Winning Through Storytelling in Recruiting

Storytelling_OP_Blog_Kevin K

Being an excellent storyteller alone isn’t going to automatically make you a great recruiter, but it will definitely be the differentiator between being good and being great. When looking through my network and the parallels between high-performance recruiters and high-performance sales professionals, the ability to successfully tell a high-impact story is indistinguishable.  

I am well aware that the debate between sales and recruiting is touchy.

I know there are arguments on both sides, but I am also aware that sales can’t exist without recruiting, and vice-versa. I’m also not here to debate either. I’m here to share a storytelling framework that I believe will make you more effective in the talent game and ultimately ‘win’ people over in other parts of your life outside of recruiting.

Predating my recruiting career, I took a storytelling course in college and early in my career, I went through a recruiting and sales training that completely changed who I was and how I communicated – ultimately, allowing me to authentically connect with other individuals.

In both situations, I was forced to share a personal story about my life that had nothing to do with the services being provided by my company. We focused on how to deliver information that would bring the audience’s imagination into a different place instead of the present moment.   

With a little bit of strategy, incorporating vivid details with the use of verbs, you can promote empathy, comprehension, and higher engagement with others.  

Here’s how you can incorporate a story in a recruiting call:

  1. Where the organization came from and how they got started. Begin by painting a vivid picture of how the company started. Focus on incorporating verbs to help set the scene and elicit empathy from the candidate. If you can, draw from the vision of the founders or senior leadership who built the organization. This step is crucial in developing trust in the founder and the values of the organization.  
  2. Roadmap the journey of the company to the present. Begin diving into what made the company what it is today. While it’s human nature to share only the good, be honest about a few roadblocks the organization encountered but ultimately overcame. Being vulnerable builds credibility because most candidates know that a ‘perfect company’ is like a purple squirrel. Too often, candidates are showered with all the good and then swiftly hit with the truth when they start.
  3. Where the organization is going (vision) and how they will be a part of that future. Employees generally want to make a difference and feel that they are making an impact. Yes, pay and benefits are important, but it’s the impact and recognition on which so many employers fall short. I can’t tell you the number of times I have ‘lost’ a candidate to a company that was able to sell a vision over a higher salary. By clearly laying out the company’s vision and how the candidate will be a part of the journey, you can create a mind shift from the past to future where they are an active participant.

Just like being great at anything, it takes practice to become a normal part of your speech pattern when speaking to candidates. If you can master telling a story, it can help transform a pitch value proposition into a well-crafted story that drives results.


KKluge_Talution_OP Stay connected. Kevin Kluge is a Recruiting Team Lead, Account Manager, and Salesforce Specialist, at Objective Paradigm. His work with Talution Group’s Salesforce Practice has him identifying and placing technology professionals in the Chicago Market and across the US. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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