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It’s more than a story: what your best and worst days say about your workplace culture

Reading Time: 4 minutes Candidates are looking for the real deal about your workplace culture. You want to give it to them, by being as real as possible. So, you’re going to solicit true stories from a variety of people. Then, you’ll create a picture of the employee experience for candidates. You’re off to a great start! I work for a company that has gathered thousands of stories from employees about their experience at work. One of the simplest way to find the most effective and most telling stories is to focus on your storytellers’ best and worst days. Why does this work? Three reasons:

1. Relatable storytellers

You know you have a good story for recruitment marketing when a candidate imagines themselves in it. Suddenly they are experiencing your workplace: doing the commute, walking your halls, contributing to the purpose of your company’s work. Everyone has good and bad days in life, and at work, and sometimes in both places at the same time (yikes for the Super, Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day). By sharing these ultimate human moments, your storytellers are instantly relatable. I’ve shared this before, but a good example here if you missed it: Rae’s terrible day. The first story in this video talks features a CEO talking about when his daughter came to him after 9/11. It’s easy to put yourself in his shoes: What would you do? And then the story connects you to the organization’s purpose:

2. Insightful, meaningful company response

The real put-up-or-shut-up culture stuff is what your organization does when faced with good and bad news, in times of unexpected conflict, tragedy, or celebration. The same goes for how they treat their employees in their most vulnerable moments. After returning from serving our country overseas, Mollie Mae Potter returned to the US and had a difficult time transitioning. Soon she was living out of her car and struggling to find a job. Then she got a call from Dell.

3. Gray Areas can make great stories

And sometimes, a terrible day for you, is not a terrible day to the storyteller. That’s great! This is perfect when searching for the polarizing story, the one that is so distinctive and true, it detracts the people who’ll never fit and attract those who will thrive. When I was a recruiter, I interviewed a senior executive from Amazon. It was just after the holidays, and he told me he had delivered packages to customers on Christmas Day. Was this his worst day at work ever? No. It meant he was carrying out Amazon’s obsession with customer satisfaction. And that means that the every person regardless of position delivers packages on Christmas when there’s an issue. That either inspires you or detracts you as a candidate, so that makes a good story.

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This post originally appeared on Social Recruiting Strategies’ blog.