Have you ever created a job description that didn’t quite attract your desired candidates? Well, in today’s competitive job market, storytelling might be the secret ingredient missing from your recruitment marketing strategy.
Studies consistently show that our brains are wired to remember information through stories rather than facts or data.¹ Stories evoke emotions, build connections, and make information memorable. There’s a writing technique called “show, don’t tell,” where the story and characters are conveyed through sensory details and actions. Think about your favorite movies or captivating articles you’ve read – they all have one thing in common: great storytelling!
So, if this art of storytelling can be integrated into different aspects of our lives, how can we use it in recruitment?
Storytelling in Recruitment: A New Approach to Writing Job Descriptions
Picture this: You’re reviewing a job description for a role you might be interested in and see nothing but a long list of requirements and duties. Nothing captivates you or anything that sparks joy. Or there’s nothing that tells a story of what it would like to work at this company. Chances are, you’ll quickly move on to the next posting or apply, not caring whether you get the job. When a job description lacks the storytelling element, it’s not an engaging experience.
Now imagine a job description that conveys your company’s employer brand, culture, values, and job prospects to potential candidates. It involves helping candidates visualize what life would be like as your employee through written text. This is the exact picture you see when you think of why you work for the company you’re working for. It’s what makes you stay in your company, what makes you wake up every day and do the job you do, and why you want to attract others into working in the same space as you.
That’s how we can use storytelling in recruitment to engage the candidates we want to attract to our team!
Elements of Effective Storytelling in Job Descriptions
Just as a good story consists of characters, plots, and twists, effective job descriptions consist of the following:
- A Hero. In this case, your ideal candidate is the protagonist.
- The role and its purpose. Why does this job matter?
- The company’s culture and values. What makes your organization unique, and why is it a great workplace?
- Opportunities for growth and future possibilities.
Crafting a Compelling Job Description
Wondering how you can tell a unique story with your job description? Here are a few tips:
1. Put Yourself in The Candidate’s Shoes
Imagine you’re planning a surprise party for a close friend. You don’t just randomly pick decorations, food, and music. No way – you put thought into it! You consider their personality, likes and dislikes, and what would make them genuinely happy. Understanding your friend’s preferences is remarkably similar to the first step in crafting captivating job descriptions.
Think about your ideal candidates, what makes them tick, and the qualities they seek in an employer. Every job seeker has pain points, whether it’s the frustration of a long commute, the desire for a better work-life balance, or a yearning for more creative freedom. Identifying these pain points allows you to address them in your job description, showing you understand and care about what candidates seek.
The true magic of knowing your audience is the ability to engage them emotionally. Just as you’d select party elements that tug at your friend’s heartstrings, your job descriptions should resonate on a personal level. When candidates read your job description and feel like you “get” them, it creates an immediate connection.
2. Start Strong
Your opening statement plays a significant role in capturing candidates’ interest because it sets the tone for how exciting they perceive the job description. You know how the first sentence of a great novel can draw you in? That’s what you need to do with your job description.
Instead of the same old “XYZ is looking for a content writer to join the team,” why not take candidates on an adventure by starting with a bold statement or a thought-provoking question that sparks curiosity?
- “Do you dream of a workplace where innovation is the air we breathe, collaboration is in our DNA, and every day is a chance to make a difference?”
- “Are you a Web Developer looking to challenge your skillset, develop meaningful products, and be part of a ‘best places to work’ team?”
The goal is to capture your reader’s attention and emotionally connect them to the role. You want them to feel like they’ve stumbled upon the adventure of a lifetime, making them think, “Yes, that’s me!” and “I’m in!” And, if the content doesn’t resonate, you both know the role is not for them.
3. Help Candidates Envision Themselves in the Role
Typically, job descriptions highlight the responsibilities and qualifications required for the role. But sometimes, two or more functions mix up in one position. This may be the time to return to the drawing board and determine which responsibilities should remain and which should be considered for another role instead of putting too many responsibilities on one person.
With storytelling, it’s a different approach. To create a description that connects with and draws people in, personalize it to your ideal candidate. Let them feel like they’re in the middle of a one-on-one chat where you’re telling them what to expect on the job, the impact they’ll have, and how they can grow on the job. And it all sounds like music to their ears!
“As our Project Manager, every day you’ll be responsible for leading high-impact initiatives that drive innovation, serve our customers, and help the company deliver on its promises.”
They need to know precisely what is required, and you can do this by adding clear details of the responsibilities or what a “day in the life” of this job would look like.
4. Showcase Your Company Culture
Company culture is the heartbeat of any organization, and guess what? Candidates care a lot about it! According to research by Glassdoor, posted in The Washington Post, 77 percent of job seekers consider work culture when looking for a new job. Don’t overload them with general company descriptions that they can find online. They have the internet and can (should) do some basic research.
Instead, provide a peek into your organization’s culture and how it manifests in day-to-day work. For example: “At XYZ Company, we believe in teamwork and collaboration. Every project we work on includes multiple cross-disciplinary team members coming together to create something great. We are truly better together!”
5. Use Your Organization’s Selling Points as a Secret Weapon
Using key selling points shows off your organization’s best and most unique features, making it an irresistible destination for candidates. These goodies make your job opportunity stand out in a crowd and draw in suitable candidates like a magnet. This could include company mission, career growth prospects, a supportive work environment, competitive salary and benefits, flexible work options, community initiatives – whatever authentically makes your company different.
You might think these things aren’t a big deal, but they really matter. According to Zety’s 2023 HR Statistics, 74 percent of job seekers want to see salary details in a job description, while 61 percent are all about that total benefits package.²
About 74 percent also said they prefer job opportunities that allow them to express their experience during the hiring process, and 67 percent value a more empathetic tone in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) statements.³
So, whatever gives your organization a competitive edge, include that in your job descriptions. This can help ignite curiosity and enthusiasm in potential candidates, inviting them to explore whether you are a good fit for them.
Don’t Forget to Keep It Concise and Specific
In your effort to create captivating descriptions, remember that less can be more. Think of it as crafting a well-told story. Your job listing should authentically represent the role and your company, not a mishmash of buzzwords and corporate jargon.
Use everyday language to convey the role clearly, replacing vague statements and fluff like “synergy optimization” and “paradigm-shifting.” And don’t fill it with jargon or abbreviations only known within your company or industry. Instead, craft a good story – clear, concise, and compelling.
7. Encourage Candidates to Take Action
As we wrap things up, don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted Call to Action (CTA). Think of it as the grand finale of your narrative – that moment that encourages candidates to take action.
Don’t be shy about it! Sometimes, people need to know what steps to take next. Encourage them to apply with phrases like, “Ready to embark on this exciting journey with us? Click ‘Apply Now’ and let’s talk about bringing your skills to our team.”
Keep your application process as simple as possible. The last thing you want is for them to get lost in a maze of forms or links. A well-placed CTA ensures that the candidate’s next step is crystal clear and makes them more likely to take action.
FIND YOUR NEXT IDEAL CANDIDATE WITH PORTFOLIO CREATIVE
You know how crucial employees are to making a business thrive, right? Well, imagine finding just the right person for your team when and where you need them! At Portfolio Creative, we have a large network of talented marketing and creative people ready for that next opportunity.
Whether you need someone for a quick project, a long-term partnership, or a permanent role, we’ve got you covered. And guess what? We’ve already done all the heavy lifting by vetting candidates, so you can easily choose the perfect match for your needs. Contact us today, and let’s chat. Your next creative superstar might be just a click away!
1 Niels Kramer. “Integrating Science: How the Human Brain is Wired for Stories.” LinkedIn, 18 May 2023, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/integrating-science-how-human-brain-wired-stories.
2 “2023 HR Statistics: Job Search, Hiring, Recruiting & Interviews.” Zety, 29 Sept. 2023, https://zety.com/blog/hr-statistics.
3 Raposo, Devin. “9 Telling Candidate Experience Statistics That Can Help Refine Your Hiring Process.” LinkedIn Talent Blog, 21 Oct. 2021, https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/stats-key-to-providing-great-candidate-experience.