You as a brand is a popular concept. It seems that people are embracing this concept and communicating their brand in their LinkedIn profiles, Twitter handles, resumes, and other social media profiles. How does this apply to the selection and hiring of top C-Suite talent?
One way to look at this is to identify the employers the person has worked with before and what their brand stands for. How does your company brand rank against this candidate’s previous employers? What do those brands and your brand stand for? What is this candidate’s personal brand communicating? This is very important when bringing on someone unfamiliar – someone you, your board of directors, or your team has not worked with at a prior company. Because you do not have the first-hand experience, you will rely on the brands the candidate has worked with to tell a story about the candidate.
For example, someone who has worked for a top-five industry leader (Merck, Goldman Sachs, Edwards, Illumina, Johnson & Johnson) or who graduated from a top university is going to have a higher standard of performance, a feeling of comfort when working with other people from similar companies and educational backgrounds. Each of these companies and academic institutions have a distinct brand and culture that is derived from the brand. How does work get done? How are processes, thinking, and behaviors influenced by these brands? Expectations for results will also be higher, especially if these individuals were top performers at these companies and academic institutions.
If your company is viewed as a top-performing company, or a “hot and up and coming company” attracting a candidate from a top school or other top brands will be easier. You are one step ahead in attracting good talent. If your target candidate is not similarly ranked as you are (i.e. either one of you is significantly better) then you need to answer questions, such as:
Why are you interested in them, or why are they interested in you?
Does this candidate bring a special set of skills, and are they ranked in the top 20% of performers in a similar role?
Why would this candidate be interested in your company?
What is it that they will gain by joining you?
How will candidate compensation be affected by brand comparisons?
Will my company be willing to stretch to acquire a prestigious candidate or will the candidate be lucky to join my company?
If you understand your position with respect to each candidate, and proactively adjust your approach, you will be both more efficient in your hiring process and candidate target selection. The most effective way to identify your “why” is to know your company values and mission, which naturally reflects the brand and focus of your business. For instance, “Our company develops technology to address unmet neurological disorders that affect over 10% of the world’s population.”
The brand conveys your “How” including how you execute and the standards you adhere to; and how people communicate within your organization. This creates impressions of feelings, and it is how you will be remembered. It can also help you identify fit. Brand speaks to the level of quality, and standards (i.e. Walmart vs Nieman Marcus).
In summary – knowing your brand and knowing your candidate’s brand (and employment history/brands) will help you identify if the candidate is up to your standards, or whether your company is to their standards. This is a great filter and will help save you time and effort in the recruiting process.