Once upon a time there was a high flyer – Using storytelling to attract talented candidates

We are all storytellers. Me, you, everyone you work with, your family, your customers, in fact, everyone in the world, love a good story. If you want proof, spend a few moments around your coffee machine or wherever people gather and listen to them talking. You will probably find someone who, if asked if they had a good weekend, will regale you with a detailed account of some funny incident or drama. They do this because it makes the interaction more interesting for you and them.

We all love a good story.

Great talent is the lifeblood of a successful business, and we have discussed some techniques for attracting it in previous articles. One of the things we know can be a real motivator for a candidate is the culture within your business. They want to work with people who share their values and have a human side. The more engaging the storytelling, the more likely they are to want to know more about you.

Effective storytelling is not a mystic art, though. Imagine the ‘about us’ section in a job description. If a candidate looks at it, will they see the following?

Some rules for good story copy:

  • Is there a beginning a middle and an end?
  • All stories start with a premise, go on to the bulk of the story and then round up. Where you came from, who you are now and where the ideal candidate fits into your future is the obvious sequence. It is very easy to get so tied up in your content that you accidentally lose your structure.
  • When talking about a subject – get in late and get out early.
  • What we mean here is beware of over-talking or padding. It’s more important to say the right things than say a lot of things. If something is important or of interest to a candidate, there is no need to embellish or oversell. Just say what you need to say.

Make it about people as well as the facts.

  • Writers will tell you, ‘story is character’. What that means is that people are more important to a story than anything else. If you have interesting people in the business, very experienced specialists and so on, then it is worth talking about them. To use another well-worn phrase ‘people buy from people’.
  • Characters overcome obstacles, did your business?
  • There is a temptation to paint everything as happy and easy to make your business attractive to a candidate. However, that may actually work against you in some circumstances. Stories need a hero to root for, and that can be your company. Most companies have pivoted due to market changes or overcome some obstacle in their journey. The fact that you overcame them is what counts. Which of these is the more interesting read?

We have been in business since 1979, so you will be joining a well-established company.

  • We launched in the recession-hit market of the early 80s. It was this baptism of fire that made us the resilient and agile business we are today. We expect all our employees to have the proactive approach needed to adapt to any market changes and help us to continue to thrive.
  • Location, Location, Location
  • Your workplace is probably excellent, so tell candidates if you have examples. Testimonials from existing team members, examples of your community, and so on can be very attractive.

Story has the power to really engage and attract candidates. It is also a great thing to build into your company brand because it humanises you and makes who you are and what your company ethos is accessible to people in a way they want to hear it.

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