What’s Your Recruiting Story?
The Right Recruiting Story, Told Often and Well, Makes a Big Difference to Who You Hire and How.
This blog provides some detailed information on how to create a recruiting story that works.
One of the things we know from watching recruiting teams compete for talent is that the best recruiters (i.e. the recruiters who put the most people to work) know how to engage talent at a level that keeps the best candidates in play and inspires them to say “I do” when the job offer is made. They know how to tell their client’s recruiting stories. They tell them often and well.
Most recruiters know the importance of a good recruiting story. Most use the standard tools – the companies mission statement, their website, etc. – to make sure they have always have something positive to say about their client. Great recruiters, on the other hand, create their recruiting stories by getting to know both their employer clients and the candidate’s they represent at a deep and personal level – their dreams, their successes, their aspirations. Their recruiting stories engage candidates emotionally not just intellectually.
And make no mistake – the right recruiting story makes a big difference to who you hire. This is particularly true for small and medium sized companies in our local marketplace who regularly compete against the global “bigs” for the right talent. (The global “bigs” are homegrown companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and T Mobile plus all the California transplants like Google, Facebook whose recruiting story is already well known – super attractive pay and benefit plans, opportunities to go “global.”)
Small and medium sized companies not only have a very different story to tell, but they have to tell it differently – always up close and personal. Whether you have your own in house recruiter, or use a third party recruiting firm like PACE Staffing Network, how your recruiting story is told makes a big difference to the type of talent you can attract to your company.
Story telling is not unique to recruiting – in fact it has been a part of the business world for decades.
Why? Stories work. I once read that messages delivered in the form of stories are 10 or more times more memorable than facts alone. I think that statistic was based on an actual study, but who knows. It was told to me in a story about the power of storytelling – so the details didn’t matter. (Point made)
So when it came to make recruiting a key business process, finding a way to use the art of story telling as a competitive advantage just happened. If a recruiter needed to convince a sought after candidate that ABC was a great place to work, they didn’t talk about their below 20% turnover rate, they told the story of a specific employee whose career was significantly enhanced by their decision to work for ABC. The more personalized the story, the better.
Recruiters who learn how to tell a recruiting story well can help their clients attract better candidates. They influence a candidate’s decisions about what job offer to accept. Ultimately they impact the employer’s performance and productivity by making sure their brand as an employer is working in recruiting and on the job. It is easy to see why recruiters who are great story tellers have a competitive advantage over their equally skilled but less talented counterparts.
What’s Your Recruiting Story? Here’s 10 ideas hiring managers and recruiters can use to create a world class recruiting story that we know works in our local marketplace….
#1 Uncover your recruiting story early in the hiring process!
As you start putting together your “preferred candidate profile”, think about the story you will need to tell to that “ideal” candidate to convince them to take a second look at your job, your company. What will the “right candidate” need to hear in the recruiting process to see that this job, this company is the “right fit” for them. If you can’t come up with a story early in the process, you need to keep exploring what your “ideal candidate” looks like.
#2. Know our recruiting story well & tell your story early and often!
- Start with your job posting. Think about your job posting as your first opportunity to create a picture of the job, the company, the team that will not only stand out from competitive postings but will uniquely speak to the kind of candidate you want to hire. Describe the challenges. Describe the opportunities. Picture the “ideal candidate” and tell the story that will appeal to them.
- Tell your story even in those automated replies to candidate inquiries. Create a follow up packet for every candidate who inquiries about a job – thanking them for applying, providing them with information about your company, and perhaps even some personal information about you as their recruiter. Automated responses don’t have to be dull or boring – they need to purposefully reflect how you want to be perceived by the talent community.
- Structure the steps in your recruiting process to support your employer brand. Your recruiting process should reflect a mini version of what it will be like to work for you. If you emphasize teamwork, make sure your team is involved in the selection process. If your brand leads heavily into employee development, make sure your interviews focus on the candidate’s development aspirations. If your brand is about community involvement, ask questions that reflect your requirement that all employees get involved in their community.
#3 Personalize early and often.
Quick touch points by text or e mail can work early in the recruiting process, but once you’ve determined the candidate’s qualifications warrants next level engagement, connect by phone.
And make that first phone connect about the candidate – not you, the job you are trying to fill, the company you represent. Make the conversation all about the candidate. What situation is putting the candidate in the job market at this time? What prompted them to connect with you? What are they looking for in their next job? The more you know about the candidate the better you can tell your recruiting story so its important to learn about the candidate’s story before you start telling your own.
Even your structured interviews should be conducted like conversations, not interrogations. Prepare the candidate with the knowledge that all candidates are being asked the same questions and why. Do your best to bring a personal touch to each of your questions. Allow time at the beginning and end of your interview to interact casually with the candidate and answer any questions they might have.
#4 Fill your story with real life examples – Real people. Real situations.
At PACE we like to video interview our placed candidates and ask them why they selected the job and company they did. Our recruiters use these personalized testimonies in their recruiting stories.
#5 Authenticity matters.
Great story telling is not just about the story itself, but also about building a personal and trusting relationship with the candidate. The best recruiters don’t look or sound slick or scripted. They take a conversational tone. They put energy and emotion into how they tell their stories. They are honest. They are relatable.
# 6 Keep your story relevant.
Your story needs to evolve around a theme inspired by what the candidate has told you is most important to them. If you can’t find that theme in the company or job you are representing, it may not be the right job for the candidate. No story needed.
# 7 Get real. Highlight opportunities and CHALLENGES.
in fact one of the most compelling ways to engage the “right candidate” is to let them know ABOUT challenges they might be facing – the problems they will be asked to solve. Every job involves a unique situation or presents an obstacle that needs to be addressed and solved – a stalled project, a lack of diversity, the need for new ideas or perspective, the repair of a rushed implementation with angry customers.
A good recruiter hones in on those challenges in a way that makes them part of their recruiting story. A good recruiting story prepares a candidate for what lies ahead – which avoids those nasty surprises that can oftentimes lead to early hire terminations.
Talking about a job or a company in a positive light, will keep a candidate interested, but talking about what isn’t perfect about a job, what challenges the candidate will likely face once hired, will inspire engagement.
#8 Keep the WIFMs (the what’s in it for me reasons) front and center.
A WIFM for one candidate might be the opportunity to work for an extraordinary mentor who will help a candidate advance their career. For another it might be a super flexible work environment where work life balance is never an issue. For another the opportunity to join an elite team or earn a generous bonus for their contributions are the WIFMS. Whatever the WIFM, make sure the candidate knows what it is and starts to “feel it” emotionally.
#9 Think of Yourself as a Mentor…..
…someone who provides the candidate with the information, guidance, and inspiration the candidate needs to navigate themselves into that “just right” job. To earn that kind of influence in a candidate’s life, stay focused on what’s important to the candidate – provide guidance that supports their career goals, not your recruiting goals. Celebrate the candidate’s achievements. Prep them for interviews with the inside scoop.
#10 Include the Team in Your Recruiting Story!
At some point in the process make sure the candidate gets to meet their new teammates and get firsthand experience what it might be like to be a part of the team. At PACE we typically recommend that our client invite a candidate finalist to spend time at the client’s work site – observing others doing their work , interacting with their potential teammates. And if you’re not quite ready for an on site visit, remote Zoom meetings with the entire team can be powerful way to start “team building” before the candidate is hired.
There’s a lot about story telling that we can’t cover in 10 bullet points…
…but we hope we’ve given you some ideas to get started!
As you can see from the ideas we’re sharing here, stories are an integral part of our recruiting process. One of the things the PACE team loves about what they do is the chance they get to tell the stories of their small to medium sized clients who don’t always have a way to tell those stories on their own. Although we use job descriptions, trips to web sites, and will pull out carefully crafted mission statements we can send off to prospective candidates, none of these tools have the same influence as a well-crafted story. In truth, we think that our role as a third party recruiter, allows us to tell our client’s recruiting stories differently (and better) than they can tell them on their own. We think our type of story telling makes a difference!
So, if you’re an employer looking for a partner who can tell your story well, you’ve come to the right place. We take pride in the fact that the way we tell our client’s stories as “great places to work” has made us such a great staffing partner to so many Northwest businesses.
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing /recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest employers find and hire employees based on the “right fit” for over 40 years.
A 5-time winner of the coveted “Best in Staffing” designation , PACE is ranked in the top 2% of staffing agencies nationwide based on annual surveys of customer satisfaction.
PACE services include temporary and contract staffing, temp to hire auditions, direct hire professional recruiting services, Employer of Record (payroll) services, and a large menu of candidate assessment services our clients can purchase a la carte.