How your reputation as a manager can help attract top talent
What kind of manager are you? It’s a question you may not expect from a candidate in a job interview, but the power dynamic has changed.

Candidates want to know more about their future manager before accepting a job offer – and they are willing to do some research to find the answer.

In fact, when deciding whether to go for a job role or not, around 75% of people think it is important to know the leadership style of their future manager. Additionally, 65% of people also think their future employer’s skills and reputation is important.

In a candidate-short market where job security is a higher priority, candidates want to feel confident about the person they’d be reporting to. From the way you conduct an interview to your reputation in the market, candidates are now assessing your eligibility as much as you are assessing theirs.

“Candidates may be interviewing for five or six organisations at the same time, and they are weighing up every element of an opportunity,” says Rheanna Lawrey, Senior Talent Partner at commerce platform provider Vend by Lightspeed.

It's not just about salary – they want to know who they would be working with, the kinds of projects they'd be working on and how their manager can help with their career growth.”

With candidates doing their due diligence, your personal brand as a manager matters even more. Here are four ways to build your profile.

Leave the right impression in the interview

Adam Shapley, Managing Director of recruiting experts Hays in New Zealand, says many hiring managers forget that an interview is a two-way process.

“You too are being assessed by the candidate. In a skills-short market, a good interview technique will help you to put the candidate at ease, get the very best out of them and position your organisation as an attractive employer.”

Shapely says the simple technique of blocking out 30 minutes before the interview to familiarise yourself with a candidate’s work experience can help you to make a positive impression.

“This not only helps you feel prepared, but it allows you to start building a rapport with the candidate right away,” he says. “Contrast this to walking into an interview where you haven’t done your homework – you miss the opportunity to make a good first impression and instead come across as disorganised and disinterested.”

Help them with their background check

You have a candidate’s resume and cover letter, so you know about their background prior to an interview. How can you level the playing field for them?

Employers like Vend by Lightspeed provide candidates with background information about a hiring manager – and their management style - prior to an interview.

“We encourage our candidates to come with questions and remind them that the interview is a two-way process,” says Lawrey. “We want them to gather all the information they need to make an informed decision at the end of this process.”

Share your values online

Candidates can do their research on a hiring manager with just a quick Google search, so what does your online presence say about you?

Your online presence should position you as a manager who supports and celebrates your staff’s learning, development and successes, says Shapley. “It should give an insight into the type of leader you are. It should also show your expertise in your particular market and the reputation of the organisation.”

Along with blogs on your own website, think about the social media platforms that your candidates may be using and build your presence there.

“Wherever your candidates are, go to them,” says Shapley.

Be a role model in your industry

Candidates want to work for a manager who can help them to learn and grow, so build your reputation within your industry by attending networking events, speaking at industry conferences or joining mentoring programs.

“We encourage and support our team to get involved in events, blogging and podcasts so that we can show what it's like to work with us and give real insights into management styles,” says Lawrey.

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 November 2021.

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