4 Storylines to Tackle That Tough Recruiting Challenge

Picture a hiring manager who has come to you complaining about applicant quality for the open positions on her team. She believes that her team specifically provides a unique opportunity given its vantage point within the organization, and — while she’s tried to communicate this opportunity in job description text — the messaging is not making it through to top talent.

What’s needed in this situation is some story-based content specific to the hiring manager’s team. The stories driving that content should come straight from the mouths of the people on the team, so you’ll want to sit down with them to hear what makes their team special.

Let’s walk through four storylines you should consider trying to uncover in a situation like this, and we’ll turn to real-life content examples along the way:

1) Illustrate how the team contributes to the company’s pursuit of its mission.

Your ideal candidate will be someone who feels strongly about the company’s mission, and a great way to build a connection between the candidate and the hiring team will be to show the candidate exactly how the team supports the company in achieving its mission.

Ask the storytellers, “Can you walk me through a project your team worked on that you’re really proud of?” Then follow that up with, “How did your success in that project improve the lives of customers?” Cap it off with, “How does it make you feel to know that your team’s work positively impacts people’s lives?”

2) Explain what makes the team unique within the organization.

On top of all the great things about working at your company in general, is there something unique that members of the specific hiring team have access to? Ask the storytellers, “Can you tell me about a time when something special happened on your team that couldn’t really happen everywhere in the organization?”

Perhaps the team improves the processes that millions of people go through to receive healthcare, and as a result, the team gets a particularly large amount of visibility from the highest ranks of leadership within the company.

3) Highlight the people who make up the team.

Someone considering joining a team will want to know who they’d be working alongside if they got the job. The previous two storylines will start to give the candidate a glimpse into this one — after all, how team members connect with the company’s mission (No. 1 above) and what they value about their team (No. 2 above) say a lot about them as individuals.

However, there’s an opportunity to share more about the team members to facilitate deeper connections between the team members and candidates. What backgrounds do team members have? How do they get along with each other? What do they like to do for fun?

Maybe they love traveling and how it helps them learn about other people and build relationships. Perhaps they have an unexpected background given the team they now work on. These sorts of details will help candidates see themselves on the team, or perhaps more importantly, these details will …

4) Show how the team is not a great fit for everyone.

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The most successful pieces of recruitment marketing content are the ones that help some candidates self-select out of the process by recognizing that they’re just not a good fit. The same goes for team-specific content, so don’t hesitate to point out aspects of the team that wouldn’t work for everyone.

To some candidates, the thought of having a boss who’s an early-rising athlete and former strategy consultant might turn them away from the role. And that’s a good thing. The ones who remain interested are people who are more likely to succeed in that type of environment.

As you start talking to team members, keep in mind that the goal with your team-focused storytelling should be to give a complete picture of working on the team, but not at the expense of the company’s employer brand. The content you create for the specific team should build on the company’s employer brand, rather than compete with it.

 

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Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson is a co-founder and partner at Stories Incorporated, where he leads the client success team as it executes the company's story-based methodology -- which he co-developed -- to do amazing work for clients.

Before co-founding Stories Incorporated, he spent one year in Chile and Argentina starting a Latin America-focused travel e-commerce business called Bungolow. During his time abroad, he gained invaluable experience in all aspects of starting a business and learned a lot about his host countries and their cultures. He also has experience in marketing for a Fortune 500 financial services company.

He has a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Tulane University in New Orleans.