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The importance of empathetic storytelling in securing top talent

Storytelling is an integral component of the human condition. It creates connections among people and ideas, disseminates culture and values and has the ability to inspire across generations. We share an intuitive comprehension that stories are a universal common ground. They can be employed to great effect to expand meaning and knowledge. 

Storytelling can be used as an effective tool in recruitment. It gives you an opportunity to sell a role or company through more than just facts. Words are powerful and finding unique ways to entice the best candidates to positions has become a mandatory component of the trade. Whether it’s in the interview process or even a job listing, storytelling allows you to weave a more compelling argument. But remember, tall tales won’t do. You have to build empathy. 


The Harvard Business Review argues that every story needs to start by asking: Who is my audience and what is the message I want to share with them? It is fundamental to make this the bedrock of how you deliver your message. If you don’t put yourself in the other person’s shoes, it becomes an increasingly difficult proposition to build an emotional connection and trigger the appropriate response. Empathy gives recruiters an opportunity to take their candidates on a journey by humanising what they are trying to sell. 

But what is this best way to foster this? 

Keep It Simple

Clear and concise. It should almost be a cliché at this point considering it’s good advice in almost every walk of life. Not every story you tell needs to be edge-of-your-seat epic. Follow simple arcs that present the challenge, the overcoming of said challenge and a conclusion that drives home the core moral you’re trying to extol to a candidate. You want to immerse rather than alienate, so complicated narratives should be avoided. 

Be Authentic 

Stories that resonate come from a place of truth. As Forbes details, “transparency celebrates your uniqueness and acknowledges the human aspect of your brand.” A genuine approach is more likely to connect. Candidates will know if you’re trying to pull a fast one or oversell a position. Focus on building trust rather than dazzling with hyperbole. 

The Personal Touch

When a personal story is being shared, we unconsciously create an emotional connection with the storyteller and empathise with their message. Delve into your own experiences and use anecdotes to illustrate points or bolster information, making it more human and accessible. Anchor your stories through real people and events and show potential candidates that they are more than a cog in a machine.


Storytelling has the power to reach inside people and stir emotion. Just take a look at Hubspot’s infographic. It illustrates how storytelling activates seven regions of the brain, while data alone only activates two. Stories set fire to our imaginations, creating a sense of empathy between the recruiter and candidate, while also making pitches significantly more engaging. Empathetic storytelling is a hiring professional’s secret weapon. Follow the simple steps above, hook your candidate’s interest, build an emotional connection and secure that elusive top talent!


For more in-depth information on the use of storytelling in recruitment, click the link and download our latest e-book. Or, watch our own Holly Fawcett give you a brief promo about our dedicated course right here!

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