How about a BRAND new REFLECTION? A Kaye/Bassman Publication

What has been your experience when interviewing for a job?  How much of the interview do you spend convincing the hiring manager that you are the one who they need?  How much of the interview does the Hiring authority spend selling the company, the job, the management, the team, and the mission, vision, and values of the organization? 

I come at this perspective from a different viewpoint than most employees.  Before serving as a search consultant, recruiter, headhunter or whatever you want to call it, I was a minister.  I would interview at churches with teams of people who were there to find out if I was a cultural fit to their congregation.  They wanted to know if my values were the same as theirs.  In most cases, they wanted to see if my viewpoint on Life’s Mission was the same as theirs.  These questions may or may not be easier to discern in a “church” setting rather than in a “secular work” setting.  In either setting, it is about what you want to “Reflect!” 

I have a major question, “Is one’s viewpoint of their own Life’s Mission any less important when looking for a job?”  If it is similar, what are organizations doing to share and acknowledge that they have a vision to share?  In today’s world, the term is “Branding.”  An organization’s Brand or a University’s Brand helps future employees choose to work there and reminds current employees why they chose to work there. 

When candidates are interviewing, they are looking for an atmosphere that allows them to flourish.  Yes, some people want a job just to get a paycheck and survive.  But, what if you were able to choose where you worked, based on the Vision of the organization?  What if you were able to choose your employment based on how they treat and value their employees?  What if you chose to be an employee of an organization because it was easy to see that the mission, vision and values of that organization are reflected through their employees?

That brings up a step in that is missed in recruitment.  It is the actual recruitment of a new employee, the attraction, the ability of an organization to show and convince, “We NEED you here!  You belong here! You will make a difference here!”  But how do they show it?

In the days of ranching, a horse wore a brand.  It was seared onto their hide.  The brand was a representation of the ranch that owned the horse or cattle.  It was a way that people could identify where that animal was from and by a quick examination of the animal, one could also tell the quality of the relationship between a ranch owner and animal.  Was the animal healthy?  Did it look like it ate well?  Did it know its way home?  Did it look clean, cared for, and reflect a positive relationship of animal and rancher?  What did the state of the animal, ranch and goods say about the Brand?  Afterall, the BRAND advertised the ranch all of those things came from.

In the Employer Branding Guide, the authors state:  “In the current job market, job seekers are in the metaphorical driver’s seat. Whenever someone expresses interest in working for your organization, it’s your organization’s responsibility to demonstrate what that individual can expect as an employee. The key here is that you should only promise an exceptional experience if your company is committed to and capable of delivering on that promise.”

When was the last time you sat down as a Search Committee and said, “What do we want these candidates to walk away from here thinking about us?  What are we going to do to attract them?  What are we going to do to demonstrate our Brand and let them know that our Brand demonstrates who we really are?  I encourage you to really consider these questions as a group.

The next time you bring a candidate on your campus to interview consider how the Search Committee will be seen as a reflection of your BRAND. 

  • What will your actions as a group reflect?
  • What will your questions reflect?
  • What will you personally reflect?
  • How does your Search Team reflect the Organization? The community?
  • How do you, as an organization, strategically plan to incorporate and include the new candidates so they will want to become a shining reflection of your Brand as well.

Remember interviews are a two-way street.  Each side is looking for an investor in their BRAND!

As I am sure, those of you that pay attention to such things.  I moved from the perspective of the candidate’s point of view of the employer to the employer’s point of view of what they reflect.  Why? As a candidate, I am looking for what it looks like to be a part of the BRAND!  Because eventually, if I am offered the job and I accept, one day I will look like YOU the employer.  Make sure you are reflecting what you will eventually see reflected by your new team member.  If it is a good fit, we will work together so that we are both fully engaged and I am no longer an employee of the BRAND, I am a REFLECTION of the BRAND, I AM THE BRAND.


Dr. Richard Jordan II, D.Min., SHRM-CP, is an Executive Search Consultant and Traditional Education Team Lead with Kaye/Bassman’s Higher Education Practice. His leadership background in University Human Resources makes him especially qualified to inform Higher Ed insiders on best practices for finding and retaining top post-secondary talent in a rapidly changing market. Discover more about Dr. Jordan in his bio.