Tell a Story Only You Can Tell

June 21st, 2016 Vern Oakley

There are people finding purpose and meaning everyday from working at your company. Can you show it through their eyes?
“Recruiting” seems like a misnomer for the process of identifying and hiring top quality candidates. It suggests a transactional relationship in which candidates are persuaded to bind themselves at a specific rank to a highly structured organization – like military recruiting. Even more importantly, it implies that the process stops once the “recruit” has signed on the dotted line.

Many organizations now use the term “talent acquisition,” and perhaps it more accurately captures the approach we’re advocating – an organic, continuous process of attracting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining amazing people who will make a difference in your organization. Fundamental to this approach is the idea of your brand – explaining the most powerful ideas and beliefs that drive your company.

Ideally, if you make a video designed to engage the interest of potential hires, it should tell a story that only your company or organization can tell. We’ve all seen videos that drop a few buzzwords and employ some slick stock footage of happy faces – but that isn’t going to do the job of attracting the people you want to attract.

Fundamental to this approach is the idea of your brand – explaining the most powerful ideas and beliefs that drive your company and sharing them.

Here’s an example. A big part of KPMG’s culture is giving people opportunities, giving them resources, stretching their parameters, and ultimately doing a part in making them better people, not just better employees. KPMG chose video in this case because it was the most effective, quickest route to clearly express that message to potential employees.

KPMG wanted to inspire potential hires by introducing them to the company’s culture. Showing real employees in a candid roundtable discussion is like having friends on the inside, someone who will give you the real story about what it’s like to work there.

There are 9 videos in this series, each delves into a specific example of just how the company supports its people in a very real way. Part of the trick is casting the right people — people with good stories — but also putting them in a situation that shows their reality and a candidate’s aspirational reality.

Ideally, if you make a video designed to engage the interest of potential hires, it should tell a story that only your company or organization can tell. We’ve all seen videos that drop a few buzzwords and employ some slick stock footage of happy faces – but that isn’t going to do the job of attracting the people you want to attract. You need to be honest about your company’s strengths – to understand what you are not as much as what you are. And once you’ve crafted your message and captured your brand, you need communicate it consistently.

There’s no point of feeding potential hires a lot of talk about out-of-the-box, blue sky thinking and creativity, if the next thing you ask them to sit through is a twenty minute onboarding video detailing the 128 regulations they need to memorize. There’s obviously an important place for compliance and training – but everything you communicate should be set in the context of your brand message. Those regulations may be the bedrock underlying your company’s freedom and creativity. They may be an indicator of the vast responsibility and trust you place in new hires. Either way, it’s up to you to craft a resonant, consistent message.