Are you just a recruiter? Or are you someone other recruiters want to imitate? Chances are you fall somewhere in between. If you want to break out of the rut and transform your brand, you need to stop, re-evaluate and form a new plan. Otherwise, you’ll be on the same track in a year.
You can find how-to tips on brand building from one end of the Internet to the other. Many of them deal with how to use social media, how to define your brand, and other step-by-step plans. We’re going to talk about what’s under those strategies. What qualities help define a leader? Here are four to get you started.
#1: Be a jack of all trades, master of some
You know that person in the office who seems to know everything and know where everything is? Chances are, they don’t. What they do is stay up on the latest recruiting technology, read industry blogs, to go conferences and network, network, network.
As the industry leader that you want to be, you should know a little about a lot. That’s step one. Then you should find a niche and really become an expert.
What parts of your job have the biggest effect on others in the company? What do you do that makes a job candidate’s life easier? Those are good places to start mastering skills. If you’re the go-to person on the topic and that topic has the ability to help someone else, you’re suddenly a hero.
While mastering your craft in some ways, keep branching out and learning. You might not know how a flux capacitor works. But if you know a little, you’ll develop a reputation for help and service to the company. That’s true, even if all you do is direct them to the person who’s an expert on the topic.
#2: Embrace feedback in all its forms
Don’t fear feedback. It’s the best way to find your strengths and weaknesses, which empowers you with the ability to grow.
Recruiter.com says you should start by asking your supervisor to talk to you about areas of concern or ways that you need a course correction. That kills two birds with one stone.
Firstly, it shows that you’re fearless. That’s a great quality in a superhero recruiter. And secondly, it shows you the areas where improvement can have the most powerful effect–a win-win for brand management and the company.
The second part of the feedback exercise is scoping out the Internet for random comments. If you’re new to the industry, you might have none. If you’ve been around a while, your name might pop up more times than you imagine. Whatever you learn, consider it a gift. If it’s positive, you’ll know how you’re making clients and job candidates happy. If it’s not, you’ll know where to take action.
#3: Hone your communication skills
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. — Stephen R. Covey
What’s the most important skill in a communication suite? Listening. Do you listen to answer, or do you listen to understand? If it’s the former, roll up your sleeves and get to work on that.
The surest way to become a leader (not a boss) is by giving the people around you something that they need. The only way to know what they need is by listening to understand.
Beyond listening, work on written and spoken communication. If you think you’ve nailed that, unfortunately, you’re probably wrong. Professional writers and speakers practice constantly. There’s more to it than eliminating spelling errors and using proper sentence structure.
Communication is entirely about the transfer of information in a way that the recipient can understand it. Write and speak well. Then write and speak to be well understood. Check out Fifty Communications Activities, Icebreakers and Exercises, by Peter R. Garber. It’s free and loaded with challenges.
#4: Close your office door (sometimes)
Unless you work in one of the soul-baring, completely open offices, you probably have a space of your own. If not, maybe there’s a place where you can work independently without interruption. However you get it, take advantage of it when you can.
Angela Copeland of Copeland Coaching tells Recruiting.com that everyone needs time for “real work.” Sometimes, you need to collaborate, attend meetings and get involved with co-workers. But sometimes, you need to work alone.
Closing your office door, whether it’s literally or figuratively, lets you focus on the things you’re solely responsible for. It also offers a chance to work on those skills that you need to build.
You can’t build your brand as a leader without real leadership skills as the foundation. When those are strong and always improving, everything else–from social media strategies to candidate sourcing techniques–will be better. Leaders give people something to count on. Be sure you’re known for your strengths and what you add to the company and client relationships.