Regardless of age, position, and the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are bosses of our own companies: Me Inc.
To be in business today, our most important daily assignment is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
Through your daily actions or lack of it you are always adding building blocks that strengthen the “You brand”. The key performance indicator of this responsibility will be the reputation of “You” that is known out there in the career universe.
Your personal brand as a job seeker did not come into being when you became cognizant of the concept. Instead it has been in existence for as long as you have been alive. The brand has only been thrust to the limelight by your awareness and the technological and social environment.
We live in a generation where every engagement we have with technology leaves what I call a “brand print”. This print helps the world to form opinions about us. Your imprint talks of your values and passions. This makes it possible for employers to know what your personal brand is and make the call on whether you are the jig they need to fit into their organization puzzle or not.
The worst career nightmare that could happen to both a job candidate and the employer is when the two get into a working agreement only to realize they are not in sync in matters brand. There will be a consistent clash of values and decisions.
In order to understand a job candidate’s personal brand prior to making the hiring decision, employers always look into the following four critical areas throughout the job interview process:
Employers will check out for shared principles and values such as integrity and passion. This is achieved during face to face job interviews by asking job candidates to demonstrate where these values have been prominent in their current or previous lives and workplace roles.
In any action a candidate takes and in everything they say, the employers are always assessing their brand value.
Employers are interested in the past of any job candidate. They will look into a candidates’ entire work experience to try and figure out what kind of employee you would be to them on the basis of your past.
The nature of organization (s) you have worked for previously point to the type and strength of brand you are as a job seeker.
Having worked for a direct competitor speaks volumes of your personal brand since most competitors hold near similar values and practices. This is the reason why most employees within the “Big Four” find it “easy” to secure jobs within that work space. If one had a great history in PwC, then it is highly likely that they could be a great fit in Deloitte.
The commercial value of the candidate’s professional and personal expertise is very important to an employer in determining the job seekers personal brand and also when making the final hiring decision.
3. The person:
Throughout your job search interaction and besides all that you verbally share during the face to face interview, the employer will intuitively be listening and looking for the unspoken qualities that present you (or not) as a great fit.
The employer will be mentally reconciling your brand to the organizations’ brand DNA. This will be determined by your “Person”. The “who” you are without your words and how you present yourself in the eyes of the potential employer.
The big question the employer will be asking is whether they can take the risk to rely on you as a brand ambassador for the organization.
You may look like a perfect fit today but where does the employer see you as representative of their brand in the future?
A brand is ever evolving and so do you represent where the employer is heading on its journey of brand evolution?
What does your personal brand speak of the future in as much as it fits with today’s values of the potential employer?
What levels and characteristics of resilience and adaptability does your personal brand portray?
Does your personal brand demonstrate any future growth plans and strategy in line with your current skill set and passion?
In order to receive that eagerly awaited call from the employer congratulating you for successful interviews and welcoming you to join the organization, you must make sure that you have a unique and fitting personal brand that will appeal to the organization. Positively portray who you are, what you do and what you want.
A unique personal brand differentiates you from your competition and makes you stand out.