidate profile should have:

  • Your overall impression from the interview.

  • The key criteria they meet.

  • Their career highlights.

  • Their relevant skills.

  • Feedback from their references.

  • Their salary expectations.

  • Their availability.

  • Your general recommendation.

  • Why is a candidate profile important?

    A candidate profile is important because it helps employers see the candidate’s qualifications at a glance.

  • Whether you’re a recruiter or a part of a hiring team, it can be difficult to communicate why you think a particular candidate is the best person for the job.

    If you just hand them the candidate’s resume, they likely aren’t going to see the same things that you are. Writing a candidate profile helps solve this problem by highlighting the key selling points of the candidate in an easy-to-read format.

  • What makes someone a good fit for a team?

    Strong communication skills, high emotional intelligence, and a compatible personality and work style make someone a good fit for a team.

  • Beyond having the technical skills you’re looking for, it’s important to find someone who will mesh well with your team.

    They need to be able to communicate well with their colleagues, have a similar sense of humor to the rest of the team, and be able to do their work in a similar way. They also need to have good social skills and have a handle on their own emotions, strengths, and weaknesses.

  • How do you tell a candidate they are a good fit?

    Tell a candidate they are a good fit by specifying why you chose them when you send them a job offer.

  • You could say something like, “We believe your extensive background in customer service would fit well with this position, and we’d love for you to add your expertise in kitchen design to our team.”

    Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

    Author

    Abby McCain

    Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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    Find Your Next Hire Out Of Over 5 Million Candidates

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    Topics: Candidates, Hiring Talent, Recruitment, Talent Professionals