Employee Storytelling Recruitment Marketing

3 Storytelling Tips to Boost Your Social Content

Recruitment marketing storytelling tips
Profile photo of Jason Kent Crowell
Written by Jason Kent Crowell

Learn how to create employee stories that grab candidates’ attention while communicating your key messages through social media.

3 Storytelling Tips to Boost Your Social Content
5 (100%) 2 votes

Cutting through the noise online is tough.

Recruitment marketers can have a hard time competing with products, brands and messages all vying for our audience’s attention. Reaching prospective candidates and getting them to act can be a real challenge.

To address this challenge, we’ve studied what types of messaging gets attention online. Here’s what we’ve found:

Storytelling is an extremely effective tool in marketing any message, so we’ve applied the idea in our Recruitment Marketing strategy. To get in front of candidates and motivate them to take action, we have found that we need to share a story that grabs attention, makes a human connection and communicates our key messages.

Stories capture people’s attention and can connect them to your brand. In fact, messages that are delivered as stories are 22 times more memorable than messages you deliver in another format!

So, how do you tell a good story in Recruitment Marketing? Here are 3 tips that we’ve found to help break through the digital media noise and connect with the right audience.

1. Focus on the narrative arc

Good storytelling starts with a strong narrative arc. When you’re evaluating an employee blog or watching a recruitment video, consider if the content has a storyline: a central conflict, some build up, a climax and a conclusion.

You won’t fit every piece of the story arc in every touchpoint, but you’d be surprised at how much Recruitment Marketing content has no narrative at all.

This is a missed opportunity because if you don’t have a narrative, you’re not telling a story. And without the story, you lose the human connection (you end up being the noise).

To build out a video story arc, you can start with storyboarding, which involves visually fleshing out what you want to communicate in terms of timelines, structure, scenes and script. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get started with storyboarding, you can take a look at this storyboarding blog and video by Crazy Egg.

Consider creating a checklist to ensure that your longer-form content (whether written or video) has a narrative arc of some kind. Here is an example of a storytelling checklist — but you might want to modify yours based on the types of stories you produce.

2. Cast the employee as the hero

One of the most effective ways that we’ve found to connect with our audience and get them to take action is to ensure that our content is candidate-centric.

Audit your recruitment media. If it’s all about your company, your benefits, your perks, then you’re making the company the hero, not the people. When you turn it around, you can really bring your media to life by appealing to emotions and making a human connection through employee stories.

Everyone is the hero of their own story. When we tell stories about them (the employee), not you (the company), it allows the candidate to insert themselves into the story making it their own hero’s journey. Our content is designed to illustrate what the journey might look like for them.

We do this in large part by casting our employees as the central protagonists or ‘heroes’ in the stories we tell. Candidates can learn about the company and imagine themselves in the employee’s shoes. The right candidates will relate to the employees currently doing the work.

Here’s an example of an employee hero in 60 seconds:

3. Tell the real story of life at your company

Today’s online content consumer is sophisticated. This generation knows when they are being advertised to, and often they block it out as noise. There’s an entire industry dedicated to ad-blocking. This may be why a story grabs attention better than rattling off a list of your company’s features and benefits.

We’ve seen Recruitment Marketing pieces that are so professionally shot or written, so corporately watered-down and so perfectly positive that the message says very little about the true employee value proposition (EVP).

A good employee story should show or tell something about the exchange – what you give and what you get – in this job. Working at any company will involve some bumps in the road, and if we can address some of that early in our candidate journey touchpoints, it can yield credibility.

And we’ve found that candidates appreciate a realistic job preview. For example, our company EVP includes providing a lot of freedom and autonomy, but in exchange there is real sacrifice. Our Drivers work hard; they’re often on the road away from home and family for long periods of time, and they do need to deal with difficulties on the road — winter driving, getting dirty, traffic conditions.

We include these challenges in our Recruitment Marketing collateral for two main reasons.

  1. It’s good storytelling, which attracts attention and connection.
  2. It filters out a lot of the wrong applicants.

Frankly, we don’t just want more applicants, we want the right amount of qualified and interested applicants – applicants that have heard about some of these challenges and are still saying they want to learn more. Sharing the real story gives people the chance to identify if this job or company is the right fit for them – before we waste each other’s time. They can self-select IN or OUT.

Here’s an example of how we tell “real” stories to our candidates:

If you’re able to tell an engaging story in a way that attracts the people who will be a good fit and deters those who will not, then you’re doing the work of a good Recruitment marketer!

And by following these 3 tips you’ll be well on your way to creating your own captivating employee stories. Just remember to ensure that your content has a clear narrative arc, casts the candidate/employee as the hero and is authentic. Do that and you’ll be sure to boost your success metrics.

Now go tell your employees’ stories!

Do you want to use storytelling to attract and convert the right candidates for your next Recruitment Marketing campaign? Watch the Rally Webinar On Demand: Evolve Your Employer Brand: Storytelling for Team Value Propositions.

3 Storytelling Tips to Boost Your Social Content
5 (100%) 2 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Jason Kent Crowell

Jason Kent Crowell

Jason Kent Crowell is Recruiting and Retention Manager at Brady Trucking, where he is responsible for talent attraction, talent acquisition, employee engagement and retention. He manages internal and external communications and all media, content generation, targeted ads, staffing systems development and training, employee advocacy and employee-generated content. Jason has over 17 years of experience in the talent acquisition industry, previously working for Links Logistics, Waste Management, Generac and Adecco Staffing. He is an early adopter of new HR technology, including Internet Recruiting '98, Social Recruiting '06 and Video for Employer Branding '09.

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