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Recruitment: The power (and importance) of storytelling

Written by Jamie McGregor on 03 Oct 16
Recruitment: The power (and importance) of storytelling
It has been said many times in the past (and very often by me) that resourcers and recruiters need to think about their candidates as if they were customers. Thanks to the internet, we now have information about everything we could possibly need, whether that’s at our desk, on the sofa or on the train home. We have the freedom to look for what we want, when and where we want.

That’s what happens when we shop and has been for some time. Now that the recruitment market has shifted to a candidates market with more jobs than skilled applicants and the convenience that technology now provides, job hunting is no different. Job hunting is shopping.

Products and brands spend millions of hours and pounds investing in ways to connect and engage with their target audience in an attempt to create brand loyalty and therefore maximum purchases. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through storytelling. 

Why your story counts

So why is storytelling important in recruitment? Let’s think about it for a minute. We each spend around a third of our adult lives at work. Would any of us want to do that in a place we didn’t like? But how do we know what a place is like to work at before we start? Starting a new job can be a bit of a gamble. We want to know as much as we can before we make that commitment. We want to get the sense that a company’s culture is right for us.

And what about the new generation entering the workforce? After countless surveys in recent years, one thing is clear: Workers are no longer just motivated by the salary a job provides. Now they are more interested in the training, the career development opportunities and the culture a company has to offer.

Getting your message across

Your story needs to be front and centre. Your company could be the best place to work, with engaged staff who have worked their way up thanks to your superior training and development programmes, but all that means nothing for your recruitment strategy if people only discover that once they start working there.

The best in house recruiters know that telling stories about their team shows the human side of the business and gives the best flavour possible of what a company’s culture is really like. Uncover an authentic story and share it, whether that’s through your company blogs or social media channels. Make it possible for candidates to imagine what it would be like if they were working in your company.

Don’t just think about the story you are going to tell but also think about how you are going to tell it. I think we have all read job ‘ads’ that describe what the job entails in long text, many with some bullet points. I think we can all agree when I say this approach is not particularly insightful or engaging. Instead, how about a video of a REAL PERSON who is actually doing the role talking about their day to day job and the company with genuine passion and enthusiasm? Wouldn’t that be a far more powerful approach, especially if that video were right next to the relevant job on your careers site? We know that it is because VUE Cinemas has been doing it for a number of years now. 

Stay ahead of the curve

As the recruitment market gets ever more competitive and candidates are offered increased choice, staying ahead of your competitors is more important than ever. Candidates’ motivators and drivers have changed. They want to buy into an employer before they commit to them and know that it is the company for them. The way to do that is SHOW them what life is like with the firm. Let them hear from the CFO who started as a junior finance controller 15 years earlier. Tell the story of your marketing manager who can work flexibly to help balance child care. Showcase the customer service advisor who loves his job because of his great team and the fun culture the company encourages.

These stories provide a much more accurate, engaging and open window into an organisation’s culture, allowing candidates to get a feel for life at the company, potential colleagues and long term development opportunities. Job seekers are then able to make more informed decisions around whether your company suits their interests and aspirations and is right for them.

The technology exists to allow you to tell stories and put all that great content next to your jobs on your careers site, where it is most relevant and obvious to potential employees. Most importantly it is something candidates want and now expect. And if your competitors aren’t doing it yet they soon will be. So why aren’t you?

If you’d like to know more about our content marketing services at 4MAT, head over to our Digital Marketing page. For more information on what Jamie can do to help expand your employer recruitment marketing, contact him on 020 7392 1717.
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