There is one thing that is unavoidable in recruitment. It is something we all have and it is one of the biggest things that will affect your business and career. It can be good or bad, and sometimes it can be both….
I am talking about your reputation.
A lot of people mistake reputation for something else. In my mind, reputation is what people are saying about you. It is the conversation two recruiters catching up over lunch have about you. It is the reaction on someone’s face when you mention a name
It is not what your website says about you. It is not your employee value proposition (or whatever else you call it). It is not what your bosses say it is, or what your employee’s tell you it is. It is not about what awards you have won or the LinkedIn recommendations you get. It is also not just about how much money you make.
All of these things are important. But don’t mistake them for being your reputation. Like the chap I met last week who owned a successful agency, but was struggling to hire another consultant. I already knew this company had a tainted reputation (for various reason), and this was a big reason why they were struggling to attract people, but I wanted to know what he thought it was. Amazingly, he was totally unaware that his brand was seen as anything other than brilliant – which it was once, but not anymore. He gave me lots of reasons to support this theory …but I only heard what he thought of his business. The reality was that others thought differently.
He fell into the big trap we all make. You don’t determine your own reputation… everyone else does.
Whilst it is dangerous not to have an accurate picture of what people are saying about you, worse are those who ignore it totally. Like it or not you cannot avoid having a reputation…so you may as well know what it is…at least you can do something about it if you need to.
Here are my tips when it comes to managing your reputation:
- Don’t ignore it. It is out there so find out what it is.
- Be honest with yourself. We all like to think people like us and no one enjoys hearing negative things about themselves, but it’s not always the case.
- Check it regularly. Reputations can and do change.
You could carry on ignoring it. But wait until you get a bad reputation and see how it affects you. But then again you probably won’t know it is happening until the damage has been done.