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Talent Talk: Successful Recruiting Is Storytelling

Image courtesy of Reeldeal Images/Adobe Stock business exec talking to young people
If you want to recruit top performers in a tight labor market, bring back the lost art of storytelling.

Storytelling traces its roots back to ancient times. Stories are typically told for informational or educational purposes, or for entertainment. Storytelling can be either oral or written. Some of the earliest evidence of stories comes from cave drawings in France, which date as far back as 30,000 years ago.

Oral storytelling is telling a story through voice and gestures. Like storytelling itself, the tradition of oral storytelling is ancient and crosses cultures. The oral tradition can take many forms — epic poems, chants, rhymes, songs, and more. It can encompass myths, legends, fables, religion, prayers, proverbs, and instructions.

Epic poems, like the Greek Iliad and the Sumerian Tale of Gilgamesh, were first recited and passed down by word of mouth, and only later written down.

Major events such as the invention of the printing press, and more recently the internet and smartphones, have relegated storytelling to the archives of history, but if you want to recruit in today’s labor-short market, it is time to bring back the lost art.

Human nature has not changed just because the technology has. We are still drawn to a good story. It allows the listener to gain empathy with the storyteller, and studies suggest that the more compelling the story, the more empathetic the teller becomes.

“A good story makes you feel something and is universal. They want to grasp your values and your commitment to excellence; be inspired and intrigued. Storytelling is the most powerful way to convey these ideas.” — Mark Truby, Vice President of Communications,
Ford Motor Co.

Being a great recruiter for your company means being able to tell a great story. Your audience is the most successful, innovative, and dynamic leaders in the plastics industry. They have a good job with a good company, a track record of achievement, are happy and well compensated.

So, your story needs to be compelling. It must whisk them off to a far-away land where they will have superpowers, and anything is possible. Or at least describe strategies for growth, innovative new products or markets, opportunity for advancement, and how your company appreciates its employees.


About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at [email protected].

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