Personal Brands & Interviewing: Communication & Best Practices

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Alexander von Sternberg
Examine best practices for effectively communicating your personal brand in the interview process. Discover what a personal brand is, explore pre-interview brand-building, and uncover more about brand building during and after the interview. Updated: 01/20/2022

What Is a Personal Brand?

Malik is searching for a new job in sales. He's heard that something called personal branding can help him get and succeed in a job interview, but he's confused as to what it is and how it can help him.

A personal brand is a cohesive message about who you are and what sets you apart from others in your industry. It includes both your online and offline presence. For example, Malik has a Twitter account. That's part of his personal brand.

A personal brand can be a powerful tool for getting your dream job because it communicates to a prospective employer exactly how you can help the company. For example, perhaps Malik wants to communicate that he's great with people, which is an essential skill in sales. His personal brand can help potential employers see that side of him.

Before Malik can land his dream job, though, he has to get and pass the interview. To show him how his personal brand can do that, let's take a look at the ways he can use his personal brand before, during, and after the interview.

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  • 0:04 What Is a Personal Brand?
  • 1:02 Pre-Interview Brand Building
  • 2:22 Brand Building During & After
  • 4:56 Lesson Summary
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Pre-Interview Brand Building

There's a company that Malik really, really wants to work for and they have an opening for a sales position. That's perfect! But how can Malik's brand help him stand out from the other applicants?

The first thing Malik will want to do is to build his brand by focusing on the qualities and experience that employers want. If being a problem-solver and good with people are important qualities to the company Malik is applying to, he'll want to include those qualities as part of his brand. Of course, if Malik were looking in another industry, he might be focusing on other skills, like communication skills, analytical skills, creativity, or something else. The point is that, whatever qualities his industry values, he should focus on in his personal branding.

More importantly, he'll want to look for ways that he can demonstrate that he has those qualities, instead of simply saying he does. He might want to highlight his volunteer work at a shelter, for example, and the ways it shows his problem-solving and people skills.

It's also really important that Malik remember that everything he does online is part of his personal brand. He'll want to keep his message professional. That is, he won't want to have a bunch of photos of him partying or tweet or post messages that might be inflammatory. Finally, he'll want to create brand cohesiveness through his use of colors, images, and messaging. For example, he might want to use the same headshot of himself as the main photo on Twitter, Instagram, and his blog.

Brand Building During & After

Thanks to all his work building his personal brand, Malik has scored an interview at his dream company! He's very nervous; what should he do now?

Remember that a personal brand doesn't end online. It extends to offline presentation, too. Malik will want to stress the skills and brand that he's presented online. In his case, he'll want to point out that he's a people person and a problem solver. But he'll also want to think about tone. If his online brand is very jocular and fun, he'll want to be upbeat in the interview. If his online tone is more thoughtful and serious, he'll want to project that in the interview.

As with online branding, in-person branding should be kept professional. Malik should wear professional attire to the interview, like a suit and tie. He should avoid chewing gum and other behaviors that might not present himself in the most professional light.

What happens if Malik is faced with difficult questions? If he's asked a factual question and he's not sure of the answer, he shouldn't try to fake it. Instead, he should honestly say that he's not quite sure, but promise that he'll find the information and get back to the interviewer. He should then follow up with an email within 24 hours with the answer.

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