Why Storytelling Will Land Your Best Hire Yet

In a recent CBS News piece, President of the Marketing Firm Yankelovich, Jay Walker-Smith stated that the number of advertisements we see in day has gone from roughly 500 in the 1970’s to as many as 5000 a day today. What this tells us is that the world we live in today is full of information (noise) and it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter the content to find what is useful for us.

But don’t take it from us.

Think of the last ad you saw on TV for the burger you probably shouldn’t have, but would love to sink your teeth into. How good did that look compared to the one your ‘friend’ (let’s get real, it was you) picked up.

Now think of the last job description you looked at, whether it was for you, your hire, a friend, or family member.

Now think of that dating profile for all of you online daters out there. How much did the person you saw online really resemble the one you went for coffee with?

See, we’re always trying to be better than the next whether it is regarding where we’re eating, who we are online, or what job we are applying for. No surprise, right?

So what happens when we see 5000 pieces of information that are trying just as hard to compete for our time and/or money?

We become desensitized to the information, no doubt.

But now think of that time you heard a story from a friend talking about what they loved about their job, vacation, relationship, or sport. Think of the emotion that came from them and how you were drawn either to or away from the experience.

The truth is that if we can bring these experiences to life and put people behind the facts or statements, that it is easier to relate. If I know my friend had an amazing time at her job and I felt it from the story she told, then I know that the job description has been brought to life and there is no fabrication of the story.

We’re drawn to authenticity. To truth. To feeling.

And think too, that if we don’t like the story or the experience, then we know that much faster than if we were to read a lifeless description of an event or job, right? And that saves both the person and the company a ton of time and resources.

So even if the fit isn’t there, both parties still win. If it is, bonus.

But how do you stand out from all the ‘noise’ of 5000 other advertisements, recruitment posts and the social media ‘soup’?

The answer is to just be authentic, get it out there, and the audience you’re looking to attract will do the broadcasting over social channels for you. People love to share things they love with other people.

A great example of a well known company doing this is Heineken’s latest recruitment video.

The video is clever, whimsical and informative of what the brand is looking to attract in candidates and is comprised of actual employees, not actors! The video ends with a link to take ‘The Interview” which brings the candidate to their website.

The online interview experience is an interactive extension of the video, which takes you through a series of 11 questions in a ‘this or that’ – style and ends with a quick personal profile and top 3 position styles you’d be a great fit for. On this profile there is also a few links to share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and twitter. (all about the sharing on social platforms)

The site also allows you to upload your LinkedIn CV directly with Heineken, making the application process extremely seamless.

Engaging video content driving traffic to a user-friendly website with a personalized profile and click-through sharing on social media platforms. It’s a unique and authentic spin on attracting the best-fit talent to their family of Brands.

Storytelling isn’t just key to the person coming into the company though, it is also important for the people who are already there. To be featured, appreciated, and to have a story told is a great way to show respect for the great work the employee is doing. And if a potential new hire wants to work with the person who is already there, in a company they already love, that sounds like a win-win to us.

So when you’re next looking to design a job description, think about who you are trying to target. Who are they, what are their values, wants, needs? What does your culture really look like and who fits best? Are you using current strategies?

Are you telling stories?

Co-written with John Kennedy at True Calling Canada.
Eric Termuende
About the author: 

Eric Termuende is the Founder of The DRYVER Group, an intergenerational management consultancy, specializing in Millennials and the next generation workforce.  He also serves as an Advisory Board Member on the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.  Follow Eric on Twitter.