Admittedly, I like to tell stories, and if I may say so, this is one of my strengths as a recruiter. Storytelling can be a powerful tool in the recruitment process.
If you are embarking on a search to find a new team member for your own company or on behalf of a client, one of the first things I recommend (if you haven’t yet done so) is to think about the company’s story. If the company is a startup, you won’t have a lot of history to fall back on, but you can still have a compelling story...and perhaps even more so because of the excitement generated by a new venture.
Your story may start with the dream or vision that brought the company into being...or perhaps it was an unmet need in the marketplace. At what point and through what circumstances was the idea for the company ignited?
Another part of the story might include when the company was founded and its founding mission. Then, a brief history of what has transpired since the company began, including any metamorphosis of that initial mission. What significant challenges have been faced? Has the company survived a crisis or overcome a failure? What strides have been made?
I always like to include information about the founder and, if these are different people, then also the current CEO, especially as it relates to his/her values or background and how this has influenced the company’s direction and its culture.
Speaking of culture, this is an important part of the story. What are the underlying values that influence the company’s culture? What will a person experience as part of this company? The more you can help the person envision him- or herself in the environment, the more effective the story as a recruitment tool.
The part of the story to think through carefully is the series of events or the central event that led to the current job opening. What need is being met, what problem solved? If you are searching for a replacement for someone who was fired, this is certainly more challenging to the storytelling process than a position that is being created because the company doubled in size over the past year.
However, even if the circumstances are not particularly positive, you can offer a brief, candid explanation of what happened followed by the hopes for the future of the position. I am not talking about putting a positive spin on any shortcomings in the company that caused someone not to work out, but hopefully lessons were learned from the experience and this will be important to share.
A very compelling part of the story will be what the new person is expected to bring to the company. In six months, a year, or longer, how will the company be different because of this person’s contribution? Depending on the level of the position, you may want to narrow this down to one functional area.
If you cover these bases, you potentially have a great story to tell. It will involve some thought, more than you might have anticipated. However, I would venture to say that if you haven’t thought through these things, you probably aren’t in a position to conduct a truly effective search.
My suggestions aren’t meant to be exhaustive. What else should be part of the story?