Build Your Brand With Fog-Cutting Data and Smarts

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May 10, 2012

With job growth as a central theme for presidential candidate hopefuls, there is no shortage of employment figures and projections circulating in the media. Yet with all the skillful posturing of our political newsmakers, it remains difficult to gain a clear, unbiased picture of what is really happening in the job market.

With those of us in the employment field sometimes baffled by the fog machines, imagine how most hiring managers feel.

Professional recruiters serve as a primary resource for hiring managers on job market intelligence, which poses a unique opportunity for a recruiter in this environment: That is to fill a void for sound advice, and in turn begin to build your own personal brand as an expert in employment trends. Just as with global brands, a successful personal brand will allow you to command greater notoriety, margins and new business. In other words, beat the competition!

An Arsenal of Labor Market Knowledge

A great way to get started is with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS offers a wealth of information broken down by various industries, geography, and other demographics. The real nuggets of gold are in the sub-trends. For example, most people recall an overall unemployment figure of about 8%, and subsequently assume great talent is waiting in the wings to fill their open positions quickly, and for deal-of-a-price. The reality is that unemployment among college graduates is 4.3%, and depending upon the skill set and market in which you are trying to fill a job, a talent search may take just as long, or be just as competitive as ever.

Many more trends are in play related to women in the workplace, recent college graduates, and Baby Boomers — each with their own unique set of skills, expectations and workplace requirements. Recruiters who package current statistics from BLS and other reliable third-party sources along with your own geographical or industry-specific insights create a powerful platform for thought leadership.

Boosting Your Bottom Line

Starting your own personal blog or Facebook page, contributing to a local magazine or newsletter, and participating in speaking engagements are all great ways to establish credibility, and begin to build your personal brand awareness. Most important, by packaging timely, and relevant employment market advice you can more credibly manage client expectations, protect your margins, and increase client retention and referrals.

Imagine participating in a call to discuss a host of IT positions required, armed with current data on which IT jobs are in most demand, compensation, and other trends specific to your market. How about going into the meeting with the client who never seems to keep a new hire on board for more than six months, with your whitepaper on best practices in on-boarding and retention? Or sharing survey results on the ideal recruitment cycle length with the client who insists on seven screening interviews before the “real” interview?

All of these elements contribute to how efficiently and successfully you can recruit and place qualified candidates, earn referrals from satisfied customers and protect margins — thanks to on-time, on-budget delivery against a set of realistic expectations.

Researching, packaging and delivering your personal knowledge on employment trends can create a powerful personal brand that will serve you well throughout your career and improve your bottom line. It will also help boost the overall recruitment industry’s reputation for providing thoughtful, value-added services to the businesses we support.

Joanie Ruge will keynote the 2012 Fordyce Forum coming up June 7th and 8th in Dallas. Her topic is “Making Sense of the Employment Market,” and  what she thinks you should be doing about it in your own recruiting practice.
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