Getting great employee stories for your career site starts with planning your interview questions. How you get employees talking is the most important factor to creating great Recruitment Marketing content that will make your employer brand memorable and attract the right candidates.
To learn best practices for capturing compelling employee stories, I spoke with Lauryn Sargent, co-founder of Stories Incorporated. Stories Incorporated (a Rally sponsor) is a recruitment marketing content agency that works with employers like CVS Health, Dell and Digital Federal Credit Union to create employee stories for videos, blogs, social campaigns and job descriptions—anywhere candidates may be searching for more information about what it’s like to work at a company.
Stories Incorporated has created more than 1,000 employee stories, so they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Here’s Lauryn’s key insights:
What Not to Ask
- Avoid simple questions like, Why do you like working here? It won’t draw out a personal story that will connect emotionally with candidates, and if the employee leaves, it may no longer be appropriate to keep using the story.
- Don’t ask Yes/No questions. A Yes/No question will instantly stop the employee from talking after they’ve answered yes or no — which means they’re no longer storytelling and no longer providing you with usable content.
- Caution employees against speaking in company jargon that only an “insider” will understand. It may make the employee sound smart internally, but to a candidate, it can feel like they won’t belong.
The 4 Best Questions to Get Great Employee Stories
- What was the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to work here? This almost always elicits a “feel-good” story that is personal and that reflects a positive attribute about the company’s mission, culture or values. A great example is this story from a CVS Health employee, who was proud to work for CVS the day it announced it would no longer sell tobacco products.
- What was your best day at work? Asking employees to describe their favorite day working at your company lends itself to a story (sometimes funny) that can make candidates think, I want to be part of that! This video interview of Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) employees shows its spontaneous culture that doesn’t seem typical of a bank.
- What’s something that happened that can only happen here? This question is an opportunity to showcase what’s unique about your culture or the work you do. But it requires the employee to put a little thought into an answer, so Lauryn suggests providing this question ahead of time. A moving example is this employee story from Sodexo about providing a special meal.
- What are you most proud of? This is a question that gets to the heart of a company’s “why” – why does the company exist, and why do employees work there? It can prompt an employee to describe what’s fulfilling about their contribution to their team, the company, its customers and the community.
Lauryn said storytelling is a powerful form of communication because it’s like implanting an experience in someone else’s mind. When you tell a story, a part of your brain lights up. For the listener, that same part of the brain also lights up as they hear the story. People not only remember the story, they “feel” it and have an emotional connection to the storyteller. This helps candidates connect with your employees, and imagine themselves in your employees’ shoes.