This guest post is by Phil La Duke, co-founder of Rockford Greene International a Monroe, Mich.-based business optimization company. He is also an editorial adviser for Facility Safety Management magazine, a regular contributor to ISHN magazine, and a contributing editor and safety columnist for Fabricating and Metalworking magazine.
Companies spend billions building brands. Why? because a strong brand is an invaluable and tangible asset; it lets customers know what they can expect, and it builds confidence in a company product. It may seem odd to see recruiting as something in need of a brand—after all, we are recruiting for companies that already have a brand right? Do I, as a recruiter, need personal branding? In short, yes. Now more than ever it’s important for recruiters to nurture contacts that last the life of a career, and the secret to that kind of lasting relationship is personal branding. Here’s how to create a personal brand that can help you to own your success.
- Identify the message. A personal brand will influence the way in which you want the candidates to view you. You want a brand that shifts the emphasis from the position to you. Candidates should see you as bigger than the position, someone they can entrust with their careers, less a “headhunter” and more an agent. While identifying the message, list your three most valuable characteristics (answer the question, “Why should I, as a candidate, stay connected to you?”). Resist the temptation to tell the candidate what they want to hear — if you aren’t an aggressive go-getter don’t pretend to be just to impress candidate. Also, be sure to balance the things you’re good at with the things that your candidates are likely to value.
- Promote your brand. In a real sense, everything related to you—from the way you dress to the things you hang on the wall of your cube, to the way you introduce a position to a candidate—influences how people perceive your brand. Before you go call or meet a candidate ask yourself what you can do to promote your brand. When you chose a place to meet a candidate for an initial screening ask yourself what does the location say about your brand?
- Do market research. Market research is important; you need to know if you are successfully building a brand that conveys your intended message. This research can be as simple as taking a person you have successfully placed to lunch and asking for his or her opinion about how you he or she initially perceived you. Questions like “did you see me as ‘organized’? ” or “how confident were you in having me represent you to the hiring?” can provide vital information without being awkward or weird. Market research lets you know if your message is off-point so you can tweak it as quickly possible, and more importantly, before you meet with that ideal candidate.
- Differentiate your brand from the competition. It’s not enough to be organized and dependable, you also have to communicate why you offer something that your competition doesn’t. Brand loyalty is built on the belief that customers get more value from one brand than they can from another. As you look for things that differentiate your brand ask yourself what it is about you that will make people want to entrust their careers to you.
- Protect your brand. One of the most important things you can do to build your brand is to consistently demonstrate the brand attributes. Inconsistency doesn’t just threaten a brand; it destroys it.
How are you building your personal branding?