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What’s the Difference Between Employee Testimonials and Employee Stories?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Recruitment marketers are often faced with the dilemma of determining which is ‘the right’ kind of employee focused content to use on company career sites, social media and in candidate communications.

There’s a right time and place for both employee testimonials and employee stories, but which is the right strategy for your situation? We’re breaking down the difference between testimonials and stories, and how to make the most of both.

There are two differences between an employee testimonial and an employee story: first, an employee story describes what the organization did for the person. And second, it also gives real insights into the employee experience as a whole.

In contrast, a testimonial describes how the employee feels about the organization and ultimately makes a recommendation as to why others should work there…or makes a recommendation for not working there.

So, which is better? Both serve an important purpose, but the way to determine their fit in an employer branding strategy is to figure out what it is that candidates want as they research your company and learn more throughout the candidate experience.

What candidates want

According to a Glassdoor survey, these are the top things that job seekers are looking for on a careers site:

  • Details on what makes the company an attractive place to work
  • Company mission
  • Company vision
  • Values

This tells us that candidates are looking for substantial details about the company culture and employee experience, not general statements that could potentially describe any company.

Tip: Go with the insightful story, not the generic testimonial.

Example of a Story: What the Organization did for them

It’s a given that employees work for an organization, but what about what the organization does for the employees? This isn’t necessarily a given, and if your organization also works for the employees, you’ll want to share the stories that show what the organization did for that person.

Here’s a story about what BAE Systems did for Joanne:

Example of a Story: Insight into the Employee Experience

Here’s a story about a Sodexo employee fulfilling a customer’s last wish:

The unintended consequences of using employee testimonials instead of stories in recruitment marketing

Glassdoor reports that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect before taking the job. Employee testimonials do not provide a clear picture, which can often contribute to the wrong fit.

Testimonials are filled with adjectives which can be subjective. Words like “transparent” and “flexible” are often words used to describe corporate cultures, but they can mean very different things to different people. Only stories with personal insights can truly help candidates select the right fit for them.

Employee Testimonial vs. Employee Story: A direct comparison from Stories Inc.

Employee Testimonial

This year, we filmed new content to update our careers site with current stories. Our Summer 2018 Marketing Intern, Brittany, gave an employee testimonial that provides a positive recommendation for Stories Inc.

Employee Story

This video shows insight into the employee experience, specifically the lengths Stories Inc. will go to capture a story. Our employee story captures the tangible actions we are willing take for your content.

Although Brittany’s employee testimonial provides positive adjectives to make it sound like an attractive workplace, it could have applied anywhere! Caroline and Christian’s story give specific details about the company that give the viewer insights into work ethics and culture.

Candidates are looking for specific details about your mission, values, vision, and what it is truly like to work at your company.

Employee stories allow candidates to envision themselves working for you because they provide a window into your company.

Employee testimonials are the bones. Whereas, employee stories give meat to the content.