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As a recruiter, how do you build your personal brand?

by Max Jones / Tuesday 7th March 2017

Brand You

Have you ever wondered how a supposedly “normal” recruiter can go from being relatively unknown to amassing thousands & thousands of followers across multiple platforms & being one the most influential in this new wave of “social recruiters”? I know I have.

Heck - I have often wondered how anyone, whether they’re a recruiter or a “YouTube Blogger” can go from seemingly zero “reach” to being the one of the most followed individuals on the face of LinkedIn, YouTube or even Twitter – A true ‘zero to hero’ type story!

With the rise of social media & the focus that agencies are, rightfully, putting on the social platforms, the modern 2017 recruiter must start to appreciate that building a personal brand is key. Gone are the days where a candidate’s first impressions of you were simply off the back of the first telephone conversation (or fax correspondence depending on when you joined the wonderful industry!). We live in an exciting period of change where candidates & clients know so much about you (in some cases, too much!) before you even think about approaching them.

With that slightly unsettling fact; it would be naïve of an employed recruiter, or a business owner to that extent, to not realise the value in building a personal brand, alongside a wider company vision.

But how do we “do it”? How does a recruiter, starting an agency in their apartment overlooking Deansgate or in a 4-bedroom house in the Hertfordshire hills, build a personal brand that is not only effective, but topical, influential & in line with their wider company image?

1. No short-term win, but a long-term triumph

As cliché as it sounds - building a personal brand is not something that just happens overnight. & yet there is this perception that when it comes to your personal brand, it’s like a light-switch. Something that can be turned on & off with supposed ease. & I know you know, but that’s just not the case.

Just like going to the gym once, doesn’t make you look like Arnold Sswntaneer or eating one BigMac from MacDonald’s doesn’t make you rival Augustus Gloop for size, one tweet or LinkedIn post won’t make you the next Greg Savage. Aren’t you glad you clicked on this upbeat blog today?  

In order to build an effective social brand, you need to understand that it takes persistence, patience & a ferocious nature. You know the old adage? Repetition is the mother of skill. Well, this is no more applicable than when we think about building our own personal brands.

2. Content is king!

In keeping with our gym analogy; there are only so many press ups you can do before they become redundant & your body gets so used to your 10 sets of 10 reps, that’s it knows exactly how to deal with the demands you are asking of it & you become a stagnant couch potato once again. Trust me, I know (unfortunately!). 

And it’s the same when it comes to building a brand. If you have the privilege of creating a following on social media but you don’t differentiate your content, then they’ll get bored & they’ll get bored very very quickly. Us recruiters are a fickle bunch I know, so if the content you are producing isn’t constantly offering new & improved insights into areas of recruitment, industry & wider society, then you aren’t any different than the next keyboard blogger with 500+ connections.

3. Know your target audience

One of the most important aspects of understanding the logistics behind building your personal brand, is who to market that brand to. You need to know your objective, before you create an action plan to get there.

Let’s take me, for example. My goal is to find experienced recruiters who want to start their own businesses & therefore, as obvious as it sounds, all my content should be nurtured around that end objective. If I were to produce a blog on LinkedIn about the nuances of the new BMW M4, I would be wasting my time because my target audience don’t care. It’s not going to give them any real value in getting to where they want to be, nor is it going to give me any value.

Without understanding who you’re trying to talk to through mapping out the prospects, understanding your industry & appreciating what your audience responds to – then you’re going to be as effective as Rahemmn Sterling is at Manchester City.

4. Invest in value

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever got was from a well-known philanthropist in the US, who said that those who truly succeed in business are those who understand that you simply need to add more value than anyone else in your chosen field. I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s true.

In order to effectively build a personal brand, you need to understand that if you can add real value to your audience, value that precedes anyone else in that space, then you’ll get the traction you need to take your “one man band” on Deansgate, onwards & upwards.

I think making a transition from “what can I get from this” to “what can I give” is important, understanding that the more “real” you are, the more relationships you will build. & when I say “real” I don’t mean being rude or abrupt, but being “you” (but if your nature is to be rude & abrupt, then feel free to run with that & see how you get on!...).

Closing thoughts

This is one of the hardest things that employed recruiters must grapple with in today’s market. The market is demanding that recruiters become “social”, become marketing experts alongside their sourcing accolades.

As a start-up, it is equally as important (if not more!). Here at SSG we appreciate that this might not be at the forefront of an entrepreneur’s mind when they are making the exciting transition from employee to business owner of their brand new recruitment company – however that is not a reason to neglect it’s importance.

If you are going to take anything away from this blog today, it’s to understand that building a personal brand takes commitment & perseverance; & that if you can understand how to add more value to your target audience than anyone else – you’ll get the traction you & your company deserve.