The Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, I attended the Spring recruitDC conference. This was the first conference as a representative for BroadPath Healthcare Solutions for me and was focusing on sourcing tools to forward it to the team, which I did, but there was one dominant theme about the conference and that’s branding.
Personal and Employment Branding was the topic of conversation(s) and there’s many layers to this, but if you have been reading my recruiting/HR posts, I’m not a big believer in employer branding, but I think individuals carry the employer brand in their own way. It’s the talent that carries the company and it’s rare a product is the star (ex. Apple, Chipotle) and that includes recruiting. Let me take my experiences for example.
I was reaching out to candidates, and one of the candidates I connected through sourcing and sent an email (did not had the person’s phone number) about the open position I had. The person responded back mentioning that he would give me a call. A couple days later, we had our call and mention he was not aware about BroadPath, but he went to our website and is very intrigue in our field. He declined the initial interest because he was in a job that he likes, but could be interested down the line.
Another example was a candidate I sourced for an IT position on Linkedin. We connected and I send a message about an internal IT position BroadPath had available. The person message me back that he was not interested in moving to the D.C. area. I clarify with him the position was in Tucson and was confused my profile was listed in the D.C. Metro area, which is correct, but mention to him I was sourcing for BroadPath not only for internal positions in Tucson, but sourcing for healthcare positions nationwide. When that was settled, he was interested and is getting an offer from BroadPath.
That’s why I encourage companies let their employees be themselves and represent them instead being a talking point. There will be a few bad apples, but most employees, in your company, want to be there for various reasons. However, I also know there are some fields that individualism is not encourage like in government and government contracting, where you have to deal with top secret security clearances. In that case, employment branding is important, but that is just one way. There are job fairs and events (like ClearedJobs.Net) for veterans, local ads, but if you want a veteran or a person with top secret security clearance, relate to them. I know the Washington Nationals has tons of ads, events, and perks for veterans. If you (the recruiter) like baseball, then go to the game and meet some veterans there. Restaurants are also a great source since some do have deals for veterans, even free meals on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It’s one thing to source candidates, it’s another to communicate, engage, and possibly relate to them.
I still stand that employment branding is overrated, but individuals (I don’t like the term, “personal branding.” It sounds like you’re choosing a personality someone wants you to be, not yourself.) are underrated as a recruiting tool. Probably that’s the cynic in me, but I look at employment branding vs. individuals similar to the long feud of Jay Leno vs. David Letterman. While Jay Leno won the ratings war by going for easy laughs to the mainstream audience, David Letterman was himself and did not care what you think of him. Both made money for the company and themselves, but the difference is Letterman has a legacy where his brand of comedy is now widespread to the current generation of comedians, while Leno is a footnote in history just by playing the corporate game. For me, I prefer the person who can relate to others than a salesperson. That was the key to David Letterman’s success and the key to recruiting is can you relate to others. That’s true branding.