The reality of modern recruiting means that to succeed, you need to go way beyond the basics. For today's recruiter, the focus must be on personal branding – developing a strong reputation for yourself and then making sure everything you do aligns with your brand.
To take it one step further, your personal brand needs to fall under your firm's brand umbrella. Working towards the same outcomes and combining forces with your branding allows both you and your recruiting business to achieve greater success together.
Why Personal Branding Matters in Recruiting
When you focus on building your personal brand, you're investing in how others see you and how you position yourself within the industry. Personal branding is about deciding how you want to showcase the best version of yourself.
Let's break down the specifics of the things you need to do to build your personal brand as a recruiter.
How to Establish Your Personal Brand as a Recruiter
1. Highlight Your Expertise
Whether you chose it, or it chose you, your area of specialization is what forms the basis of your personal brand. Most your placements might happen to be in finance, or you may have already been an expert in marketing when you started recruiting professionally. There are countless recruiters in the industry, but there’s only one with your exact education, experience, and skill set.
Define what your niche is and solidify it through the type of content you share. Lend your specialized knowledge to others - candidates, clients, and fellow recruiters - by sharing presentation decks that you’ve made, research you’ve done, and articles you’ve contributed to, all via LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, your own webpage within your company site, or as blog posts.
Recruiters who are new to the industry will want to make a point of building a content portfolio of shareable material to use to highlight your skills.
The more specialized you are, the more you’ll stand apart from competitors and will become a go-to for candidates and clients in your specific industry.
2. Become a Social Media Ninja
One of the best ways to elevate your brand is from a social media standpoint.
It’s not enough to simply have a Facebook account or a LinkedIn profile page – you need to master these platforms from a branding point of view to get the full benefit of their power.
Social media is meant for sharing. That means nothing is off the table when it comes to content. As a user, you’ll want to read, reference other users’ shares, network, and connect through comments. The more social you are, the stronger your brand becomes.
To excel at the social media game, you need to be fully invested. This means connecting across all channels and engaging in the most popular platforms, as a speaker as well as being part of the audience. To ramp up your social media presence, add some of these strategies to your routine:
- Update regularly – Set a goal for daily posts or at least several times per week.
- Have accounts on all appropriate platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the most common social media channels for business.
- Engage in conversations with other users – comment on their posts, tag them in suitable information that you post.
- Stay current – use the most relevant hashtags for what’s happening and trending in your area of expertise.
- Post content, and lots of it – Did you just read an interesting article? Share a link. Is there a hot debate going on in your industry? Weigh in. Share industry-appropriate jokes. Re-post or re-tweet. Like other people’s posts. Comment on other people’s posts. Use your audience to ask for advice and get a conversation started based on the replies you get.
- Use variety – post videos, link to your own blog, share infographics, link to podcasts that you find interesting, or share office-appropriate memes. Avoid just posting article after article and create a diverse feed that your followers will appreciate and enjoy coming back to.
- Don’t make it all about you – Sharing your own work and linking back to your company’s website is a great practice to put into place, but use it sparingly, or you'll come across as too salesy and too predictable, meaning your users will either unfollow you or gloss over your feed.
- Lighten up a little – While your social media account should be used primarily to promote your industry and showcase your strengths as a thought leader, each channel offers an opportunity for showing your more personable side though jokes, thoughts about life as a recruiter, or try adding pop culture into your posts.
Mesh your social strategy with that of your firm, or work with your CEO in fine-tuning a social media plan that your whole team can follow if you don’t already have one in place. If you’re passionate and skilled in social media, you might be the one to spearhead getting other recruiters on board and working with the CEO to develop company-wide best practices.
3. Live by a Content Calendar
You're only as good as your last blog post. Or your most recent tweet, article share, or newsletter.
The meaning? Content isn’t just a “nice to have” item in your personal branding strategy; it is your personal branding strategy. Content creates credibility.
Come up with your own regular content, like a writer might have a column online. Use social media as your sounding board. Not a writer? Post links and ask questions of your audience. Say something, no matter what your medium or platform is. Whatever you create, ask yourself how you can share it in as many ways as possible to get the most value from your efforts.
If you’re silent, you’re not part of the conversation and will quickly be overlooked in favor or competitors with a stronger voice.
In other words – make content a top priority instead of just putting it out there at random intervals. Create a strategy focused on your audience, build a calendar of what you’ll post and when, and commit to it. Your firm might have a content procedure in place, or you might create your own – either way, content marketing is not an optional practice when it comes to personal branding.
4. Get Out of the Office
Sitting behind a desk is a necessity sometimes, but it doesn’t do much to facilitate developing your brand.
A better use of your time is spent at conferences, meetups, attending training or certification courses, or at a class for a skill that your firm supports, like public speaking. You can also “get out” digitally, through attending webinars, vlogs, or attending live industry events online.
If you don’t put yourself out there, no one will know you exist. Become the face behind your name by putting in some quality time spent away from your desk. Create a personal benchmark or develop one with the help of your CEO – a plan to get out into the marketplace one a week, once per month, or every quarter.
5. Foster Connections
A strong recruiter’s connections are more than a list of candidates or favorite clients. Your connections are your “tribe” – the people you work with, collaborate with, and share core values with.
The way to establish meaningful connections with the people who are important to you is by reaching out. Emails, coffee meetings, personalized content, or tagged social media posts are all great ways of interacting and touching base.
The same strategies applies digitally. Make a point to touch base with your connections in other cities, or people that you “know” through social media. Even if you’ve never met in person, these people can be powerful players in your network.
Reaching out always feels more genuine to the recipient when you’re just touching base and not asking something.
6. Offer Something Specialized
It’s not enough to just have a carefully crafted niche that you’re an expert in – working with you also needs to be a specialized experience too.
Build your brand by finding ways to create a unique experience that candidates get from working with you, so you can stand apart from other recruiters, think outside the box, and convey your message and values through everything you do.
Whether you bring extra research and analytics to the table or you can establish yourself as a thought-leader who can draw killer brainstorming sessions out of meeting attendees, use your personal skills and strengths to your advantage in finding your unique voice.
Find what you can make unique about your interactions with clients and candidates, like always being able to provide interesting reference articles or being so well connected that you can share new contacts and introduce anyone in your local industry.
7. Be Genuine
No matter how much you love what the next guy at your competitor's firm is doing, he's not you. Personal branding only works if it's authentic. Trying to be something you're not is fooling no one and undercuts your voice in the market.
Focus on fewer connections and those that are genuine. Being real and having meaningful connections is worth far more than an endless roster or phony interactions.
Candidates and clients can tell within seconds if someone isn't real. Acting fake to get ahead is actually a way to get left behind in an industry that's all about connecting.
8. Perform Routine Maintenance on Your Contacts
Networking isn't a connect and forget game. Your goal should never be to gather as many contacts as you can just for the sake of it.
Instead, connect with successful placements and new candidates on a regular basis. Get a sense of who’s doing what and where they’re going.
You never know where your next candidate will come from, so keeping yourself in contact with as many people as you can broadens the possibilities.
Reaching out with an email or even a mention on Twitter goes a long way in staying connected.
When you regularly interact, even as an online touch, you're creating a tight circle of successful contacts who know exactly what you and your personal brand are all about.
9. Give Back
As you know, there’s more to a recruiter than just the placements they make. With the support of your firm, add some community service to your personal branding process, in a way that genuinely interests you.
In keeping with your role as a recruiter, look at what outreach opportunities there are for mentoring young HR professionals, offering pro bono consulting for underprivileged job seekers, or offering resume training for high school students.
With even just a small portion of your time and resources going back into the business community, you’ll create a habit of demonstrating your values through your actions which can transfer into just about anything else you do. Work with your CEO to facilitate these opportunities for you and the fellow recruiters at your firm.
Giving back plays a big role in the concept discussed earlier: showcasing the best version of yourself. Community involvement enhances the way others will see you and impacts the role you play in the industry.
You might be thinking that this all sounds like a lot more effort than just focusing on matching candidate and clients, and you’re right.
Much of personal branding happens when you make a conscious effort to establish yourself in the industry, and this can take work, but a lot of the process also occurs naturally.
Set up these systems then keep everything up to date as a regular habit so your efforts aren’t wasted.
If you practice putting personal branding into play every day, there will be no difference between you and your brand, and it will become an effortless extension of yourself.
When you can identify who you are at your core and showcase that in everything you do and all the connections you have, you’re succeeding at building your brand.
It may be tempting just to sit the process out, but the landscape of recruiting has changed dramatically and will continue to do so. Standards of excellence continue to grow within the industry, and if you’re not part of that growth, you’ll find yourself left behind.
Combining your personal brand with Tracker RMS sets you up as an industry powerhouse, operating within your firm to create a unique presence and meaningful connections between candidates and clients.
Reach out online to learn more about Tracker RMS’ recruitment agency software and how it can change the face of how your recruiting business operates.
Whether you are the CEO or a member of the recruitment team, the opportunity for branding is always present, and so it the chance to transform the way you and your firm convey your position in the industry.