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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Why Storytelling Helps Attract and Recruit Top Talent

Why Storytelling Helps Attract and Recruit Top Talent

What are your most effective recruiting tools and strategies?

As a hiring manager, you’ve witnessed first-hand that simply posting a job listing is not enough to attract top talent to your organization. You may have tried to throw-out company statistics and numbers while interviewing, but even those impressive numbers didn’t set you apart from the competition.

So, how do you stand out and sell candidates on your company? The answer is surprisingly simple: storytelling.

Storytelling for Recruitment

Storytelling is innately enticing to humans. It generates more interest, prompts deeper connections, and is extremely persuasive.

“In the end, people aren’t going to remember what you said, people are not going remember what you did, but they are going to remember how you made them feel,” quotes Talent Connect keynote speaker Matthew Luhn.

Pixar Animator Shares Secrets to Telling a Compelling (Company) Story - a recently published article on LinkedIn’s Talent blog takes a deep dive with Luhn on why and how companies can create a compelling story. Keep reading for input and advice from our Talent experts.

Build a Culture Through Your Story

Beth Beth Sunshine, Partner, VP/Talent Services

Because people remember 65% of the stories they hear, and only 5% of the facts, storytelling is the key to building a culture where people want to work.

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Humans crave a sense of purpose and mission, and one of the most powerful ways to harness that is through storytelling. Ancient tribal leaders used storytelling to create culture. They would gather their people around the fire to share their oral history, reinforce their ideas and beliefs, and emphasize the community's values and rules. This storytelling tradition gave everyone in the community a clear sense of where they came from and where they were going. They knew how they should treat each other and what they stood for as a group!   

Great leaders of today understand the power of storytelling, and they understand how it can impact recruitment. When storytelling is done well, people on the outside want to come join the group by the fire. They want to be a part of that mission and have that sense of purpose too!

Create a Hook to Stand Out

Mindy Murphy, Senior Talent AnalystMindy

Recruiting and selecting top talent can be difficult. Superstars are not waiting in the wings, hoping you will offer them a job.

As this article shares, mastering the art of storytelling helps you win the war for talent and influence more superstars to join your company. As you fine-tune your recruitment strategy for 2021, consider including good storytelling when recruiting and interviewing candidates.

I especially like the examples in this article, like the section on providing a hook - a quick one-question pitch that grabs their attention. It made me think about what that might look like for my position as a Talent Analyst: What if you could help someone achieve superstar success in their job by teaching them how to grow their talents? What if you could help managers create a strength-based organization and develop the talents of their direct reports?

Creating that hook, then painting the picture of how the candidate’s life will change if they join your company and adding personal stories the candidate will remember – three easy things you can do to stand out with talented candidates.

Story Over Stats

Deborah Fulgum, Senior Talent Analyst/Culture CoachDeb

I love a great story. Even as a child, I begged for someone to read to me. I would spend countless hours absorbed in a book (still do!), placing myself in that scene, feeling the emotions of the characters. It’s funny how storytelling falls by the wayside when managing others or compelling someone why they should work with you. 

Often, we think that sharing facts or stats will help us drive home a point. I find that storytelling helps even more. If you can craft a story that is relatable to others, lightbulbs go off much quicker, and they feel an emotional connection. I remember feeling this way the first time I attended Talent Focused Management. Matt Sunshine is an expert storyteller and made high level concepts feel easy. I could picture myself in those coaching moments, imaging the feelings of helping someone in their development. That is why it is so important to remember that stories are memorable, but stats aren’t!

Thinking about this in terms of recruiting people to a company, it is super smart to think about the story your company tells. Why work there? Not because you are number one, but what is a compelling reason to work for your company? Imagine if you shared the stories of other’s successes and ways your team celebrates each other. How you make a difference in your community? Allowing people to picture themselves working with your company creates that emotional connection right away. Thoughts of “these are my people” start populating with potential recruits. Hiring those that fit the mold of your story lands you the best fit for your team. The stories you tell matter in how others see themselves, just like the “like a girl” campaign. If great expectations are part of your storytelling, then greatness will follow.

Show, Don’t Tell

Tirzah Thornburg, Senior Talent Analyst Tirzah

Companies are increasingly focused on who they are and their “culture,” but while you can describe your culture, candidates will always be left wondering, do you live that culture, or is that who you wish to be as a company? 

Instead of describing the culture, let the candidate live it. Invite them to a group lunch or to an outing. If you meet via video conference, invite them to experience a team call. Let them see how you interact. More than once, I have been involved in meetings or lunches where a candidate is asked to join, and heard them say as they walked out, “I have to join this team! They are great!” 

Telling a candidate that you have a great team is very different from letting them experience the greatness for themselves.

"Don’t ever say your mission statement to someone,” Matthew says. “Tell them all the great things about your company — the ups and downs, the things you’ve learned — and let them feel the mission statement.”

How Are You Using Storytelling in Your Organization?

Storytelling is what sets you apart from the hundreds of other companies that are also recruiting talent. It humanizes your brand, makes you relatable to candidate’s, and gives you a competitive edge. How are you using storytelling to build a culture and recruit and select top talent? 2021 Talent Magazine - Button

Topics: recruitment sales talent