What is a candidate profile? (With tips and an example)

Updated 22 November 2022

When recruiting for vacant positions at a company, it's important to understand exactly what you're looking for in a candidate to ensure the person you hire provides value. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the creation of a candidate's profile, which is a document that outlines the necessary skills, duties and qualifications for the role. If you're wanting to make the recruitment process easier and more successful, using a profile is a great tool. In this article, we describe what a candidate profile is, discuss its importance and explore how to make one.

What is a candidate profile?

The answer to 'What is a candidate profile?' is that it's a document that provides an overview of an open position at an organisation. It includes information about the relevant skills, experience and qualifications to want in an ideal candidate for the open position. It's a document that hiring managers and recruiters use internally to help guide the hiring process while fairly reviewing all prospective candidates.

Profiles used for internal hiring processes are different to profiles created by recruitment agencies. Recruitment agency profiles describe an individual who has applied for work through the agency and outline specific details about that person. This document is typically sent to clients for review to help them find a suitable candidate through the agency. An internal profile is a tool to help define the job position before looking for candidates.

Related: What is candidate relationship management? (Plus benefits)

What is the importance of using a candidate profile?

Creating a profile for candidates is a useful tool that streamlines the hiring process by creating a document that outlines key details about the role before meeting with any candidates. There are a number of benefits associated with using a candidate profile, such as:

More accurate job descriptions

These profiles help improve the accuracy of job descriptions by providing better information about the job, which makes it easier to bring in the most suitable candidates for interviews. When recruiters understand the specific requirements of the role, it's easier to find ideal candidates who hold the right level of experience, qualifications and skills. So, profiles support the creation of job descriptions to improve the overall hiring process.

Improved sourcing approaches

When recruiters have a better understanding of the job and ideal candidates for a role, such as required skills or experience, it allows for improved sourcing approaches. Recruiters are better positioned to use the most appropriate hiring platforms and channels in relation to the role. This makes the sourcing strategies much more focused, so it eliminates interviewing candidates that don't meet the requirements.

Achieving better outcomes

One of the biggest advantages of using a profile is that it improves the overall hiring cycle process, resulting in better employees coming into the company. Recruiters with access to a profile for candidates have a clearer understanding of the role, which helps them bring in the most appropriate and qualified candidates. This ensures the company finds the best person for the job, which achieves better outcomes for the business.

Related: Job profile vs job description: definitions and differences

How to create a candidate profile

Learning how to create a profile helps to improve the hiring process and ensures you find the most suitable candidate for the job. Take a look at the steps below to find out how to create a profile for candidates:

1. Outline the job

Define the everyday duties of the role, long-term goals for the job and the standard expectations of the work done. Incorporate quantifiable measures to clearly outline the job. It's also helpful to include details about the hierarchy of the job, so include details about direct superiors and any jobs that the role supervises.

2. Include the hard and soft skills for the role

Use your definitions of the job to ascertain the hard and soft skills necessary for the job. This includes hard, technical skills like understanding how to use specific software to perform the job effectively. It also brings in soft skills, such as interpersonal skills like communication or teamwork. You might also want to include a separate list of desirable characteristics that aren't essential for the role but helpful. Categorise the skill list by priority and include proper industry language for any technical skills.

3. Look at successful hires

Consider previous recruitment efforts and look at individuals brought into the company who've found success in their role. Identify any notable achievements or useful characteristics that helped this person succeed and think about looking for these traits in candidates. If you find a particular skill or trait you want in a candidate, consider adding it to your profile skill list.

Related: 6 stages of an effective recruitment process

4. Factor in company goals

Think about how the role you're hiring for aligns with the overall company goals and mission statement. This helps you identify any specific perspectives you might want for the role with bigger goals in mind. For example, if the company wants to advance into new industries, it might be wise to find candidates with more experience and industry knowledge. Factor in how the company goals align with day-to-day operations and think about how your ideal candidate may help with this.

5. Create your profile

Now that you've gathered the right information about the job, it's time to create the profile. Start by creating a list of the key qualities the candidate requires to succeed in the role, such as good teamwork or proficiency in a certain application. Create another list of attributes that would disqualify candidates, such as criminal convictions. If you want to add extra depth to the profile, include another list of additional skills and desirable traits that aren't essential for the job.

6. Create a job description for the role

Once you acquire all the job information available, you can make a detailed job description. Try to make this as clear as possible by outlining the expectations of the job and highlighting key qualifications, skills and traits. Your job description is also a good platform to discuss things like company values to help candidates understand the role more completely. It's useful to consider the job description as both a reference for candidates and an advertisement for the role.

7. Reach out to ideal candidates

With the profile complete, it's time to connect with your ideal candidates by reaching out to them from preferred job portals and platforms like Indeed. Using the profile, you might know that a graduate is a useful candidate for the job or you might require someone with more experience. You might choose to select candidates based on their technical skills and proficiency. Try to use the most suitable networks to find your ideal candidate and reach out to them with an offer to interview.

8. Use the profile for interviews

When it's time to interview your candidates, make sure you use the profile to determine the best choice for the job. It's a handy reference tool to evaluate candidates and make sure they have the right skills and traits for the job. It's also a useful way to emphasise key talking points during the interview, which ensures you don't miss anything important.

Related: 5 ways to be a good interviewer

Tips for creating an effective profile

To help you create an effective profile for candidates for the hiring process, take a look at the tips below:

  • Understand the job. Finding your ideal candidate is much easier if you understand the specific details about the job. Take a good amount of time to learn about the position before you create the candidate's profile so you know more about what's required for the role.

  • Highlight unique traits. If the role asks for specific, unique characteristics or traits from a candidate, note this down. These traits might be specific to the job itself or something the company wants in all candidates but if they're unique in some way it's worth including them in the profile.

  • Factor in things you don't want. Try to think about the things that would exclude a candidate from the job to create a list of things that disqualifies candidates. This makes it easier to identify candidates and remove them from the hiring process.

Related: The cost of hiring employees (plus tips to save money)

Example of a candidates profile

To help you create your own profile, review the example for a sales advisor below to use as a guide:

Sales representative manager: John Wright

Team: Sales

Job type: Full-time

Key objectives:

  • build customer relationships to grow leads

  • sell different products and services directly to customers


  • meet established key performance indicators every month

  • ensure adherence to company policy and regulatory guidelines


  • strong sales experience (at least 2 years)

  • good ability to work to targets

  • teamwork skills

  • understanding product market

  • good communication skills


  • goal-driven

  • detail-focused

  • passionate about sales


  • strong leadership mentality

  • good team player

  • confident

Job responsibilities:

  • perform outreach to prospective clients

  • perform demonstrations for products

  • comfortable with using customer relationship management systems

  • attend weekly team meetings

  • achieve monthly sales targets

  • stay current with training

  • perform analysis on outreach efforts

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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