6 steps to building your personal brand in recruitment

By Matt Goldrick

This is my first foray into blogging. It’s taken me a while – I’ve worked at Carrot Pharma for the best part of eight years. I started here as a fresh-faced Business graduate, eager to soak up as much information as I could but admittedly, oblivious to what my personal brand was and how it could shape my career. I might not be quite as fresh faced now, but I’d like to think I’ve learnt a bit about recruitment – and myself – along the way.

What was unequivocally obvious from day one when recruiting into a niche industry (like pharma) was the importance of your own ‘network’. That is, your very own list of contacts (who could be candidates and / or clients at some point) who you know, who know you, and who you can call without fear of being hung up on. Sounds pretty straightforward. Over time it stands to reason that through this network you’ll secure some roles to work on, and you’ll get to know candidates suitable for these. What’s more, you’ll have built relationships allowing you to provide a consultative service – you can provide more than just a CV to your clients because you actually know the candidates you’re advocating.

But here’s the catch:

Everyone is trying to do this.

Every recruiter is regurgitating the same rhetoric – that they have the best clients, the best candidates, the best website, the best software, access to every job board known to man, the best employees etc etc. Whilst this obviously isn’t true, it can be difficult to decipher who you should believe because tangibly, recruitment companies all operate in quite a similar way. Google a few recruitment companies and read the ‘about us’ sections – all pretty similar right? As recruiters we don’t have a shiny new product to show off or a new app that’s going to revolutionise a certain aspect of your life.

So how do you go about growing your own network, keeping people engaged and ensuring your stand out from the crowd? The answer – your personal brand.

Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others. We all have a personal brand – whether we’re aware of it or not. From your LinkedIn picture to the way you sign off emails – people will form an opinion on everything you do. This gives you countless opportunities to influence your personal brand and a well-crafted one can help you gain a competitive edge. There are no hard and fast rules when creating a personal brand (it is personal after all) but if you’ve read this far, I thought I’d share my two-penneth.

  1. Be active on social media (particularly LinkedIn)

It serves as a personal branding platform in the corporate world. Promote yourself and interact with other people so you become more visible. Being active on social media really helps with widening your reach.  Google your SSI (Social Selling Index) LinkedIn score to find out how effectively you portray your professional brand, build relationships and find the right people.

2. Start blogging!

So, I’m a few years late with this one…but having a voice is really important and blogging (along with social media) presents a really good way to do this. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field and showcase a bit of your personality at the same time.

3. Mix up your communication

Tell a story. Impersonal cold calls or emails are a real turnoff. You also don’t need to write like you’re in a GCSE English exam but equally, text speak probably won’t work all that well either. Try not to overthink your communication and it should sound more authentic.

4. Be consistent and build your knowledge

Personal branding isn’t just about stuff you write yourself. You need to be consistently engaging with other people and other content that is relevant to the audience you’re trying to appeal to. Dilute your engagement too much and your network won’t be as relevant as you’d like it to be. Attend the right sort of industry events. Meet the right sort of people.

5. Build trust

A pretty obvious one, but always be honest. There’s no point selling a lie – you’ll just get found out in the long run. No job is perfect and no candidate is perfect, so try not to pretend that they are. Be honest and do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. Simple.

6. Be genuine

Probably the most important point – but to build authentic relationships you need to be yourself. That applies to face to face meetings, email communication, LinkedIn posts, everything. People buy from people (corny saying but true for recruitment) and the only way you’ll foster strong relationships is to be yourself. A candidate’s relationship with an individual recruiter may often transcend any company loyalty they may have. This is true for clients too and when you build connections with individual hiring managers, they can form part of a network that really lasts. 

I could go on, but you get the picture. Your personal brand never stops evolving and is crucial for people in every industry, whether you’re job hunting or not. So, if you haven’t already, give it some thought, update your online profiles and start blogging!