For a recruiter in today’s historically tight talent market, your personal brand carries extraordinary weight.
When a candidate googles you, what do they see? When a prospective client is comparing recruiters who can handle their tough-to-fill roles, what information are they finding about you? All of that constitutes your personal brand, and it can make or break you as a recruiter.
Here are the six pillars of your personal brand — and some advice on how to optimize them:
1. Your Social Media Profiles
A recruiter’s social media profiles paints a picture of who they are and what they can bring to the table. What you post, the groups with which you associate, and who your connections are all tell clients and candidates a lot of valuable information about you.
While many people think LinkedIn is the only social media site that matters in business, this is simply not true. Clients and candidates will look at whatever comes up when they google you — and that includes your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. If those profiles are political, divisive, and not in line with their values, they may take note and walk away. By the same token, if a candidate or client finds you attended their alma mater, root for the same sports team, or have a friend in common, they may be positively influenced to use your services.
In short: Be aware of what you are putting online at all times in all forums. People do check.
2. Your Ratings
The first things many clients and candidates will look for when considering you are your ratings and reviews on Glassdoor, Google, Indeed, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other sites where people can leave feedback about you. This feedback is crucial, so don’t be afraid to ask existing clients and candidates to review you.
Five-star reviews are wonderful, but how you handle the inevitable bad reviews is just as important to your brand. Make sure you respond to every review, good or bad. If you receive a bad review, let the reviewer know publicly that you are sorry and that you are always open to discussing ways to improve your service. Above all, make sure your response is professional. Everyone will respect that.
3. Your Network
It has been said that your network is your net worth. This expression couldn’t be truer than it is in the recruiting industry, where business is won and positions are filled based in large part on referrals.
Your online profiles show candidates and clients the people you know. It is crucial your network leaves a good impression. If you are just starting out in the field, take active steps to build your online network. Get everyone you know personally to like, follow, friend, and add you on various platforms.
Become active in relevant networking associations such as your local chamber of commerce, industry groups, business networks, young professionals’ networks, women’s networking groups, and so on. Hand out your business card to everyone you meet, and be sure to add new contacts to your LinkedIn network right away.
4. Your Recruiting Specialty
The vast majority of the placements made by recruiters are made by specialty recruiters who focus on a particular industry or market segment. These recruiters have an advantage over generalists because they understand the nuances of a given segment and are thus better able to source perfect-fit candidates. Most importantly, specialist recruiters build networks of people they can tap into at a moment’s notice whenever a new role opens up in the field.
Having and working a well-defined specialty allows you to drive value for candidates and clients alike, and it also contributes to the rapid expansion of your own professional network. When you provide excellent service to talent in a specific industry segment, those candidates will recommend you to their colleagues. Eventually, the people you place will move into higher-level roles and will need to hire talent of their own. You will be the first person they call when that happens.
As silly as they may seem to some, inspirational quotes and content are a big hit for many people on the internet. People like to be uplifted by reminders that they can reach their goals, have better lives, and land their dream jobs. You should be that positive force. Not only will it win you fans who can become clients and candidates, but your content will also be shared by your followers, in turn attracting even more people to your network.
Some recruiters give the field a bad name. They harass people and undercut colleagues. They don’t have the candidate’s best interests in mind, only their commission fee.
Don’t be that recruiter. It will not help you grow your personal brand or reputation.
Instead, being transparent and honest with both employers and talent will go a long way in building your personal reputation. Integrity is what leads to the positive ratings on social media and the exponential growth of your network. Act with integrity in everything you do. It will pay off in the long run.
Geri Duncombe is the marketing director at Goodwin Recruiting.