Rhona Barnett-Pierce


Storytelling for Recruiters: How Your Personal Story Can Attract Top Talent

I start almost every podcast episode by asking my guests how they ended up working in Talent Acquisition. It’s a great way to break the ice and get a guest comfortable, but a big part of why I ask is because I love stories. There’s no traditional way of getting into recruiting. So far, I’ve interviewed 13 guests, and none of the stories are the same. The only thing they have in common is that no one set out to be a recruiter. Either someone saw something in them and suggested it, or they literally fell into it.

GIF of man being thrown into a dumpster

I wonder how often TA professionals leverage their unique stories to build connections with candidates. We’re so focused on sharing the stories of other employees and showcasing company culture that we forget that our story is one of the best ones we can use to humanize our employer brand.

Think about it. If you’re a new grad or an experienced professional looking to switch careers, wouldn’t knowing that your recruiter used to be a circus acrobat be great proof that the company values diverse backgrounds? Imagine the connection you could build by sharing a story that shows you once stood where the candidate stands now.

What if instead of adding to the biased hiring hot takes out there and posting about how job seekers need to display passion and not be so focused on money, you shared that you walked into a staffing agency wanting any job other than flipping burgers and that’s how you ended up in recruiting? Wouldn’t a candidate be able to see that desperation sometimes leads to finding your passion and that your career can survive periods of desperation?

GIF of a man with a shocked expression and the words: "HOLD ON, WAIT, WHAT NOW

Connecting with candidates and stakeholders through storytelling is about them, not about us. We’ve all heard that advice before, and perhaps that’s why we focus on sharing everyone else’s story instead of ours. I’m not saying you should turn into the recruiter who only talks about themselves. But maybe, if we put our stories out there, we would attract candidates who see us as human and see themselves working at a company that values unique stories. It’s also a way to build trust and rapport with hiring managers and other internal stakeholders. And I know for a fact it’s a great way to attract great companies to work for.

So, why are we so afraid to share our stories?

Practical Tips for Storytelling

  1. Be Authentic: Share genuine experiences, even if they include struggles or failures.
  2. Keep It Relevant: Relate your story to the candidate’s journey or your company’s values.
  3. Balance is Key: Use your story to make a point, then pivot back to the candidate’s needs and experiences.

Benefits for Different Stakeholders

  • Candidates: Feel a personal connection and see the recruiter as approachable and understanding.
  • Hiring Managers: Gain trust and build stronger relationships with recruiters who are open and transparent.
  • Recruiters: Stand out in the crowded field of talent acquisition professionals and attract like-minded companies.

Your Turn, What’s Your Story?

Share your story! Next time you’re on LinkedIn or in an interview, try incorporating a personal anecdote. Let’s start a conversation about the diverse paths that lead us to where we are today.

I’d love to hear your stories! Reply to this email with your unique journey into talent acquisition, and I might feature it in a future newsletter or podcast episode. Feel free to share this email with your colleagues and encourage them to join the conversation.

Let’s show the world that recruiters are more than just job postings and interview schedules. We have stories to tell, and those stories can make all the difference in connecting with the right candidates and building a stronger talent acquisition community.

Talk to you next week!


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