Employee Storytelling Recruitment Marketing

Use Storytelling and Data to Attract Purpose-Driven Candidates

Use Storytelling and Data to Attract Purpose-Driven Candidates

Learn how Shaunda Zilich, Global Talent Brand Manager at Qualtrics, implemented an attraction-led strategy, combining data and storytelling to attract purpose-driven candidates and creating an experience that keeps them engaged and productive throughout their employee journey.

Use Storytelling and Data to Attract Purpose-Driven Candidates
5 (100%) 4 votes

Hi, Rally community! My name is Shaunda Zilich and I’m the Global Talent Brand Manager at Qualtrics.

Qualtrics is a company focused on ridding the world of bad experiences for customers and employees. My team and I work with individuals across the employee journey—from candidate to tenure—to provide an experience that will keep them engaged and productive. We’re focused on sharing Qualtrics’ roles and people, alongside their purpose and passion, through compelling storytelling. Our team is obsessed with leveraging the data we collect along the full candidate journey to predict our organization’s talent needs so we can be proactive in our strategies.

Since I joined Qualtrics more than 2 years ago, the company has grown a lot! We’ve gone from 1,400 employees to 3,500+. We’ve also seen the number of applications increase from 4,000 applications per month to over 18,000!

This year everyone has had to adjust the way they work. At Qualtrics, we’ve had to get creative in the ways we recruit talent so that we can scale our efforts while also providing a positive candidate experience. Today, I’d like to share how we’ve reimagined recruiting by implementing an attraction-led and data-informed strategy.

What is attraction-led recruiting?

So, what do I mean by attraction-led recruiting? I like to use the analogy of finding a needle in a haystack. Instead of sifting through a bunch of hay to find one needle, we’re applying a magnet to a bunch of haystacks to pull those needles toward us (and get them to apply to our jobs!).

At Qualtrics , we can receive as many as 18,000+ applications per month — which in most cases can equate to a lot of transactional work for recruiters. However, if we want to find the best talent, while also providing a stand-out candidate experience, we have to change our approach.

Today, we leverage storytelling and data to attract the best talent and get their applications to the top of the proverbial pile, so that our recruiters can quickly engage with them, while also being able to decline unsuccessful candidates in a timely manner. Currently, our average application review time is under 7 days.

The changing candidate mindset

We’re in a new age of recruiting and candidate expectations have changed dramatically. I like to use my family’s career history as a good example.

Years and years ago, my grandfather worked at an automotive plant. He didn’t love his job, but it put food on the table — and that’s just what his generation had to do.

Then, when my father was thinking about his career, he knew he was good at math and science, so he thought it made sense to become an engineer. While he didn’t love his job, he was really good at what he did.

Now, for me and my generation — we want to be good at what we do, but we also want to connect to a higher purpose. We want to enjoy what we do and feel like it has meaning!

Like me, candidates today are passion-driven; so, if we’re not attracting talent to our mission and purpose, we’re not connecting with them for the long term. But, how can you make that passion and purpose come through in a job description? This is really tough to do — which is why employee storytelling and content have become super important.

Using purpose-driven storytelling and data to attract candidates

Today, our Qualtrics Life blog contains an extensive library of employee stories that do just that. We use these stories to demonstrate our passion, mission, and resilience that isn’t easy to communicate with a standard job description.

A great example of a purpose-driven blog is our TACOS blog. TACOS is an acronym for our values, and it stands for:

  • Transparent
  • All in
  • Customer obsessed
  • One team
  • Scrappy

In our blog, we asked our leaders which one of the TACOS is their favorite, which of the TACOS they see being lived out best at Qualtrics, and what is their favorite kind of taco to eat. Our data shows that people are spending an average of 6 minutes on this blog post and then actually going to apply for a role.

Qualtrics TACOS blog post

Qualtrics TACOS blog post which people spend an average of 6 minutes on before going to apply for a role.

We also collect “Why Qualtrics” stories from all of our employees. Right now we have over 500 stories that range from “a day in the life” to “life hacks,” as well as “why I do what I do.”

These stories help paint a real-life picture of what it’s like to work at our organization, but also tap into that passion and mission-driven narrative so that we’re attracting purpose-driven candidates who will stick around long term.

To help source these stories, we facilitate a 30 minute ambassador training workshop where we coach our team members on how to write their “why” stories. We then use our own platform to collect those stories and then turn them into blog posts.

However, the real key is continually hiring people based on passion and purpose to begin with! That’s because people with passion genuinely want to tell their story. We have a saying here that goes like this: “Qualtrics Life is the brand manifestation of our employee experience.” And that is absolutely true. It becomes really easy to sell your brand if you have a great “product.”

We use our own Qualtrics platform to understand the candidate journey so we can see exactly the source(s) of influence, what stories candidates are engaging with, how much time they’re spending on each piece, and what actions they’re taking.

The results? We learned that people are spending much more time engaging with our content than our job descriptions. And, we’re finding that more female-identifying candidates are applying from our blog content! This is really interesting from a DEI perspective and gives us insight into how we can continue to attract more women and URGs to our workplace.

"Why Qualtrics” stories from employees

“Why Qualtrics” stories from all employees are included on their website. 

The future of Recruitment Marketing

As we continue our journey to improve our recruiting initiatives, we’re looking more closely at how we can partner with our product marketing teams to create a better experience for candidates and employees.

This past year, for example, we demonstrated how employer brand and corporate brand impact one another. Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of customers and candidates have looked to see how employers treated their people. Customers want to do business with companies who do the right thing, while candidates are actively seeking out employment where they feel like they are heard and seen.

As a recruitment marketer, I’ve known for a long time that employer brand has an impact on the bottom line, but the pandemic has made this crystal clear to leadership teams. Taking care of the employee experience can lead to a better customer experience.

It’s a really exciting time and I look forward to continuing to find new ways that we can attract and retain talent! If you’re interested in chatting more about developing an attraction-led recruitment strategy, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Use Storytelling and Data to Attract Purpose-Driven Candidates
5 (100%) 4 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Shaunda Zilich, RallyRM Mentor

Shaunda Zilich, RallyRM Mentor

Shaunda Zilich is the Global Talent Brand Manager at Qualtrics, and a RallyRM Mentor. She believes in connecting to the purpose and passion of candidates and employees through storytelling and using data.

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