Unleashing the power of storytelling: from around the campfire to AI-driven recruitment

Human beings have always been storytellers, and particularly our First Nations people. Without a written language they passed their history, behavioural expectations, and culture from generation to generation through storytelling. As the world around us changes and we spend more of our lives engaged with the online environment – and more time than we would like to admit scrolling on our phones – storytelling continues to play a fundamental role in capturing the attention of others. This continues to be the case when advertising for new roles, but your story must be strong to jump out at potential candidates. Even with more written content being created online through Artificial Intelligence (AI) software than ever before, people will still play a role in conveying stories to others. The ideas need to come from somewhere – and writing an ad that appeals to your audience is a valuable skill to possess!

A strong story is key to candidate engagement.
In the recruitment consultancy world as well as with most organisations, one of our biggest challenges is attracting staff. There is a lot written about how to write advertisements, such as this great article from the team at Mark Puncher’s Employer Branding Australia. In this, author Tahlia Robinson claims “even a small investment in crafting one good job ad campaign will deliver great ROI – helping you attract a high volume of quality candidates and make a great hire who stays and delivers”. Writing a strong story that captures the attention of who you want for your organisation sets you up for success. Better still, when existing team members share their own positive stories about your organisation through their networks with a link to your job ad, you suddenly appeal to new audiences. With all our communication platforms including LinkedIn, we have multiple avenues to convey want we want and what we can offer. But it all comes back to the same thing – we need to present a compelling story.

Remember, the way we access information is always changing.
Even 200 years ago if staff were required, they would ask around at the local market. When things got more sophisticated, they probably put something up on the market notice board, or local tavern. So, from the point of view of advertising for staff, again it’s the medium used to convey the message that has changed. The copywriting has become a bit more sophisticated, but we are still crafting a story to appeal to our desired audience.

AI to complement your story creation?
The way we write content will keep evolving, but people’s thirst for a good story will remain the constant. Think about Chat-GPT, and the marvels it has opened up. With this medium we are now moving into the realm of audio and video creation – even the ability to create very real avatars that will be very hard to differentiate from the real thing. Where will it end up – who knows? But it does make you wonder whether AI-generated prose will replace written stories as we know it. According to this article by Scott Tonges, the interaction between humans and computers will indeed change rapidly over the coming years, and those who embrace AI as a work ‘sidekick’ to leverage their time and creativity will outperform those who do not. “In the future; skills that might appear on resumes could be, ‘robust natural language prompt writing’ or ‘strong AI content co-creation skills’,”. What I take away from this is those who can build on AI-generated content will do well. But we will still need strong storytelling skills to know what will appeal to the target audience.

My point is it all comes back to storytelling. If you want to attract someone to work at your organisation you need to tell a story, about the role, about your culture, about why your business is the most attractive to work. It needs to be true, heartfelt, sincere, and authentic. To convey messages and to pass on information – it is all about telling a story people are eager to hear or read. While the methodologies have changed and the creative tools at our disposal are vastly different, storytelling remains. In that sense very little has changed. The key is ensuring your story engages your audience in the manner with which you want to inspire and involve. Tell your story in a way that ensures you have an engaged audience keen to learn more – and keen to click on the Apply Now button.

As always if you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

Happy recruiting!
Ian Hamilton

Photo by cottonbro studio