Hishem Azzouz On Building Your Personal Brand

“In the first year, you’re going to earn six figures. A hundred K plus. That means you’re going to be able to get a Rolex. Go on some big biller lunches. Definitely go to Ibiza. Definitely.”

I’d been working in insurance sales for two, three years and I was being sold the dream of recruitment.

The reality was much different. I drove a Renault Clio, didn’t have loads of money, and in the watch department I was more of a Casio man.

My first year in recruitment was really difficult. 

I made zero pounds on LinkedIn.

What else could I be doing to make money?

Going into my second year, I started looking at my competitors.

In my market, every single job I worked, every single candidate I spoke to would’ve been contacted by two, three other people already.

I knew their names, knew who they were. They’d been in recruitment way longer than I had.

Some had been doing it ten plus years. But online, they looked completely faceless. I knew nothing about them, besides the “fantastic opportunities” they were working on.

selfie 2

That was the lightbulb moment.

All of my market was on LinkedIn. And all my competitors were talking about was jobs.

In our office, we were too. But we weren’t having any success with it. None of us. But we were doing it anyway.

So I stopped talking about jobs online and started documenting what we were doing in the industry. I felt like I could get more of my personality across in a video. And I started the Recruitment Rollercoaster Podcast.

Ultimately, what I became a lot more comfortable with was putting my opinion out there. And using LinkedIn in a different way.

Building a personal brand helps recruiters reach more people. So they can impact more lives and ultimately make more money.

Personal branding’s a buzzword a lot of people are using. What it means in recruitment terms is:

How do your clients and candidates describe you when you’re not in the room?

selfie 1

Essentially, what makes you, you?

Recruiters already have a personal brand.

It’s what you work your socks off doing every single day, delivering for your clients, delivering for your candidates.

Being honest. Building real relationships. Building actual partnerships with the businesses you work with.

You already have a personal brand. It’s the reason you get referrals.

But typically, it stays offline. It stays in the networking events, the one on one conversations, the meeting rooms.

Bringing that offline reputation online is about showcasing what you’re already doing in a way that means you can reach more people. 

There’s a very low chance you’ll build sustainable habits and continue seeing real success if you’re only doing it to keep your manager happy.

So before you start making loads of noise online, ask yourself:

What do you want to be known for in your market?

And what don’t you want to be known for?

How about being seen as ‘just another recruiter’?

For me, what’s really exciting is that there are huge opportunities to very quickly stand out in saturated markets. Simply by talking about or documenting what your competitors aren’t.

selfie 3

What do I talk about online?

Recruiters are in such a unique position to share content.

You have the ear of the candidate, the ear of the client, and you get to facilitate real conversations about real topics in your market. By using what you talk about on the phones all day every day, and not just jobs.

The simplest content ideas come from the daily conversations Recruiters have. Think about your candidates and clients. What are their biggest challenges? Their motivations? What are the most current, common topics you find yourself covering with your market?

You can’t physically stay in touch with everyone in your network.

But if you’re sharing relevant content regularly, people you’ve impressed years ago have more of a chance of remembering you. And you’ll find new people, relevant to your market, engaging with your content and sharing their opinion.

These are people you’ve now got a reason to be in touch with.

Because ultimately, by putting more online, you can build trust and credibility before you even pick up the phone.

selfie 4

But to do it properly, you really do have to have a proactive mindset towards building your personal brand.

Being successful takes time. It takes patience. A bit like building a recruitment desk.

You will make money from it.

And you will get wins. But you can’t just share some content with the expectation of getting something in return. You’ll quit before you’ve even started.

When I started my podcast 18 months ago, it was getting roughly 20, 30, 40 listens per episode. I could’ve very easily quit if all I was concerned with was what I was getting back.

Now we reach circa 10,000 recruiters a month. But that’s taken time. And you have to understand why you’re doing it.

Measuring the success of your personal brand will keep you on track. And it’s actually quite simple.

Most social platforms make it easy to track metrics. But keep track of things like the number of inbound calls, emails and leads, as well as likes and comments.

Even small wins, like a random DM from someone saying they like your content, or a hiring manager mentioning they’d seen one of your videos mid sales call. Connection requests, profile views, direct messages all count. So make sure you do.

Then the more you do it, the more success you’ll see, and the more you’ll stand out. And the wins will get bigger and bigger.

There are a number of free tools to help build and maintain your personal brand. So you’re able to stay on top of your online presence, while focusing on offline activities. Like actually recruiting.

Check out our Productivity Hacks: Brand Management Special for 9 apps you could be using today to reach more people.