You  as  a brand,  is  a  popular  concept.  It  seems  that people  are  embracing  this  tenet  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  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.