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Why has storytelling become such an essential part of recruitment?

Recruitment is far from straightforward in an overburdened market. And is a M/F/X still able to find the most suitable challenge in a sea of uniformity? They’re all the same nowadays.

More than anything new generations want to be inspired by the ‘why’ and the vision of a company. And what that means for their own career, not just now but down the road as well. They want to be part of a bigger story and get the feeling they can help write their own chapter. They want to feel involved and get a sense that their input is taken into account. They want you to hand them the tools that will enable them to be or become successful. After all, in today’s society where everyone is judged by their success, employees want to be proud of the company or brand they are part of and whose reputation reflects on them. As a result, companies that master the art of storytelling can make the difference.

In terms of job content most companies out there have no shortage of interesting challenges so it’s hard to stand out in that respect. What about the ‘no tailbacks’ angle? Numerous companies have solved this issue through teleworking, flexible hours and additional branches. As for a ‘competitive’ salary package? The candidate has the final say on that. Let’s not be naive: in a war for talent the job seekers hold the cards and they want cash on the nail.

So how can storytelling help you become more successful at recruiting?

A few tips:

1. Connect with the candidate. Use the right words. Establish a connection. What truly sets your company apart? And what can that mean for an employee’s career? Use concrete examples. Success stories. Stay away from boring jargon and endless enumerations. Just think back on the most inspiring job interviews you yourself had or the most eye-catching job advertisements you’ve read.

2. Make sure everyone supports, lives and experiences the story. Get everyone on the same page. Sometimes I visit companies where everyone has a different vision and tells a different story. Imagine you were the one applying for a job. You’ve got three job interviews lined up with a single employer but the three managers you talk to each tell a different story and have conflicting visions. How would that make you feel?  How convinced would you be that this employer is the right choice for you?

3. Keep the story simple. To make sure your story comes across it’s best to use simple images, metaphors or examples. This makes the story easier to repeat. Still, be sure to keep it credible!

4. Make sure your story is relevant and has an outcome. Don’t tell a boring and predictable story. Success is not a straight line, it’s a quest. Incidents, events or conflicts that eventually lead to a wonderful outcome strike a nerve and are easily remembered, especially if they are also relevant to the candidate.

Good luck!

Christophe VanDriessche

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