January 25, 2016

6 Personal Branding Tips for Hiring Managers

We’ve all heard it before: Personal branding is key to job search success. Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for information about candidates online, and when they can't, they are less likely going to select those candidates for a job opportunity. But did you know job candidates are searching you the same way you are searching them? Perspective applicants, as well as candidates currently in your hiring process, are researching your company and employees to help decide whether to apply for or accept a job at your organization.

When hiring managers are more visible, whether that's speaking at conferences, maintaining a social media presence, or blogging online, it can dramatically increase the chances of landing that top candidate and attract quality applicants to your company. The fact is, candidates want to learn more about who their potential boss might be just as much as they want to know about them. They want to know if they’d be a great manager to work for, what they could learn from them, if the team culture is a good fit, and if they’ll get to work on projects that align with their career goals and interests, just to name a few.

That’s why it’s extremely important for hiring managers to work on and maintain their personal brand because it can make or break a job offer to a top candidate and help attract the right talent to begin with, not to mention build your company's employer brand in the process! Here are four more reasons why hiring managers need to build a strong personal brand, and how you can get started:

1. Influence Applicant Decisions
Job applicants are researching companies online as they would with any other purchasing decisions, and they have more information about your company than ever before. A recent employment brand survey from CEB shows that 80% of job candidates’ decisions to apply are influenced by sources outside of a company, such as social media, peer to peer and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Research has also shown that brand content and messages shared by employees gets 8 times more engagement and 561% more reach compared to a company’s official brand channels. By improving their personal brand, hiring managers can become powerful storytellers and brand advocates for their company, helping to attract and recruit the right people to their teams.

2. Build Trust
“People don’t quit jobs, they quit their managers” is not a myth. A recent study by Gallup found that nearly half of U.S. employees surveyed have left a job at some point in their career because of their managers.

Similarly, Leigh Branham, the author of The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, analyzed over 20,000 post-exit surveys and found that the number one reason employees leave is loss of trust and confidence in their leaders. The second reason is lack of recognition or reward and feeling undervalued.

Job candidates want to know their future managers are someone who they can trust, someone who will recognize their positive contributions and help them grow professionally, and won’t throw them under the bus when things get tough.

Hiring managers who regularly share information about themselves, their company and the great things their teams are doing will help candidates learn more about what it’s really like working with them and their teams, and if the hiring managers are strong role models they can learn from and work for.

3. Nurture Potential Leads
According to LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Talent Trends report, 70% of the global workforce is passive talent, meaning these people are not actively looking for new career opportunities. But just because they are not ready or actively looking for a job right now doesn’t mean they won’t be in a few weeks or months down the road.

To get their attention now, you need to proactively reach out, engage with potential leads, and work to build your credibility and trust. Job change is a big life decision to make, and candidates will only consider companies and people they know and trust. This responsibility to build trust and attract candidates shouldn't fall on the recruiter alone, hiring managers should partner closely on helping to attract great candidates.

That’s why a strong personal brand will give you an edge over other hiring managers when competing for the same talent. High visibility of your personal brand increases credibility and earns candidates’ trust, so they will be more willing to connect with you and maintain the relationship. And when the time is right, you’ll be the first person they contact.

4. Strengthen Employer Brand
By sharing your personal stories and insights on what it’s like working at your company, you are helping your organization build an authentic and compelling employer brand. Research has shown that companies with a strong employer brand enjoy 54% higher-quality applicant pools, 22% higher-quality shortlists, and 9% higher-quality hires.

Not only is a strong personal brand great for your job and career goals, but it will also help you make better, faster hires for your team and company. It’s a win-win opportunity for companies and hiring managers. 

Now that we have you all pumped up, how and where do you get started? Here are six quick ways to start building and improving your personal brand today:    

1. Complete Your LinkedIn Profile
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and up-to-date. Give potential candidates what they need to know about you, your professional background and current role. Your LinkedIn profile is more than just your online resume, it's a great marketing tool for attracting talent to work for you.

To help candidates learn more about your company and culture, make sure your LinkedIn profile includes links to the company’s careers site and blog, your personal blog (if you have one) and social media. You want to provide candidates as many ways as you can to connect with you.

You’ll also want to share industry and company-related news regularly, join groups potential candidates are actively using, participate in discussions and offer your insights and advice to group members.

2. Share Your Expertise And Be Helpful
Blog about your industry, company and work on LinkedIn and company blog. You can also become a contributor to blogging communities like Medium or Q&A sites like Quora that your potential candidates frequently use. Offer to share your career stories, experiences and advice to help others with their job search or career planning. Tweet industry-related news, participate in Twitter chats, follow and engage with potential candidates to start nurturing potential leads.

3. Attend Conferences And Events
Attending and speaking at industry-related conferences, meetups and campus events is another great way to network and build connection with potential candidates. It’s also an opportunity to show and share your knowledge in your space or industry, to help attract people who may want to work for you and your company.

4. Be Curious
When you connect with a potential lead, be genuinely interested in learning more about them and their story. Focus your initial conversations on their current role, career journey, motivations and long-term goals. This gives both you and the candidate an opportunity to get to know each other better and determine if they would be a good fit, should new roles open up in the future.

If you think the candidate would be a good fit, explain to them why and share a bit more about your company, team and projects that may align with their interests and motivations. Even if the candidate isn't looking right now, or if you don't have any openings for them, you want them to get excited about the idea of working for you. So when the right time comes, they are ready to join your team.  

5. Follow Up Regularly And Consistently
It’s important to keep candidates in your talent pipeline engaged and interested in your company. Stay up-to-date on their career changes and goals, and offer to share the latest news about your company, projects, and job openings. Reinforce what makes your team and company a good fit for them by connecting your messaging back to their career goals, interests and passions.

6. Be Engaging And Personal In All Your Communications
Whether online or offline, make sure you are taking down notes whenever you talk with candidates so you can reference previous conversations when you reach out. You want all your communications to be as authentic, personalized, and relevant as you can to the candidates you’re speaking with. Taking time to build the relationship and treating candidates with the care, respect and attention they deserve is what will set you apart from other hiring managers and ultimately seal the deal.

What do you think? What other personal branding tips for hiring managers do you have? Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

Need help with training your hiring managers or recruiters with finding, attracting and recruiting top talent? Contact me here and let’s chat about how we can help.

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