JournalSuccessful recruiting hinges on the stories we tell. Candidates ignore bad stories like you ignore Aunt Sally when she gets lost on a tangent for 15 minutes. And the particular stories we need to tell in recruiting – about the people on our teams, the impact of our products and services, our culture and the environments we work in – are stories for which text alone can’t do the job. If you want to craft narratives that influence candidates and help them quickly learn who you are and what makes you interesting, you’ll need visuals.

Five Ways Visual Storytelling Drives Recruitment:

1. Visuals demonstrate authenticity and activate relationships
When we watch a video or look at a picture, we develop an empathetic connection with the person behind the screen (see reason three for more information). Humans are biologically programmed to watch people’s faces – their eyes, their expressions – to relate to each other and form judgements. In fact, we have the ability to make over 5,000 facial expressions, which gives viewers a depth of meaning that influences how we feel about people and their message.  Paul Graham, who runs Y Combinator, baby facesrecently tweeted “One day someone will calculate the amount of information conveyed in facial expressions, and it will turn out to be enormous”. Instinctively, we draw on our memories, experiences, and past sensations to build an emotional connection with those featured in visual content.

The entire candidate lifecycle is explicitly oriented around relationships with people, so it is essential that HR and TA communications use mediums that will build trust to establish those connections. Visual storytelling allows you to resonate with talent because it is content that exudes authenticity and personality. Feature your employees with videos and photos to build a foundation of trust with your candidates and make it easier for them to picture themselves working for your company and with its people.

2. Stand out from the crowd

If you’ve crafted a poetic recruitment narrative, but nobody reads it, was it a good story? Our stories are irrelevant if we can’t get them to stick out to candidates, and that’s another reason visual storytelling drives recruitment.

wall of textMost employment branding and recruitment marketing processes are still dominated by text. Look at most corporate career pages. Look at any job posting. Look at offer letters, onboarding packets, etc. If you’re just using text heavy candidate outreach emails and bullet-point job descriptions, you’re getting ignored by the candidates you need to build relationships with. Monster, for example, has over 1 million job postings at any given time. You won’t have conversions unless candidates see your message.

And because the human brain can process a limited amount of data at any given time, data that can be consumed faster will take precedence. Using visuals as a medium to communicate to talent is your biggest opportunity to frame your story.

3. 10 visuals* (worth 1000 words) = lots more information in visuals

There are types of stories for which descriptions of places or experiences are best left to the imagination. Stories to recruit talent are not one of those types. You’re to open the door to the experience of working with you and find those who want to be a part of it.

Visuals can tell more comprehensive stories about the things we need to describe in recruiting: our people, mission, impact, culture, environment, etc. When explaining an office space for example, it can be difficult to describe everything without beginning to write a paragraph of information. However, a photo or  video of your office space, can immediately deliver that same message in only a few seconds.

Consider how you might introduce someone on your team to a candidate. As an example, here’s an introduction to Karla Abea, a Customer Success Manager at Zoomforth:

Hi! I am Karla, I am the Customer Success Manager here at Zoomforth. Some fun facts about me: I was a complete tomboy when I was a little kid. I didn’t like dolls, I liked playing in the dirt and running around. I was actually the first female pitcher in my little league, when I was about 10 years old. I want to promote having just real authentic conversations with our clients and customers about what is going to be beneficial to them. That is one thing I like about Zoomforth, is that we are constantly soliciting that feedback. Something else that is a fun fact about me is that I was actually on a game show. I am not going to tell you which one it is, but I go ahead and welcome you to Google it!

Now take a quick look at the video intro, or even just glance at Karla’s photo.

The messages in both the text description and the video are identical, but the video conveys significantly more information. We get a better sense of who Karla is by emotive cues like the sound of her voice and her facial expressions.

Look, feel, tone, colors, expressions, emotion – these are all be important pieces of the story of working at your company. Don’t leave those chapters to the imagination.

4. Improve retention and conversion

On average, talent spends approximately 13 hours per week going through email – and that doesn’t include InMails and social recruiting messages. As candidates court different companies, you’ll want to stay top of mind. 40% of people will respond better to visual content  than plain text. Stories create images in the mind that improve learning and motivate a person to take action. In fact, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, 50% of our brain is active in visual processing, and 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes. This means that the more senses your content is able to engage, the more information is retained.

5. Stay relevant in the visual era

Shares Chart300 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute (compared to eight hours in 2007) and Facebook has increased in the number of videos posted to the platform per person in the U.S. by94% over the last year. Your candidates have already chosen photos and videos as their preferred storytelling medium.

Brands stay competitive by responding, adapting, and connecting to the emerging needs and behaviors of their target audience. Visuals are no longer an enhancement to your recruiting strategy; you can’t tell a standout story without it.

About The Author

chris murphyChris Murphy is the CEO of Zoomforth, the recruitment marketing software for the visual era. Zoomforth helps talent acquisition professionals at companies like Deloitte, AT&T, and Eventbrite quickly gather photos and videos and build beautiful, on-brand web pages that immediately show what makes them different.

*Article originally featured on the Glassdoor For Employers Blog