• The Heart of Recruiting: Sound Bites vs. Storytelling

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    May 15, 2013

    by Sue Keever Watts

    Sue Keever Watts

    Brevity has become the guidepost of most marketing efforts today. In fact, brevity has become our new method of communication. It’s all about condensing messages into sound bites. Text messages, banner advertisements, and 30-second commercials are all we have patience for these days. Or are they?

    What happened to storytelling? We’ve forgotten the power of the narrative. When you talk with students about a career at your company, you’re not selling a timeshare in the Poconos; you’re giving them information that will have an impact on the rest of their career. There’s no place for brevity when you’re helping someone make a life-changing decision.

    During a focus group with students, I asked them what one piece of advice they would give a company to help them improve their campus recruiting efforts. One student spoke up and said, “Put a face with the name and show there’s a heartbeat inside.”

    You and your recruiting team are the face of the company. The heartbeat is the personal story you tell about your experience at the company. It’s one thing to tell students that your company has “excellent benefits.” It’s another to talk about how through your company’s tuition reimbursement program, along with the support of your supervisor, you were able to pursue a master’s degree.

    A story doesn’t need to be longer than two or three minutes; it just has to be real and honest. However, what you can accomplish in story form versus what you can accomplish in bullet points in a PowerPoint presentation are worlds apart. Accepting a job is an emotional decision, so don’t be afraid to share the emotions of a personal story when presenting your company.

    “Through our research, we find most new employees are excited, overwhelmed, and forget most of what is covered on their first day,” she says. “Examining what is currently included in your program and how it is shared can help shed light on opportunities to make updates.”

    Plessé explains that it’s important to think about what a new employee needs to know on their first day and separate out everything else to be taught later when the new hire is better acclimated and able to absorb new information.

    “Think about your company culture and what it is you want a new hire to know at the end of their first day, week, month, and year,” she advises. “Then, build your program accordingly.”

    Sue Keever Watts is founder and president of the Keever Group. 

The Heart of Recruiting: Sound Bites vs. Storytelling