The Story Every Recruiter Should be Armed with to Do a Better Job

March 11, 2015

Recruiting is a form of complex, strategic selling. The best recruiters see themselves as solution providers. They help top talent looking for better career opportunities find those with their employers.

This takes exceptional skill. Today’s top talent are sophisticated job seekers. They know what they want and they don’t like to be deceived. They make informed decisions about who they want to work “with,” because they don’t believe in working “for” anyone. They evaluate an employer as much as the employer evaluates them. Savvy recruiters knows this – and uses it to their advantage. [This short Slideshare video explains how the ‘sophisticated job seeker’ is making your job as a recruiter harder.]

Savvy recruiters never rely solely on job boards

Looking at the Global Talent Spectrum, we know the talent you seek is on the high end of the spectrum, also known as “passive candidates.” They aren’t actively looking for a job, which means, they’re not visiting job boards and looking at job postings. They’re too busy working at their current employers.

Instead, they create interview bucket lists and, with quiet efficiency, monitor the employers they are interested in. A recent study by LinkedIn shows 70% of the professionals following your Company Pages are interested in working for you. Today’s sophisticated job seekers do their homework before applying. So, how do you get their attention?

Storytelling = secret to talent attraction

As savvy recruiters, we know getting top talent interested in us is the first step. To do that, we need a hook. We need to grab their attention. Impress them. Draw them in with a story that makes them feel connected to us on a deeper level.

At CAREEREALISM, we call it the “Tribal Story,” because of how it makes a candidate feel part of something special and important. If they can identify with your Tribal Story, they can see themselves working at your company. For years, savvy recruiters have been secretly using this technique to connect with hot candidates. They’ve mastered the art of storytelling in their emails and phone calls. The good news is, now every recruiter can learn to use this same technique to attract the right talent to their companies.

Here’s how…

Crowdsource your Tribal Story

First, you have to figure out what story will evoke the right emotions and inspire top talent to apply. The best way to determine this is through crowdsourcing. You can do this by:

  1. DIY Method - Surveying your existing staff and asking them to share what parts of the business inspire them to work for the company.
  2. Outsourcing Method - Hiring a specialist to help you define your talent brand and identify the story that will resonate best with the talent you seek.

Either way, the goal is to find the emotional connection between your employees and their work with the company – and then tell the stories that validate that connection. Fostering the bond between the two sides is what makes the Tribal Story powerful. The more you can showcase real examples of how employees feel aligned with your talent brand, the better.

EXAMPLE: The grommet offers “4 P’s” to passive candidates

Based in Cambridge, MA, The Grommet offers potential talent a Tribal Story to help them evaluate the company as an employer. The 4 Essential ‘P’s’ Of Your Dream Job, providers readers with a lot more than a glimpse into working at the company. Actual employees share insights into how they feel connected to The Grommet by defining the culture on their own terms. The company’s talent brand is revealed through the voice of its employees.

The best part?

Not every candidate will identify with what The Grommet has shared in this Tribal Story – and that’s a good thing! The goal is to be honest about who you are as an employer so that the right candidates will feel a more intense bond with your talent brand. This will get them to be proactive and reach out to you – and every savvy recruiter would prefer top talent knock on their door interested in what they are selling. Which leads to an important point…

CAUTION: Sophisticated job seekers know when you’re lying

Before you jump in and start brainstorming what you want to showcase in your Tribal Story, I offer a word of caution: The best talent brands aren’t created, they’re revealed. You can’t manufacture a corporate culture – your talent brand already exists. Bending the truth about what it’s like to work at your company will backfire. Even worse, having a distorted view of who you are as an employer (some executives are guilty of this), will lead to an inauthentic Tribal Story which recruiters won’t be able to use effectively.

If you can’t identify compelling aspects about working for your company to help you create a good Tribal Story, then it’s time to look internally at what can be done to improve the corporate culture so the talent brand can be elevated. Sophisticated job seekers can spot a fake fast. Once they do, you’re a blacklisted employer. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to have an accurate sense of who you are as an employer so you can convey it properly – or suffer the consequences!

FACT: One good tribal story can improve application rates by 25%

Once you have a good Tribal Story, you can share it with all those passive candidates on social media and build a strong inbound recruiting strategy. For example, a LinkedIn study shows posting talent-related articles (like your Tribal Story!) each week on your Company Page can increase applications to your job postings by as much as 25%. [For more tips on how to build an inbound recruiting strategy, you can download this free e-book.]

One story is all it takes to start recruiting smarter…

Recruiting is a challenging job. Providing recruiters with the right tools to help them do their jobs better is something every employer needs to focus on. Starting with a Tribal Story can help employers see the importance of showcasing their talent brand. Ultimately, this gives recruiters the internal support they need to find top talent more efficiently. Thus, I hope this article inspires you to engage your HR team in a discussion around creating your Tribal Story!


J.T. O’Donnell is Founder & CEO of CAREEREALISM Media which works with companies to help them reveal their true Talent Brands

*Image by Raul Lieberwirth

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