If there’s one phrase that makes a lot of us roll our eyes, it’s when someone says, “I’m building my personal brand.” To some, it sounds like a narcissistic activity only social media-loving millennials would ever utter. But to others, it’s an integral part of their personal and/or career growth.
This rings especially true for people in the HR and recruiting space – after all, your job revolves around working with other people. Your personal brand is the image and impression that others attribute to you. What three words would people use to describe you? What traits of yours set you apart from others? What is your reputation within your industry or social circle?
Having a great personal brand can set you apart from the droves of other recruiters who are all vying for the same technical talent. A developer is much more likely to respond to a recruiter who has a good track record of being friendly vs. someone who spams them and all their friends on LinkedIn. And in an industry where the developers have the power to choose their next job, this is crucial.
If you’re now convinced that personal branding as a tech recruiter seems at least a little important, here are a few tips to get started.
I’m not telling you to put yourself through a coding boot camp or to introduce yourself to every developer at an upcoming hackathon – those are a bit extreme. Instead, try to understand the industry your candidates work in, the new trends appearing, and the common problems developers are facing. Next time a developer at your company is attending a conference, ask if you can tag along. Leave a comment on another company’s latest engineering blog post. Talk to your company’s current developers and ask them questions. These activities not only make you more informed but also present you with the opportunity to network genuinely with the world of technology.
I know what you’re thinking, “How can a tech recruiter have a niche? Our job requires us to hire all sorts of developers based on the business’s needs.” While that’s true, you can still find your “sweet spot.” Maybe you have a knack for hiring Mobile Developers since you spent five years in your previous role working for a fitness app. Or perhaps you have a knack for writing compelling subject lines that result in an above-average open rate. It’s all about finding what makes you unique and highlighting that in your interactions as a recruiter.
When a recruiter reaches out to me, one of the first things I do is Google their name. A recruiter who has a measly online presence or, even worse, a negative online image will turn me off from talking to them. To be clear, you don’t need to have 10,000 Twitter followers or 100 LinkedIn recommendations, but you should have some type of presence.
This can be as simple as retweeting recruiting thought leaders on Twitter, or something a bit more time-consuming like writing a monthly blog post about what you’ve learned as a tech recruiter. These platforms allow you to showcase your expertise and ultimately lend you more credibility than those who have no online footprint.