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Not unlike the importance of working with a company that has a strong employer brand, identifying a recruiter with a strong personal brand is equally as important – and it can ultimately determine your long-term success with that recruiter and the career opportunities you get presented with.

Let’s start with what’s not working anymore, including impersonal corporate speak, and: 

  • Disengaged, misinformed recruiters who don’t understand the jobs they’re recruiting for or who don’t provide feedback or follow-up
  • Mystery recruiters with no social media presence
  • Recruiters who are only after the placement
  • Recruiters who spam their networks with “hot job” alerts and other pushy, self-serving content

By contrast, here’s what is working:

  • Relationship-minded recruiters with long-term intentions
  • Handcrafted messages and targeted outreach
  • Consistent contributions on social media platforms with relevant messaging for the talent market the recruiter specializes in
  • Detailed job descriptions and informed recruiters who understand who and what they’re looking for
  • Accountability and transparency

What to Look for in a Recruiter

Branding builds perception. So, when recruiters appropriately brand themselves, they set expectations for what they can do and who they are. It’s important for their brand to be authentic and, ideally, relatable, especially for the people, like you, that they’re hoping to attract.

  • Branding helps strengthen rapport. Just like speaking with a recruiter over the phone and meeting with them in person creates a meaningful relationship and builds rapport, engagement on social media does something similar. Be sure your recruiter is at least somewhat active on social media. If they’re not active, they’ll need to make it up to you in other ways – like make frequent phone calls to share the latest jobs they’re working on or use email to share tips and other relevant articles.

  • Branding broadens a recruiter’s network for job openings. When your recruiter joins networking groups on platforms like LinkedIn, they are expanding the opportunity to be associated with knowing leading talent in your sector. The more people see a name and associate it with someone knowing top talent in the industry, the more likely they are to remember it and reach out to that recruiter when they need someone talented (like you!).

  • Branding builds consistency. Just like following up over phone and email is important and demonstrates reliability, the same is true when it comes to recruiter branding. Posting regularly on platforms like LinkedIn allows companies and candidates to consistently hear from the recruiter. Their message and the topics they write and share about should (hopefully) be relevant to you, and is another channel of communication for them to get in touch with you on.

  • Branding builds relevancy. Whether a recruiter curates or creates their own thought leadership pieces, the information they share should be informative and interesting to the candidates they work with. Need tips on how to nail an interview as a senior software engineer? Want to know the latest trends in hardware engineering? A branded recruiter will help answer some of your most pressing questions. Plus, talented professionals want to work with people who have a grasp of the industry. Recruiters who post relevant articles demonstrate their expertise while adding real value to the candidates they represent.

  • Branding leads to more information – for you. Recruiters who build a trustworthy reputation with their network become almost like brand ambassadors for the companies they represent. They can promote the different companies they work with while also sharing insight into the culture and what it’s really like to work there. While a recruiter’s individual profile is oftentimes the first place talented professionals are likely to stop, it most certainly isn’t the last. People still want to know about the company the recruiter is working on behalf of and why they should be considering career opportunities with them.

It’s a new age of recruiting, and personal brands matter. Old tactics, or using full-time recruiting techniques on gig economy workers, just don’t work anymore.

Putting the right information out to the right people builds stronger connections. By sharing open jobs and relevant industry information, recruiters are demonstrating to you that they know what they’re talking about and that they have access to jobs, people and companies you should know about.