We all know the feeling: you’ve spent months, if not years, crafting the perfect resume for a coveted promotion, an executive leadership position, or a chance to secure your dream job. And now the moment of truth is here. You’re in the hot seat for that high-stakes interview, and the pressure is on to make a lasting impression.
But what you may not realise is that in this critical moment, it’s not just your qualifications that are being evaluated. Your personal brand – the unique qualities and attributes that define who you are – is also on display. In that interview, your personal brand is the key factor that can make all the difference between being seen as a bland candidate who ticks all the boxes and being remembered as the one who stood out from the crowd.
Why does having a strong personal brand matter in an interview?
In today’s competitive job market, relying solely on a run-of-the-mill resume no longer cuts it. While it may list your achievements and qualifications, it can’t capture your personality, your drive, and your vision.
As Chris J Reed, founder and CEO of Black Marketing, explains, having a well-established personal brand can greatly increase your prospects of securing a job. He gives an illustration that when C-suite executives interview a candidate, their personal branding could play a crucial role in the evaluation process.
“It’s about what they learned in terms of Googling you, what they learned about your LinkedIn, it’s about your thought leadership, your books, if you have any keynotes, how you come across, that’s all part of your personal brand”, he says. “And they will decide whether to employ you or invest in you based on that. It’s not based on your credibility or your qualifications or experience.”
According to Reed, the notion of meritocracy is simply no longer applicable. When a candidate reaches a crucial stage of an interview, their personal brand can provide them with an advantage over their competition. This is why, he asserts, “sometimes the most qualified people don’t get the right jobs – because their personal brand basically sucks.”
Ultimately, having a strong brand helps the interviewer understand who you are as a person, what you stand for, and what kind of professional you are. It gives them a window into your personality, your values, and your unique strengths. This can be particularly valuable in a high-stakes interview, where the decision maker is trying to determine whether you are truly the right fit for the company and the role.
So, how exactly do you showcase your personal brand in an interview?
1. Define your brand
Before you can showcase your personal brand, you need to know what it is – this means you need to understand yourself inside and out. Your personal brand is a unique combination of your skills, experiences, values, and personality traits that set you apart from others. To define your personal brand, you need to reflect on what you are passionate about, what drives you, and what you want to be known for. This self-reflection will help you articulate your brand in a clear and concise manner, making it easier to communicate in an interview setting.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are your values and what is important to you?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you enjoy doing and what makes you feel fulfilled?
- What do others consistently say about you and your work?
Once you have a clear understanding of your personal brand, you will have a solid foundation to build on as you prepare for your interview.
2. Make every click count
Your brand extends beyond the interview room. It’s also important to maintain a consistent, curated online presence. This means being mindful of what you post on social media and ensuring that your pages are up to date and polished. Start by doing a thorough audit of your online profiles, paying close attention to your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Make sure that they accurately reflect your professional experiences, accomplishments, and your values. Remember, your online presence should be consistent with the image you want to project during the interview.
3. Be authentic and confident
Confidence and authenticity are essential components of a strong personal brand. It can be tempting to put on a façade and try to fit into the mould of what you think the interviewer wants to see, but this rarely works in anyone’s favour. After all, decision makers are looking for someone that can add a unique perspective to their team.
You want to come across as genuine and relatable, not fake or scripted. Be honest about your experiences, and don’t be afraid to share your opinions and ideas. This approach will show the interviewer that you are confident in your abilities and that you have a unique value proposition to offer.
4. Show, don’t just tell
While it’s important to be prepared to talk about your personal brand, it’s also important to show it in action. This means demonstrating your skills, values, and personality through your actions and behaviour during the interview. For example, if you’re a strong communicator, make sure you’re engaging with the interviewer, asking thoughtful questions, and expressing yourself clearly and effectively.
Use numbers and metrics to demonstrate the impact of your work, and don’t be afraid to share challenges and failures, and how you learned from them. This approach will show your interviewer that you are more than just a set of skills and experiences, but a problem-solver who takes initiative and continuously strives for growth and development.
After the interview, make sure to follow up with the interviewer. This is a great opportunity to reiterate your personal brand and express your enthusiasm for the role.
A final word
Personal branding is about showcasing who you are, what you stand for, and what you bring to the table. In a high-stakes interview, it’s essential to go beyond the superficial and the information already on your resume. By defining your brand, highlighting your achievements and experiences, communicating your values, demonstrating your skills, and being confident and authentic, you can showcase your personal brand and make a lasting impression that will increase your chances of landing that dream job.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]