As the next generation of workers take over the workforce, small business owners and human resource professionals are struggling with knowing how to win them over and convert them into employees. A recent Forbes article I wrote found the “U.S. is experiencing extreme labor shortages with 7.1 million job openings but only 6 million job seekers.” In a candidate-driven market, it’s critical small businesses and HR professionals have a recruiting strategy in place.

It’s undeniable, the dynamics of the way companies and small business owners recruit has changed. Traditional methods that attracted older generations are repelling the new ones. This shift is forcing small business owners and HR professionals to revamp their recruiting strategies in how they attract and speak to the new generation of candidates.

Regardless of company size or industry, first impressions are crucial in attracting and keeping talent engaged. While larger companies have a budget to spend to attract key people, small businesses have tighter budgets and limited resources. This means they have to get creative in how they reach ideal candidates and engage them.

Here are the three ways small business owners and human resource professionals can use storytelling to attract top candidates.

Craft An Identity And Humanize The Brand

A brand interacts with its audience similarly to how a person interacts with them. It embodies a personality, an identity and uses communication and behavior to create an experience that resonates and connects with their audience. These characteristics help form the first impression.

Now more than ever, first impressions can make or break a candidate’s decision of whether they move forward with a company or ghost them altogether. The greatest challenge small businesses and HR professionals face with the new generation of workers is adapting to their needs and shifting their focus from a purely administrative mindset to a more personalized experience for both employees and candidates. This requires them to focus more on humanizing the company brand and using that to lead their recruiting strategy.

The reality is, customers don’t buy into the product or service, they buy into the story. Brands that are successful in creating an authentic story help to enforce the identity of a brand with human-like characteristics. This gives job seekers something they can connect to and desire to be a part of.

Appeal To Talent With A Relatable Story

Traditional recruiting practices once consisted of a one-sided relationship dominated by the manager and tolerated by the employee. This relationship-focused is less on the candidate and more on the needs of the company with little to no desire in creating a mutually beneficial relationship with the candidate.

In order to create a more inviting experience for job seekers, small businesses and HR professionals must take the lead in breaking down the hierarchy and promoting transparency on their internal culture. Age-old job descriptions have since been retired with a commitment to write descriptions that speak to candidates and not at them.

Successful job descriptions consist of three key pieces

● Helping the candidate visualize how they’ll fit into the company
● Understanding what their day-to-day will look like
● Seeing the positive impact their role will have on the company

Today’s workers crave purpose and feeling more connected to a brand. If employees struggle to communicate the brand of the company they work for they’re less likely to be successful in convincing others to apply. HR is now partnering with employees to help them gain clarity on the brand story and become brand ambassadors that can use storytelling to help job seekers have a clear picture of what the company stands for.

Create a Well-Rounded Team By Putting Culture First

In order to remain competitive in the workforce, companies realize they need to have a team with a well-rounded skill set. To do this, they must foster a diverse and inclusive culture with people from various backgrounds that complement and balance out the skills of the team. Accenture has taken the lead on this initiative by using their employees to speak about their culture through a project called “Inclusion Starts With I”, a YouTube series featuring their employees to speak about their experiences and perspectives.

HR can help create an inclusive culture by giving everyone a seat at the table to voice their opinions, share their knowledge and contribute their ideas. This will help to create a genuine and authentic relationship between the company and the employee. If employees feel valued and included, they’re more inclined to join the team.

Storytelling is an effective way to communicate the brand and culture with clarity to candidates and ideal clients. Companies can use storytelling to showcase wins, spotlight talent, engage audiences and drive their message forward through social media platforms and their own employees. Successful storytelling techniques are void of corporate lingo and instead use language that speaks directly to their audience.

Struggling to effectively use storytelling to attract top talent? Let me help. I love crafting content for startups and small businesses that make them stand out and capture the attention of top candidates. By identifying your values and goals, I can design and implement a recruiting strategy with content to match. Most startups and small businesses hire me to help build out their team and train people to take over. Is this you? Email me at and let’s come up with a plan that works for your business.