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Storytelling Can Recruit and Retain Top Candidates

When you have a position to fill, you naturally want the ideal candidate. The one who checks all the boxes on your list of desired skills and qualities. But how can you locate this rare gem? As we all know, in today’s digital world, it’s no longer enough to post a simple ad on a jobs board or career site, no matter how enticing the offer is.

Yesterday’s recruitment techniques have been complemented by novel methods for finding top talent, and one them is storytelling. While the concept of storytelling isn’t new, it can be a powerful marketing tool when strategically used by Human Resources. Storytelling is the perfect way for a company to communicate information about its brand and its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) across all channels in order to find and recruit talents before the competition.

By telling the story of your company’s culture and values that reaches potential candidates wherever they are – on your website, on social media, or even simply when chatting with one of their friends (who just happens to be one of your employees!) – you’re far more likely to capture their interest and attract them to your company.

What are the elements of successful storytelling?

A study by ERE Recruiting Intelligence using research conducted by the Wharton Business School revealed that a persuasive story should have five characteristics:

  1. A narrative – there should be a clear arc to the story, consistent across all channels
  2. Authenticity – the story should be a demonstrably real, lived experience
  3. Detail – the story shouldn’t be vague or indecisive
  4. Meaningful Challenges – it should reveal how obstacles have been overcome in the past, and show candidates how they can grow
  5. Practical Tips – it should include some achievable steps or advice for candidates to take.

At Arkadin, when we created the brand positioning which underpins our careers site, we took these elements into careful consideration.

We began by asking ourselves the same question all candidates ask: “What makes this company a great place to work?” Our first step was to determine the key motivations for joining our company, especially in the eyes of millennials.

After some brainstorming, and a few surveys among employees and customers, our story began to emerge. We found that there were four elements to it: a blend of the rational and the emotional. Each element was needed to turn our story into a well-balanced brand – a kind of storytelling yin and yang.

The things that set us apart from other companies? We’re “Contagiously dynamic”, dedicated to providing opportunities for growth; we’re “Contagiously global”, with a truly international working environment; we’re “Contagiously empowered” because we encourage our people to be proactive; and most importantly, we’re “Contagiously inspired”, with a culture built around four shared values: Respect, Working Together, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Enjoyment.

Discover what makes you unique – and tell the world

To pinpoint what differentiates you from other companies, we believe you need to go behind the scenes. Because that’s where everyone’s uniqueness lies: in the true stories and experiences only employees can relate and share.

Once you discover these elements, they’ll become the pillars of your narrative, to be shared across all communication channels, giving you the ability to reach a greater number of people than ever before.

By using the voices of your own employees to tell your story, on your website and careers site and across all your social media channels, you’ll bring authenticity and credibility to your tale. Personal stories told by the people who work with you are precious and persuasive sources of information for candidates interested in your company.

And once you’ve acquired the talents you seek, storytelling can help you retain them. Because by sharing company events, personal news, and triumphs and successes, you continue to engage your employees and directly involve them in the ongoing story of your company.

At Arkadin, our Life & Careers Facebook page carries our story forward, with daily posts about our people, events, and advice about navigating the working world.

Storytelling benefits your people – and your candidates

A study by Deloitte showed that 90% of job candidates found stories shared by employees useful in making their decisions, and 67% of new employees said their decisions to accept job offers were influenced by employee stories.

“Employee stories are essential not only so that candidates understand what a post entails, but also so that they can pull out of the hiring process if they realize the post doesn’t correspond to them”, says Rajiv Bawa of Nestlé, USA.

In sharing our stories, we not only attract top talent: we also ensure that we get the right fit for the positions we seek to fill. In this way, we’re less likely to make mistakes and more likely to retain new employees.

When employees are invited to share their stories with others, whether customers or potential candidates, it builds a sense of community, and they’re more invested in their firms. According to clinical psychologist Murray Nossel, storytelling is an essential part of a company’s DNA. He believes that “HR benefits from storytelling because it is the key to bringing together a disparate workforce, especially one from around the globe.”

He adds, “It connects employees to their jobs, salespeople to their products, and teams to each other. Unusual, creative, and provocative, personal storytelling in business breathes fresh life into your company’s culture, mission, and identity.”

Storytelling has been such a powerful driver for Arkadin’s growth. We can’t help but believe every forward-thinking company can benefit from learning how to tell a great story.

About the author

Sophie Huss is the Global Director of Talent Acquisition & Training at Arkadin HQ in Paris. She has many years of in-depth experience in strategic and operational Marketing & HR in international environments. Fond of new technologies and digital transformation, Sophie uses her strong competences in digital marketing and lead generation to drive Human Resources (HR) to the digital world. In Digital Recruitment, that means employer branding, lead generation techniques applied to talent acquisition, central in-house talent acquisition organization, hiring processes, and deploying new HR Internal Systems, such as an Applicant Tracking System. For Learning & Development, it means developing onboarding and learning paths by job families, and deploying a Learning Management System (LMS) and global training programs. Building the Digital Workplace around the three pillars of Lifestyle, Workspace, and Tech Services is central to her philosophy, in order to transform and streamline Arkadin’s candidate and employee experience and lifecycle.

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