Speaker Says Mission Statements Are Out, Storytelling Is More Effective Recruiting Tool

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By Caryn Freeman

Feb. 12 — Rather than using a mission statement, vision and list of values to recruit top talent, employers are better off creating a connection through storytelling, J.T. O'Donnell, founder and CEO of online career advice and job search magazine CAREEREALISM, said in a Feb. 11 webinar sponsored by jobs website Glassdoor.

“I think mission statements are out; they are abstract idealized expressions of what your company thinks that it does,” she said. “These talented individuals want to see proof, they want to see the third-party credibility. Telling stories proves you are what you say you are” and compels highly sought after candidates to feel a closer connection to the company, O'Donnell said during the webinar, “Developing a Culture Connection: Five Stories Talent Wants to Hear.”

She urged employers to ask themselves: “What does your company stand for? What’s the stake in the ground that the company will not waver from?”

To connect candidates with the company's culture, O'Donnell said, there are five stories organizations need to tell:

• Executive assets: Highlight the story behind the company. Show potential job candidates why you started your company.

• The employee spotlight: Make current employees accessible to like-minded candidates and introduce job candidates to your company’s “tribe.”

• The company “wow” factor: Highlight what makes your company great. Emphasize your company’s best traits without sounding self-important.

• The company fun factor: Entice candidates with those little things that make your company fun and unique. “If it's fun to your employees it's worth promoting, showcasing and sharing because you want to find more of the same.”

• Values spotlight: Highlight what your company stands for and what it prides itself on. The goal of this piece is to showcase your company values, ethics and beliefs.


Without a compelling story, O'Donnell said, employers may miss out on top talent. “If you don’t have that presence, you are telling these individuals that you are not tech savvy, you are telling them that there is nothing exciting to share about your company and you are telling them you may even have something to hide,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Caryn Freeman in Washington at cfreeman@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bna.com

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