Recruitment is Storytelling

Recruitment is Storytelling
Recruitment is Storytelling

Everybody loves a good story right? Our kids love us reading them a story before bed, we share stories about our work day with our families and stories about our weekend with our colleagues on a Monday morning, but when it comes to the day job many of us forget the power of a good story.

Why are stories so powerful?

They’re memorable, quite often relatable and create a connection between the teller and listener in a way that facts, figures and graphs can’t.

People get invested in a good story, it makes them think, it makes them curious and more importantly a great story makes people care.

As a recruiter, internal or agency, a large part of your job is making people care, getting them invested in what you have to say and creating connections.

Your Hiring Managers

They can be difficult at times can’t they? Especially the newer ones or the ones you haven’t really recruited for before, you need to get them onside and quickly. A good story can do this and bide you some time whilst you implement your ideas and deliver. Share a story of how you recruited a similar role last time, what went well, why did it go well, what did you learn?

Sometimes you don’t need to be the one telling the story, get them to tell you a story – what happened the last time they recruited for this role? I had a hiring manager a few months ago who shared a story about how it took 6 months for him to fill 5 positions the last time he recruited and how painful it was – I could see the pain in his eyes as he relived the tale!

This was a great hook to get him on board in trying something different and getting more involved in the process – we filled 4 roles in 5 weeks, working together.

Without inviting him to share his story he may never have been open to a new approach or as invested in the process and the campaign may never have been as successful as it was.

Your hiring managers also need to be great storytellers, they need to be able to share stories with you, their recruiter and the candidates you bring into the interview process.

Your Job Adverts

Have you ever applied for a job where the advert was a copy & paste of a job spec, or a list of requirements and responsibilities?

There’s been a thousand different articles on writing good ad copy so I won’t dwell on it, but it doesn’t matter what your advertising budget is, how great your careers site is or how many job boards you use if you don’t have a great story to tell.

Great job adverts tell great stories, they give candidates an insight in to the company, the role and the team they’d be joining – it brings it to life, it makes them care, it makes them curious and more likely to apply.

Your Candidates

Whether it’s on the phone or by email, you should always be sharing great stories with candidates.

Are you just reading out the job spec to them, or asking them a stack of questions to satisfy they meet the requirements so you can submit their CV? If so, then don’t act so surprised when they drop out of the process further down the line – you didn’t make them care, you didn’t connect with them, they’re not invested in you, your company or your role.

Share stories, even personal ones about your time at the company. What have you experienced in your time there and what stories can you share about the team they’re joining? Listen to their stories and get a deeper understanding of what they’re really looking for in a role and their next move.

Adopt story telling in your interactions with candidates and you’ll find you’ll have more engaged candidates with whom you have a much deeper connection.

Stories are powerful, we’ve been telling them for thousands of years. Take a look at many of the great leaders that you admire, they’re all great storytellers and share stories that inspire and connect, they make us care and we remember them.

A cautionary final point, your stories should always be based in fact rather than fiction.


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