August 8, 2016
Branding is usually a marketer’s wheelhouse. Nearly every aspect of the marketing process is closely associated with developing and executing brand values. Thus, most marketing directors look primarily for new hires who understand how to build a strong personal brand.
However, personal branding isn’t a tool just for marketers. Every sector of business can benefit by investigating a potential employee’s past through his or her personal brand, and every job seeker stands to gain by creating a personal brand that works.
The first step for both sides is to understand why personal brands are useful and how they can take advantage of them during the job hunt.
Why Personal Branding Is So Effective for Hiring
Traditional hiring tools ― the resume, the cover letter, the interview ― are woefully inadequate at capturing a job applicant’s true value. Strategies that utilize these tools rarely succeed at finding the best person for the job for a variety of reasons.
Written applications are particularly useless during the hiring process. On average, a hiring manager will spend six seconds reviewing a resume and cover letter, and few hiring managers sift through more than 10 applications, even if their submissions number well beyond that. Perhaps contributing to this lack of attention is the fact that almost half of job applicants lie on their resumes in attempts to seem more suitable for the position.
To compensate for this, most companies force prospective employees to endure an interview process. It’s easy to guess why: In-person discussion seems to provide people better insight into an applicant’s personality, values, and je-ne-sais-quoi that will reveal for certain if that applicant is right for the job. Unfortunately, unstructured interviews are incredibly flawed because they rely on the interviewer’s insight and the interviewee’s spur-of-the-moment reactions to tease out the perfect worker.
Personal branding allows an applicant to effectively convey his or her experience and employability without the colorlessness of written applications or the biases of interviews. Therefore, by relying on applicants’ personal brands, businesses can efficiently find the best candidate.
To prove this, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Toyota, and Sgt. Dakota Meyer collaborated to create the Hiring Our Heroes Personal Branding Engine, which helps military members translate their history and experience into a personal brand that employers will value. Without this tool, most military veterans struggled to find employment because their service records were difficult for laypeople to understand, but a personal brand is an effective tool to place excellent workers in appropriate positions.
What Employers Should Look for Within Personal Brands
Because personal branding is relatively new, applicants who work to build their personal brands stand out and are obviously more valuable than others. However, as personal branding becomes a standard job seeking practice, employers will need to understand what aspects of a personal brand are useful in finding the perfect employees.
As with corporate branding, the most important element in a personal brand is the brand statement. Applicants should be able to describe themselves and their career goals while capturing their character. While reading these statements, employers should search for keywords that are relevant to the position in particular and the industry in general. In ideal statements, applicants should display consistency, creativity, and memorability. The applicants whose statements stick with hiring managers are likely good candidates.
Conversely, there are a few trends developing within personal brands that employers might prefer to ignore. Photos of applicants might seem impressive, but they can inspire latent biases similar to those that flaw interviews. Additionally, attractive graphics on websites or other branded materials can show professionalism and attention to detail, but they might also distract employers from the true content of the brand. These elements should be considered, but they shouldn’t make or break a hiring decision.
How Employers Can Encourage Personal Brands
A workforce built from remarkable personal brands is impressive in itself and might help companies gain prominence in their industries. Therefore, it behooves employers to encourage their current workers to start branding.
Workers who wish to develop a personal brand have a long road ahead, so it helps to have an employer that acknowledges the importance of maintaining a personal brand and offers resources to help its employees create a successful one. Providing access to branding experts, tools for offline and online design, and feedback on brand materials and statements will help encourage workers to embrace the new era of personal branding.
Cher Zavala is a content co-ordinator who assists in contributing quality articles on various topics. In her free time she also enjoys hiking, traveling and getting to know the world around her. Cher has built up many strong relationships over the years within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others.