The economy is a bit creaky in the wake of COVID, agreed. But some people are still getting jobs. There may be lesser jobs around, but some people still have those jobs. Interviews and candidate search have gone online, but some people stand out in that search. VCs are still funding some entrepreneurs, and some consultants are still getting business.
What makes these few people special? It’s their brand, of course. But what specifically might they have done right?
Face to face interviews have pretty much vanished. So it would be interesting to apply the learnings from online purchasing decisions, to see what makes people buy.
Google carried out research on how people buy online and identified 6 “biases” that determine purchasing decisions. Let’s apply that to your candidate brand.
1. Category heuristics
This is a shortcut that helps in decision-making like say the megapixels in a phone camera. What’s important is that the criteria is relevant to the buyer. Can you solve some problem the organization is facing? Add value uniquely? Can you quantify the benefit you bring to the table? Like “achieved 20% reduction” or “improved sales by 10%”
I advise my enterprise clients to own a ‘superlative’ ie be the best/biggest/first/fastest etc. That works for candidate brands too, and the superlative should be in the area most relevant to your potential employer or investor.
2. Authority Bias
If someone you respect tells you the product is good, you tend to use that as a shortcut to decision-making. If you have a well-respected qualification get that up front. If you don’t, get one.
You can get an industry leader to endorse you, or maybe your boss, CEO – you get the picture.
3. Social Proof
When we’re uncertain about a choice, we tend to follow the cues of others. This is why word of mouth works so well, and in the digital world it is easy to propagate. You need testimonials. How many do you have on your LinkedIn profile?
4. Power of Now
Hiring managers are like toddlers – “can you join today?”. If there’s a choice between a candidate that can join in a day versus one that takes a month, they’re going to pick the one they can get immediately.
Either you are worth the wait, or you find a way that legally they can get help from you as soon as the offer letter is out. This could be working weekends for them or sorting out some of their problems informally. Many companies allow you to buy out some part of your notice period and that is worth considering if you are really keen on the job.
5. Scarcity Bias
The last ice-cream in the fridge always tastes the best…Limited period offers and specials are always attractive, as we feel we are getting a ‘deal’. If an offer is open all the time then there is no hurry to make a decision. So you have to say that you are available only for a limited time. Make it plausible.
6. Power of Free
Advertisers love the word “free” and with good reason. See if you can offer a value add beyond the job you are interviewing for. Or maybe do parts of an other role that is currently a vacancy.
What else can you do?
What’s really worked for me is to build a relationship within my future organizations well before it is required. Plant the tree well before you need the shade.