Personal branding is something that recruiters are often asked about, but many don't know what it is or how to get started.
Personal branding for recruiters is about becoming a known entity within your industry. And it’s about creating a consistent persona across all your different platforms, so your audience knows what to expect from you.
One of the key ways you can improve your personal brand is by creating content that builds trust with people who are interested in what you have to say.
Building a strong personal brand is extremely important for recruiters
I’m not saying you must build a strong personal brand if you want to be successful in recruitment. But your life will be much easier if you do.
Personal branding reflects who you are and what you stand for. It can therefore help recruiters form relationships with candidates, which ultimately lead to more placements.
A successful personal branding strategy should be consistent across all platforms, including social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter, your company blog, guest blogging and media opportunities, and speaking at events. Candidates (and clients) look at these different channels when deciding whether or not they want to work with someone—so make sure the way you present yourself is both professional and up-to-date.
Video content should be included in your social strategy
Video content is a fantastic tool for recruiters to demonstrate your expertise. I would encourage you to share videos that show off your personality and help people understand your specific sector knowledge. When it comes down to it, people want to work with people they like—as the saying goes, ‘people don’t buy from businesses, they buy from people’, and it holds just as true when it comes to recruitment.
There are many ways video content can be used as part of a personal branding strategy; one simple way is by sharing talking head videos on your LinkedIn page or other social platforms (like Instagram).
It's all about authenticity
When you're building your personal brand, it's tempting to try and be someone else. You want to be the person who has all of the answers and makes people feel good about themselves. You want to make people think that they are lucky to know you, but the truth is that if you try to be anyone other than yourself—it won't work.
People don't want someone who is perfect or knows everything. They want real human beings who are struggling with things in their lives just like everyone else. Being authentic will help you become a better recruiter because it allows both clients and candidates to connect with your personality (and experience) more easily when they meet in person or speak on the phone for an interview.
When we try too hard at anything (including networking), we come across as being fake or disingenuous — not exactly great qualities for recruiters to portray! Building a network of connections comes more easily when people feel like they already know you, and that their expectations in person match what they’ve seen online.
Keep your online persona consistent
There are three things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to consistency:
- First, as I mentioned above, make sure your online persona is consistent with your offline persona. No one wants to work with someone who has different personalities depending on whether they’re in front of them or behind their computer screen.
- Second, make sure that your online persona is consistent with your brand. If you have a blog and a Twitter account that talk about completely different things, people won’t know what to believe about who you are and what you stand for.
- Finally, make sure that everything you put out reflects the values of your recruitment agency as well as your own – if the two are opposed there’s an instant disconnect.
A strong personal brand can help you engage with candidates and clients
The first step to building a strong personal brand is to identify your own unique qualities. Your colleagues may see you as a great person, but they don't need to share their thoughts with the world. Instead, think about how you want others (your candidates and clients) to perceive you.
How do you want others to feel when interacting with your personal brand? What emotions trigger those feelings for them: excitement, trustworthiness or respectfulness? How can you connect these feelings with something that makes you memorable?
Creating valuable content will build trust with your audience
Your audience is looking for two things:
- Invaluable content that's useful, helpful, informative, entertaining and engaging.
- Consistency in the quality of your work.
Be helpful - comment, share and engage with others' posts
You should also be helpful. Comment on other people's posts and share their content. Engage with them on social media. A comment or a retweet is a great way to start a relationship with a potential client or candidate, but it also helps to build your brand as an expert in your field.
Don’t just engage with your target audience. Engaging with other influencers within the recruitment industry helps get you in front of their audience as well – increasing your reach.
Optimise your LinkedIn profile so it stands out from the crowd
Your LinkedIn profile is your calling card in recruitment. It’s important to make sure it stands out from the crowd and presents you as a professional, and an expert. Here are some easy ways you can make your profile stand out:
- Use a professional photo: The main profile picture on your LinkedIn page should be taken in a formal setting, with good lighting and no distractions in the background. If possible, choose an image where you are looking directly at the camera so we get a sense of what your eyes look like.
- Better yet turn on creator mode: This gives you access to sharing a video intro instead of just a static image, and allows you to list your services.
- Make sure it’s up to date: If any aspects of your current job or recent achievements have changed since you last updated them, now is the time to do so.
- Think SEO not CV: Use key search terms in your profile. And explain what you do and who you do it for on your profile rather than listing your responsibilities.
(For more tips on this, download our workbook: 10 steps for recruiters to establish a strong LinkedIn profile.)
Personal branding doesn't just happen by accident
It's not enough to have a few random blog posts and tweets scattered around the internet. Personal branding is about creating an image for yourself (in both your offline and online presence) that tells people who you are as a professional. That image should be consistent and authentic, so you'll need to be deliberate in how you present yourself online.
That means putting some thought into how your social media accounts look and feel, but it also means being consistent in what you say (your messaging), how you communicate that message (tone of voice), and even what platforms you use (Facebook versus LinkedIn. Global Recruiter versus City A.M. etc.). The key thing here is that personal branding requires time and effort—it doesn't just happen by accident.
Personal branding is an important part of your career as a recruiter and it's worth investing time in. You can build your personal brand in many different ways, but you need to ensure that everything you do is consistent with your values and mission statement so that people know what they are getting from you when they engage with you online or in person. The gold standard in personal brands is one that ties in with your overall agency recruiter branding.
Author: Stephanie King, Managing Director, BlueSky PR
With over fifteen years’ experience in marketing and PR, Steph is a regular speaker at recruitment industry events and webinars. Steph and her team formulate and execute media relations, content and social media strategies for recruitment agencies, suppliers to the industry and talent management companies, working with recognised names including The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and AMS (formerly Alexander Mann Solutions).