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Why Personal Branding Matters? Interview with Jennifer McClure

We got to sit down with Jennifer McClure the president of Jennifer McClure | Personal BrandingUnbridled Talent. The company provides advisory and consulting services in areas of leadership, executive communications, and talent strategy. McClure is also a former human resources executive for privately held Fortune 500 companies. Her experience as an Executive Recruiter and Executive Coach has developed multiple strategies to find, attract, recruit and grow the talent needed with organizations as well as build careers.

We asked McClure to sit down with us to gain further insight into why and how personal branding affects both employers and job seekers in 2015. She points out the benefits of a video response and how it can simplify and align recruitment processes as well as make them more effective and cohesive.

Jennifer, you have a large interest and focus on personal branding. You have a few workshops coming up that help individuals improve and polish their personal branding and grow their network on LinkedIn and beyond. Can you tell me why personal branding matters and what it is and means in 2015?

Personal branding has always been important – even before that phrase was coined.

Everyone should take the time to understand how they’re viewed by others – personally and professionally – and what makes them unique and different from others who are similarly situated. Why should you be hired versus someone else with a similar background or education? What will get you chosen for the high-visibility project or promotion at work over other co-workers who are also doing a good job? Not only should we be able to answer those types of questions in our own minds, but we should also be taking steps to promote those unique factors about ourselves through the type of work we do, the people we want to network with and the areas where we choose to volunteer our time.

Personal branding is more important than ever in 2015 and beyond because, now everyone has an online presence of some sort – and people/employers are searching for information about us online. Your online presence can be minimal/unimpressive, or you can ensure it’s not only impressive, but also targeted towards helping you achieve the level of success you desire in your career.

Yes! Achieving success is the goal for both job seekers and recruitment teams. In fact, you wrote a great article about how to change the world (and possibly one’s workplace) without changing who we are as individuals. You explained that we affect the world one person at a time. How do we balance personality with professionalism

My advice is to simply be you in both personal and professional circumstances. It’s very difficult these days to separate the two. We’re drawn to people who have similar interests and experience – and that can help you connect with people or employers where you can add value and can help you grow. It can also turn people or employers away that aren’t a good match for you – which is okay.

The key is to understand how to behave in the context of where you are. You may have an outspoken and wild/crazy personality, but it would probably be best to keep that in check if you’re a lawyer representing a client in a courtroom.

Everyone is different – and that’s a great thing. We all impact people in different ways. I think you’ll have the most positive impact if you can identify the people and situations where you don’t have to constantly suppress who you are.

As you know, CVid Recruit seeks to give job candidates a voice beyond a piece of paper as well as companies the opportunity to evaluate personalities and professional compatibility with their brand. What are things that both job candidates and companies need to work toward to achieve a cohesive blend of personality and professionalism in the workplace?

I think it’s important that we approach interactions with others with an open mind and always be curious about what people with different personalities; backgrounds and experiences bring to the table.

Job candidates should ideally be pretty specific about the type of work they want to do and how their experience can add value, but open to different environments and working for different types of people, as this could potentially promote personal and professional growth.

Employers should be open to considering candidates from a variety of backgrounds and experience, and focus more on attitude and aptitude to learn. Research shows that diversity of thought and experience can add tremendous value on teams and help with understanding and meeting the needs of a diverse customer base.

Can you share why seeing a face, mannerisms, and personality alongside a traditional CV is important for all parties involved? Would you say it is a solid step in the right direction towards recognizing and implementing polished personal branding today?

It should go without saying that it’s very important for everyone involved in the interviewing/hiring process to guard against personal biases or any discriminatory practices.

That being said, the opportunity to meet a candidate (in-person or via video interview) – can help an employer to understand more about the whole person – beyond their documented skills and experience – and how their interests and talents can benefit the organization. These types of interactions foster more conversational interviews and also allow both parties to get a feel for whether or not they’ll enjoy working together.

Thank you for your valued time Jennifer.

If you want to learn more from Jennifer McClure check out her blog at UnbridledTalent.com.  To attend one her seminars or to hear her speak near you click here.

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