Next Time You Write Job Ads for Your Credit Union, Invite a Few Job Seeker Personas to Help You Out!

By Christine Pena-Oquist

Previously, I wrote this article about how hiring the best employees for your credit union involves marketing. So, now, let's take a closer look at one of the marketing department's favorite tools, usually referred to as a "buyer persona." These profiles are detailed representations of a business or organization's ideal customer or client. Your credit union’s marketing team probably has a few member personas made up of the people they want to attract and serve.

If you are going to market jobs effectively, you need to create this same type of profile for your ideal candidates. In the hiring arena, this is usually referred to as  a "job seeker persona" or "candidate persona." A great job ad, by definition, is always created with a job seeker persona in mind--but formally writing this profile down will help solidify it, highlight details, keep you focused, and get everyone on the same page.

So how do you come up with a realistic job seeker persona?


It requires research!

The best place to start is by interviewing some of your star employees. Some of the things that you will want to find out about include what their previous work experience was, what attracted them to their first job within your credit union, if they had any reservations about applying for or accepting the job, how much education they had, how they found out about the opportunity, and what they like about this job over ones they've had in the past.

It is always good to interview a few live people to get a real feel for what your credit union is offering its employees, but a lot of helpful information can also be gleaned from your applicant tracking and HR management software. You can look for patterns among your best employees such as prior work experience, education levels, where they heard about the opportunity, and what platform they used to apply.  


You also want to look for patterns in how long employees have stayed in the position, their reasons for leaving, and how many ended up being promoted within the company. This is all relevant information for fleshing out your persona.



So now I’m going to introduce you to a job seeker persona whom I named Tami Teller.

At 25, Tami is part of this millennial generation that people can't stop talking about. Previously, in this article, I explained why your typical teller applicant is most likely going to be a millennial.

Tami is intelligent and good with numbers.

After high school, Tami worked as an office assistant for a local accountant. She was good at it, but as a "people person," she longed for more human interaction during the day.

Due to family circumstances, Tami hasn’t been able to go away to a four-year university, but she’s taken a couple business classes at the local community college.

Currently, she is working as a cashier at a big chain store. She is good at her job. She is accurate, efficient, honest, friendly, and patient with her customers. She’s worked there about three years and overall is happy at her job.

Lately, though, Tami and her boyfriend have started to discuss marriage. She realizes that her pay of just a little over minimum wage isn’t ideal for supporting children, but most of all the unpredictable schedule with hours anywhere from 6 am to midnight would be hard on a family.

Tami has also been considering advancing into a job with more responsibility. Recently, she was encouraged by her supervisor to apply for a department manager position that had opened up at their store. She wasn’t sure, however, that the 10-hour work shifts which fluctuate anywhere from the wee hours of the morning to the middle of the night would be a good fit for her long term.

So, with these thoughts in mind, Tami has started to scroll through the Indeed app on her mobile phone whenever she finds a free moment and has also joined a couple local Facebook job groups.

One day, on her lunch break, she notices an ad pop up on Facebook that says a local credit union is looking to fill a teller position. It says that they are looking for someone who loves working with the public and has experience working with money to a high degree of accuracy.

The ad states that the job pays 2 dollars more an hour to start than she makes now, never requires working past 6:30 pm on weekdays or 12:30 pm on Saturdays, no Sundays or holidays, and there will be opportunities for advancement! She's pleased to see that she meets all the minimum requirements.

Tami decides that this opportunity fits her perfectly!

The ad says to click a link right in the ad to complete a simple application process. Tami glances at the time. She still has 50 minutes left in her lunch hour. Why not?

After completing the application process, she thinks of that great credit union in town that sponsors the awesome “Giving Tree” program every Christmas that she volunteered for one time. She’s always wanted to work for an organization that makes a positive difference in the community.

She still has 20 minutes left before she has to get back to work, so she goes to their website. It doesn’t display very well on her phone, though, and she can’t find any kind of career or job link. After 10 minutes, she gives up and decides maybe she’ll look into it on her next day off.

She checks out a couple other credit union ads on Indeed, but they don’t list the pay or hours. She wonders what they have to hide… Tami’s job hunt, however, stops there. Before her next day off, she’s called in for an interview which leads to a job she loves!

So, did this help you think of ways you could reach Tami Teller with a job ad for your credit union?

Of course, a job seeker persona doesn’t have to be, nor is it usually, written in a narrative style. That was just fun for me! Several categories with descriptive phrases under them work just fine. actually offers a free downloadable template that can be used for this purpose. And, we offer this free download to help with interviewing employees. The important thing is to get a clear picture of your target audience, so you will know what you need to do to get their attention.

Check back with me soon for more ideas on how to write effective job ads.

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