“Facts tell – but Stories sell”. Content Marketing & Storytelling in a digital recruitment age.


Last week I was invited across to Sydney to present to the Common Wealth Bank of Australia Talent Acquisition team. I have to say I spent the day with some of the most capable, passionate and knowledgeable recruiters I have met (excluding of course my own world class team at ASB here in New Zealand). The off site was led superbly by James Elliott, and the team spent the day preparing for whats next and “around the corner” for recruitment.

Now the exciting thing about the time I spent with CommBank was the superb thinking and work already underway in the content marketing space. In particular, their CAN campaign, (beautifully illustrated in this video hyperlinked) tells their social story and about their relationship with SalesForce.com as an enabler distribution channel.  Furthermore, and in a recruiting context, take a look at this brilliant WOMEN CAN video which nicely intertwines their brand strategy into diversity and talent attraction.

cba CAN

This CAN campaign has a powerful authentic story, its real. Real people and who they are. I applaud the CommBank team for this work and am excited to see what they do with this next.

So where am I going with this? Back to my gambit that facts tell, but stories sell. Stories and authenticity are what we all remember and connect with the most. There are so many “employment brand” strategies that disconnect with corporate brand strategies. They can sometimes confuse the punter – the job seeker. This clever content marketing strategy – using the CAN campaign across a variety of distribution channels – really excites me.

Why am I so excited? Well this is it. Content Marketing and storytelling is an essential strategy for the modern Talent Acquisition professional. In our world, smart recruiters are expert engagers. They are Talent Poolers, Talent community curators and Talent tantalizers; offering a taste of excitement to candidates with carrot dangling new career opportunities. A really effective way to do this is via a multi-distribution channel content marketing strategy.

So what exactly is “Content Marketing”? Whilst trailing through twitter  the other day I came across an article in a tweet that perfectly summed it up:-

“…Content Marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behaviours…content marketing is the art of communicating without selling…”

This article showcases some really good examples of content marketing campaigns from last year. Have a read. Just love the #lookup British Airways campaign.

If you want to be really entertained, how about a look at this latest Football (no not soccer) mobile game that a fast food chain in Brazil has rolled out across their restaurants.


How cool is this? You can munch on a lump of cholesterol whilst scoring a goal with your pinky. Love it!

So here is my call to action for all recruiters out there. Get on the Content Marketing journey – fast. Start using a variety of channels and social platforms to tell stories and to get up close and personal with job seekers. Learn from what great marketers do across all industries and step outside of the shackles of HR, Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and see the bigger world!

If you can do this, if you can create engaging consistent and authentic content – you will be able to tell some compelling stories.  Facts may tell, but Stories sell.

fact tell stories sell




Digital Recruitment in a highly connected world

I had the pleasure of being invited to LinkedIn’s Executive summit that coincided with their latest Talent Connect conference in Sydney last week. It was a forum where LI invited 15 Talent Acquisition executives from across APAC and ANZ to get together and share some ideas, talk about challenges and take a sneak peek at LinkedIn’s future road map.

Consistent themes ran through the summit. Pan industry – from banking to mining to retail to insurance to Telcos to the rest – we all shared similar challenges.

At the very centre of most discussions were the challenges faced with becoming a digital employer. Traditional skill sets and job roles and even the traditional ways we sourced them are being thrown up in the air as new and emerging job functions, skill sets and roles are rapidly appearing on our landscapes. In the sales and service industries – how we all do business is rapidly evolving from an in person retail experience to an online on app and soon on possibly wearable environment.

There was general consensus that perhaps the traditional education bodies and tertiary education itself isn’t being able to keep up. Some of these emerging skill sets can be learnt in rapid fire 12 week boot camps for HTML5 developers, or through gaming in front rooms and internet cafes for other new techie geniuses of tomorrow.

So think long and hard about your recruiting and its sustainability. The days of the University “Milk rounds” may be dwindling in some areas. The days of people starting out at base level and earning their stripes may also be a wee bit more tricky for these new and emerging digital natives to tolerate.

We live and work in a highly connected world. Social platforms and communities are the orchestras that we conduct with our employment branding and marketing content. But hey – what an amazing exciting time to be a recruiter!

I can remember in the mid nineteen ninety years when Amazon became popular. At that time a really switched on recruiter I used to work with would mine Java development book reviews. In those early days many reviewers would leave their email addresses – and this little sniffer dog would then contact these people with IT contract opportunities based in the City of London. Ah the days, millennium bug and all that. The days when recruiters needed old mainframe skills to combat the end of the technical world and new web development skills to foster the future.

So what has changed? Well my old mate was an exception rather than a rule in those days. The rest of the teams I worked with were content to post on job boards or trail through their databases (card boxes in the really early days) and sit back and wait. These days if recruiters do that – internal or external – they are going to have a long time between celebratory drinks.

What has changed – global digital connectivity that’s what. Look at LinkedIn with its 300 Million membership. One person joining every second of every day! I was extremely lucky to have taken advice from my same old mate about LinkedIn when it launched. I joined in 2004 and in fact I got a “Special email” from LinkedIn being in the first 1% when they hit 1million members.

The sheer power of LinkedIn and other social channels is phenomenal. Within seconds a half decent recruiter can track down decent potential candidates. The new key to success is engagement with these easily available pools and converting them from passive to active candidates. The new key to success is to think like a marketer and establish your brand with your targets – sometimes over a lengthy period of time.

But perhaps the biggest change I can reflect on – since the Exec summit – is the amassing power of data now available due to the tenure of networks like LinkedIn. This platform has some exciting developments ahead. I wont spoil them all – but will hint to you that LinkedIn will become a recruiter and career pathway “Big Data Big Daddy” in the very near future. Think about the information they now have. They can track 10 years plus of career moves, career profiles, career sources, best career pathways and best educational institutes that lead to career outcomes. In essence we will see LinkedIn become more of a predictive tool using its walloping data warehouse in the cloud to help employers and recruiters and the punters on LinkedIn themselves – the members; to understand, map, predict and determine career moves and pathways.

Like I said – what an exciting time to be a recruiter!!