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Once upon a Time: How to Use Storytelling to Attract Top Talent

People of any age can’t resist a good story, whether it’s the fairy-tale movies of our youth, sagas about wizard boys or Netflix binging. Stories make for wonderful entertainment — but they’re also an effective way to show potential candidates why they should work for your company.

After all, today’s job seeker is often distracted and overwhelmed with options. Using storytelling that’s compelling and consistent helps build an effective employer brand — the messaging about your company that appears on all channels, from your website to social media to the Indeed company page.

In a recent series of interviews conducted by Indeed about the hiring process, one job seeker said this: “There are some companies that instantly stand out to me as places where I’d love to work. You can almost feel what it’s like to work there just by reading the job description.”

Wouldn’t you love it if they were talking about your company? To connect with candidates through storytelling, you’ll need to include the elements of a good story: a personal connection, conflict or struggle, interesting characters and a great setting.

Make a personal connection

Today’s candidates are looking for a personal connection with a company — 65% of job seekers  surveyed by Indeed in 2017* said they would feel connected to a company with a mission or vision that resonates with their values and beliefs.

To start crafting the story that will resonate best with job seekers, here’s a simple exercise: think about your company’s story and why you feel personally connected, and then create a list of words you would use to tell that story.

Now, pull up your careers site or the description of a role you’re trying to fill. Do the words in the posting match the words you wrote down? Are the best parts of your company’s story highlighted? If not, it may be time to consider a change.

Introduce conflict, adversity or struggle

Clarify the problem your company is solving by including an element of conflict, adversity or struggle. This also creates dramatic tension that makes the job seeker want to keep reading to see the resolution.

The “our stories” video series by the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) is a great example of this. HCZ is a comprehensive educational and social support system that includes schools and family, community and health programs in Harlem, New York. It began as a one-block pilot project to address serious issues in the community such as inadequate housing, drug use, poor schools, violent crime and severe health problems. Today, it occupies 97 blocks and serves over 25,000 people.

The videos feature personal stories of how HCZ has helped staff and students overcome difficulties to succeed; for example, founder Geoffrey Canada shares how he grew up in a dangerous environment and vowed to help other kids if he ever made it out. The videos appeal to the emotions of the viewer and immediately draw a connection between the problems HCZ is solving and the importance of its work.

Think about the problems and challenges you tackle — they may not be as…

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