I meet a lot of recruitment agency directors as part of my role. One of the most common comments I hear, (apart from “I need more recruiters!”) is “how can I get my recruiters to focus on their personal brand?”
Most managers have now moved away from the mind-set that allowing a recruiter to have their own brand is a risk. It obviously is, but if managed properly the rewards far outweigh the risks. For example, we know from our work that if you can get 60% of your recruiters sharing your agency’s marketing material regularly, it can produce results that are equivalent to $2,000 in paid online advertising a month.
So, how do you motivate your recruiters to develop their personal brand?
The answer is to sell the concept to them in familiar terms. Most of us have, at one stage or another, felt the need to lose weight. If you’re remotely like me, you wake up one day and decide that you’re going to start eating healthily and exercising regularly. My motivation generally lasts for around a week then I begin to doubt it’s effectiveness. This is because I’ve lost no obvious weight and I’m missing wine and nice food. Over the next couple of weeks bit by bit I give in until I’m back to my usual habits. I don’t even have to wonder why this has happened, I know the answer, it’s simple: I didn’t see immediate results. Recruiter personal branding is no different, it’s a time game.
Again, using my experience to demonstrate this. In 2014/15 I moved back to New Zealand and set about establishing a new business that needed a strong network in the local and international recruitment industry. You can read about my full experience here, but in short, it took time. After six months, I was at the point where I was really beginning to question if the effort was worth it. Just as I started thinking about giving up, I began to notice positive progress. Suddenly at events I’d regularly bump into people that knew me, my articles were being shared and the first couple of business enquiries were coming through. Move forward to the end of 2015 and we were steadily getting approaches for work, to a point where I no longer had to proactively solicit for new business.
The lessons are that personal branding isn’t hard, it just requires a time investment and once you begin to gain momentum the results can be significant.
From our experience working with a range of agencies across a diverse group of industries, here are some practical tips to get your recruitment team started with personal branding:
Carrot and stick
It’s no good having one without the other. Different recruiters are motivated differently. Carrots can include company wide competitions or awards. One of my favourites is to use the LinkedIn company profile comparison tool. This shows you the top 10 most visible recruiters within your agency. Generally this is based on their activity but the size of their network also plays a part. As for the stick, my favourite is to introduce personal branding as a KPI. Things such as sharing, blogging or getting out to events being introduced as part of their daily duties can be a great tool.Developing a personal branding is not hard, it just requires patience & motivation says @findsouth. Click To Tweet
Without clear direction, personal branding results vary greatly. Training is key; it’s how you can ensure your team is focused on efforts that will return results. We generally advise less socially savvy teams are given a few key activities to focus on to start with. For example, sharing company content, ensuring their profiles are credible and contributing blog ideas. For more advanced teams blog writing, attending or organising events or even public speaking are all great tactics.
Like everything, recruiters need to know what not to do when it comes to personal branding. Otherwise if things go wrong you’ve got no recourse and in really bad scenarios you could find yourself with a PR disaster on your hands.
Often recruiters listen best when the guidance is external; if you’d like assistance with this crucial piece of work please feel free to get in touch. Good luck with your personal branding project.
P.S. I know it’s not easy, I’m still terrible at losing weight!
This article first appeared on The Prominence Blog on September 23th, 2016.