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Dec 29, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Here at ADP we talk a lot about one’s professional brand. When we discuss our brand, it is usually in the context of an associate of ADP going for a role internally and growing their career. Branding as a concept is something that is also accounted for on balance sheets in some company’s annual reports. It may not be tangible, but even accountants realize its value to the organizations they serve. A brand is so powerful it can open doors, create conversations, and push the ball forward. It can create multi-million, multi-billion dollar deals such that it can transform entire industries.

In my last article, I introduced how sourcing can disrupt an industry. The power behind your sourcing brand is the engine that makes that possible. I want to outline five ways that you can build your understand brand.

  1. Follow-Up and Follow Through: In a people orientated business function like ours, your ability to follow-up and follow through with candidates is paramount. It can be difficult to close the loop with every candidate or to give them perhaps a call about appropriate next steps. A high touch, high customer service, white glove approach to your candidate interactions today will make more of a difference than at any other time in the history of recruiting. I’ll go into some further detail below about some other areas of managing the brand. If I can stress just one thing, keep your promises. Be the type of sourcer & recruiter that people enjoy. Treat candidates with respect. Get them pertinent information and give candidates what they want most in this day and age, the human touch they want. Even closing the loop with your “silver medalist” candidates and those who interviewed and didn’t get the job, is pertinent. Word of mouth does travel quickly.  Glassdoor can be searched and is searchable by candidates. Do your part to ensure that the contributing ratings from those candidates you work with a show a resounding success story. A sourcer is just as responsible for the follow-up with candidates as their recruiters are and for that matter the outcome of their company’s Glassdoor ratings. In fact, your human touch is so powerful in this electronic world of ours, which this very act of closing the loop adds tremendous value.
  2. Messaging & Knowledge About Your Jobs Are Key: Know your positions backward and forwards. Consider the messaging you are putting out. Make sure you have gathered enough information from your intake session, pulled out the relevant information, the carrot, and the key criteria to “sell” your jobs. Make your message is personable, make it enjoyable. A little bit of digging about candidate’s interests and shared values, hobbies, articles, etc. can be the key to getting that coveted response. The brevity of your message, focusing on the areas that interest the candidate all are powerful branding points. A “what’s in it for me” focus on your candidate’s hot button issues are important as well in that message. Personas, again, identify common characteristics about your talent pool that you are targeting are vital. If your company doesn’t have a systematic approach to developing talent personas, don’t worry, but do make every effort to maximize your plan, and build long-term messaging strategy into your personal branding efforts.
  3. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Presenting/Networking at Professional Associations and Communities/Events: One thing many sourcers and recruiters are not doing is getting a strategic jump start on the competition by seeking out key leaders in professional associations and networking there-in. A nonintimidating approach is reaching out via email and ask for the time to introduce yourself and the organization you serve by pivoting your shared interests with a professional association. Advancing career interests of candidates, you are working with can be a powerful way to be seen as the “go-to” for career advice and career interests. Paul DeBettignies is a great modern day example of building common ground with professional associations. He gave a unique presentation at SourceCon Fall 2016 about doing just that. My favorite quote that I remember was “Get off Your Butt and Meet People.” He is in the news often in his local community being seen as the “career guru” that he is. He works hard at promoting his brand by attending startup events, user conferences, and other professional industry networking opportunities. He also adds value, teaching about what we in staffing look for, how candidates can present themselves and so much more. Consider that speaking at events, and being present out in the industry gives you street credibility.
  4. Content is King: Are you following thought leaders of the industries you serve on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.? Are you sharing information about business trends, items of interest to your candidate pools? You will build a following of interested candidates, and when the time comes when they are ready to speak with you, the value add to their interests will open the doors for you for the long-term passive candidate conversations that you are seeking. Recruiters and sourcers can add enormous value by helping post digital content that is relevant, interesting, and gets your candidates and followers excited. Don’t just share recruiting content. Start sharing articles that may interest your pool of candidates, and watch as they start following, liking, and soon asking you about your open roles. Content is King.
  5. People are not Widgets/Candidate Experience Matters: With all the talk of AI in recruiting, sourcers must rely heavily on social channels to do our jobs. I want to stress the value of an old, tried and true method of recruiting, making a phone call. Yes, the phone is a sourcer’s and recruiter’s best friend! If you can prove your value as a human and build trust, then you can show more value add than an artificial intelligence-centric robot. While technical channels make our lives easier in getting in touch with a candidate, the phone and it’s old trusty networking component is still the best way to build a brand. Your enthusiasm, your passion for your work, your passion for the job you recruit for, is best shared over the phone, person to person. People are not widgets, or an object, or a machine. You want to have a personal touch. You want them to have a GREAT candidate experience with a VIP feel. In short, roll out the red-carpet. Providing a candidate with a first class experience is an important aspect of the function of building a brand. Find what matters most in the careers of the individuals you recruit, remember that taking on a new job is next to having a baby, buying a house, and getting married. It is a stressful matter for some people to talk about a new role, where they may be comfortable, but just don’t know it yet. You have to understand your value proposition for the people that you are recruiting. Make the candidate experience enjoyable.

In Conclusion:  It’s time to get more personal again by making recruiting and sourcing again. Your worth is so much more than the job you are presenting. You have shared values, common interests, and other avenues that can help you relate to your candidate pool. Today, candidate experience and your brand in recruiting and sourcing are now more vital than ever in winning over a candidate. Do all you can to relate to your candidates, get out in front of your candidate pools in person, and it digitally. Invest every effort to building a winning brand that helps you provide a more valuable and personal candidate experience.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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