Recruiters Need To Be Storytellers, with Top Recruiter’s Chris Lavoie
The “Top Recruiter” creator explains the show’s new season, reveals why recruiters should watch, and shares insights on how storytelling attracts talent. Tweet it
Chris Lavoie is creator and executive producer of “Top Recruiter”, the much-discussed web-based reality series launching its two-part fourth season dubbed “Reign of the Bosses”, on Sunday, November 22nd.
We sat down to discuss the new season, why recruiters should watch, what he’s learned about recruiters since creating the series, and why storytelling – a skill he’s deeply familiar with – is so important to talent acquisition.
“… Every single moment that you spend with someone, there is a feeling tied to that.”
Why should someone in talent acquisition watch “Top Recruiter, Reign of the Bosses”?
If you love thrillers, you’ll love “Reign of the Bosses”. It’s a mind game; we placed the competing recruiters – the candidates – in a human experiment. We tested the core of who they are as people, to see how they react under specific circumstances. It’s all about finding out who they are as talent professionals and as people.
“Top Recruiter” was originally created during the 2008 recession to help people looking for work; what’s the driving reason behind the show in 2015?
Originally, we wanted to create a show that could help the audience by showing them what recruiters do and the value they create, along with ways they could be more proactive as job seekers. So there was a strong purpose, packaged in a way that was fun to watch.
Our focus isn’t so much on the job search anymore, because it’s the recruiting industry that has become our core audience. Our focus now is on how to become a better person. Because if you spend time working on improving different areas of your life, you’re going to be better at what you do. That’s whether you’re a recruiter, or you do any other type of work.
Where does it go from here?
We’re in pre-production right now for season 5, which will pit North American recruiters versus European recruiters. We’ll be filming in France and the U.K. Recruitment industry veteran James Caan, of “Dragon’s Den” fame, is on board, along with Recruitment Entrepreneur-founder Amy Golding, Opus Recruitment Solutions CEO Darren Ryemill, and talent management leaders from Sony Music and Spotify.
“… It’s about sharing with people in the industry how the very best talent professionals are achieving their success.”
What have you learned about recruiters along the way, producing the series?
Recruiters have a need to connect with people. They’re very confident, and they’re able to assess people within the first few seconds of meeting them.
I’m lucky to spend my time around the top people in the field, the real shining examples. These recruiters literally just want to learn from people and share with people. Chad MacRae is like this, and I actually think that’s why he won in season 3. This is really the whole point of “Top Recruiter” – it’s about sharing with people in the industry how the very best talent professionals are achieving their success.
You’re a storyteller. Is there room for storytelling in recruiting?
Yes, absolutely. The first time I talked with Jennifer Hasche from Intuit, she blew me away because she told me that they’d stopped hiring recruiters and started hiring marketers. I thought, “that’s genius.” Marketers understand storytelling. They understand audience data and using that data to create a message that generates traffic, captivates, resonates and fills more jobs.
“Stop looking at recruitment as just a process, and start looking at your candidate’s feelings.”
How can recruiters become better storytellers?
One of the lessons I’ve learned is that every single moment that you spend with someone, there is a feeling tied to that. Stop looking at recruitment as just a process, and start looking at your candidate’s feelings. You need to ask yourself: “what do I want my candidate to feel when they read my email, or when they’re having a conversation with me?”
If you can understand what you want that feeling to be, then you can deliver your message in a way that will deliver it. Maybe even write down that feeling you’re aiming for and put it somewhere that you see it every day. When you succeed at doing that, you create a deeper connection point. You’ll attract more talent to your brand and culture, connect with your candidates better, build stronger relationships, and have a higher retention rate.
You’ve built this very recognizable personal brand. What tips can you offer to recruiters who want to do the same?
If your audience goes online and researches you, what are they finding? That’s why it’s so important to create great content. People say “content is king,” but I disagree. Original content is king. Some recruiters will say, “oh, I’m active on social media,” because they’re re-sharing other people’s stuff. But they’re not drawing people to their own website, they’re sending them to someone else’s. They’re missing out on all of that traffic and all of those potential relationships.
Know your audience and listen to what they have to say. Use that feedback to keep tweaking your messaging, but do it so that it remains honest to who you are and what you want to do. If you do that, then it’s almost like a culture-fit; you’ll attract an audience that connects with what you’re saying.
“Know your audience and listen to what they have to say. Use that feedback to keep tweaking your messaging …”