How your reputation as a manager can help attract top talent

Job interviews used to be a one-way conversation where hiring managers held all the cards.

Today, candidates may have as many questions about you as a manager, as you have about them as an employee – and they’re doing their research before accepting a job offer.

In fact, when deciding whether to go for a role or not, 77% of people think it is important to know the leadership style of their future manager. Additionally, 51% of people also think their future employer’s work experience and reputation is important.

In a market where job security is a high priority, the calibre of a manager plays a big role in employment decisions. What are you like to work for? How will you help their career? Are your personal values aligned with their own?

“Candidates are looking for the ability to grow and thrive with their employer,” says Peter Anderson, Director of talent acquisition firm Hen’s Teeth.

“With just a Google search, they can do their due diligence on a hiring manager. It's become important to build your personal brand and be on the front foot when you are trying to attract people to join the team. My advice to small-medium companies is to find ways to emphasise the individual manager's values.”

Here are four ways to build your personal brand.

Be visible in your industry

Candidates want to work for a manager who can help them to learn and grow, so demonstrate your expertise within your industry.

Anderson says being more visible within your industry can help build your brand.

“Attend networking events, for instance, or speak at industry events,” he says. “Participate more in the sectors you work in.”

Make interviews a two-way street

In a candidate-driven market, a job interview can help you make a positive impression and boost your personal brand.

Companies such as Westpac aim to make job interviews a two-way exchange.

“Candidates want to get a sense of not just, 'Can I fit into a business?', but also 'Can I work with you?',” says consultant Adam Buxton. “Our approach for the recruitment process, including candidate interactions with a hiring manager, is to ensure that it's not just about people trying to sell themselves to our company”

Buxton says every candidate is viewed as a potential customer. “If they've applied for a job with us in the past, for instance, we aim to take that knowledge into the interview, so we're not starting from scratch every time.”

Provide reference checks

Checking a candidate’s references can help verify their eligibility for the job. But Anderson suggests giving candidates the opportunity to check on your eligibility as a manager, too.

“Candidates are going to be doing some research about you anyway, so make it easier for them,” he says.

“Provide testimonials or references from people who have worked with you in the past, or give candidates the contact details of employees at the end of the interview.”

Promote your values

Anderson suggests boosting your online presence with opinion pieces or blog posts that reflect your values and highlight your management style. It might be about why you value career development as a manager, for instance, or how managers can promote mental wellbeing in the workplace.

“It doesn't always have to be a work-related online post about your organisation,” adds Anderson. “It could be about a charity event that you’ve attended, or congratulating a former employee on a career achievement. Think about the social platforms that your candidates are likely to use and start posting there.”

In a tight labour market, employers need to work harder to stand out to top talent. And with candidates doing more due diligence on their future manager, your personal brand can provide a valuable point of difference. Think about what candidates can get from working with you and start sharing the benefits.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published March 2024.

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