How 3 Principles of Storytelling Apply to Recruiting

Posted by HealthcareSource Team

February 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Remember when we learned from Lisa Brock, VP of HR at Overlake Hospital Medical Center, describe the imagethat storytelling is a great way to improve employee accountabilityBrock explained how storytelling is useful for increasing employee satisfaction - from healthcare management to staff. Well, lucky for you, the concept of storytelling is also suitable for healthcare recruiters and candidates. According to Kathie Sandlin in Storytelling and the Candidate Experience, in addition to employee accountability, storytelling principles can help recruiters create a positive candidate experience. Here are three principles to ensure job seekers are informed and engaged during the application process. 

1. Begin with the end in mind

I bet J.K Rowling planned how Harry Potter would defeat Voldemort in the seventh book when she started writing the first book. Most writers plan the ending before they begin the story. The storyline must be engaging and easy to understand, much like your organization's online job applications. As Sandlin shares in her article, for every sourcing strategy, have an end goal in mind. Perhaps new talent management technology is part of your sourcing initiatives. Understand what those tools can help you accomplish. For example, applicant tracking software is a great way to simplify the candidate experience by allowing candidates to apply online and check their application status at a later date. Utilizing applicant tracking software makes it easier for you to communicate with candidates, keeping them informed and engaged throughout the hiring process. For candidates, the application is the first part of the story you're sharing with them. The goal is to get the right information from the application, while making the process efficient for candidates so that they'll get to the end. Apply for a job yourself to see areas where you can improve your application.

2. Understand your target audience

“HR has to be a bit more proactive because we’re not a revenue generating department,” noted Tyler Newton, Employment Supervisor at Sonora Regional Medical Center. "We’re a saving department, so if we can find ways to save the organization money through reduced turnover, that’s where we can really become a partner with the rest of their healthcare organization.” Think of your organization as a product you’re selling. As a recruiter, you are a revenue saver. In order to save money for your healthcare organization, you need to source the right people. Just like a successful author writing for a particular audience, to be a successful recruiter, you must understand who your candidates are. What job search portals do they utilize? Where do they spend their time online? Your goal is to connect with candidates where they already spend their time. Think about this: What's the best way to lead candidates to your organization’s job opportunities? For example, when trying to attract Gen Y candidates, you might have to connect with them through social media channels. Also, Gen Y candidates expect an online application process that will let them submit their information at the click of a button. This ease of use further establishes a positive candidate experience. Through conducting research to understand your target audience, you’ll be able to position your story to resonate with top candidates.

3. Create great content

You can't be a great storyteller without great material. Speaking in company acronyms and offering too many details in job descriptions will overwhelm candidates and result in a poor candidate experience. Great content is genuine. The content you create should educate candidates about your organization’s mission, goals, and culture - don’t just advertise job descriptions. Write a blog or post employee testimonial videos explaining why they love working at your organization. Laura Lavender, Recruiter at Children’s of Alabama, said, “Our career website is always evolving. We have weekly meetings with the recruiting team to identify how to reach out to candidates in ways that are respectful of all generations. We use videos, pictures, and stories to give applicants insight into our culture.”

Some organizations have created their own YouTube channel to distribute videos with testimonials from employees about their work, as well as messages from leaders like the Chief Nursing Officer or CEO. Children’s of Alabama uses patient story videos to demonstrate the care their employees provide and to highlight staff who helped children regain their health. If you haven’t already done so, utilize social media to build brand awareness and connect with job candidate prospects and engage current candidates. By creating content that resonates with them, you’ll be able to create better candidate relationships.

Don’t leave any room for miscommunication. Just like a written story, your recruiting and hiring processes must be clear, explicable and engaging to create a positive candidate experience. If a “reader” becomes confused, they might give up on finishing the book. 

Learn more tips and strategies for improving the candidate experience by downloading our white paper: Improve the Candidate Experience: 5 Best Practices for Healthcare HR.

Topics: Talent Acquisition