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The Human Side of Storytelling

theellyedit March 02, 2018
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Recently, I engaged in a conversation about the lack of human interaction in the early stages of job applications. In this day and age, it seems common for an application to be put forward, perhaps even for two parties to connect, and then… nothing. Even when the job applicant follows up or does everything ‘right’ in the modern rules of job hunting, it often leads to radio silence.

While it is indeed frustrating for the job seeker (trust me, I’ve been there), this particular discussion centered on the difficulties for the recruiter, and on this occasion, I sided with them. I theorized that with the advancements of technology, hiring managers must be inundated with applications, much more than ever before, and more than anyone could have expected when the traditional norms of applying for a job were formalized. I’ve heard of recruiters receiving hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications for a single opening. And when this happens, it is of course impossible to respond to every single one.

I did, however, question whether there was a slightly more unsettling reason as well. With an endless number of applications, and with most being submitted without a single face-to-face interaction, do people on the receiving end ‘forget’ that there is a real person behind each one? When you are faced with thousands of resumés, I believe it’s a natural human response to only see each applicant as a piece of paper (or rather a single screen), to gloss over the fact each application represents the heart, soul and many hours of work. It’s a coping mechanism, if you will, for an unachievable workload.

The perils of modern-day recruitment aside, this got me thinking about the impact of technology on something very close to my heart: storytelling. The notion of storytelling and its importance has steadily gained traction over the past few years, and if you work in the marketing industry, you will have likely seen many articles focusing on this “buzzword.” Even if you aren’t in the industry, it’s likely you’ve seen the topic of storytelling pop up in your news feeds and in the general media (you are on this website after all!). And as the popularity of storytelling evolves, so, too, does our relationship with it. We are constantly finding new ways to read, hear, watch and interact with stories, and it’s a true pleasure to know that Share More Stories is playing a very real part in that.

But as the concept of telling stories becomes more mainstream, and as the technology surrounding it also progresses, I find myself questioning whether the focus could also shift away from the human element behind it, similar to the recruiting scenario I outlined above. When the emphasis lies on ‘story,’ it’s easy to forget that what we are really asking for is an authentic, unique perspective based on a personal experience, and not a well-structured, ‘beginning-middle-end’ format that ticks all of the boxes of what we were taught a story should be.

And that’s the thing about Share More Stories – while we actively take advantage of new digital advancements, and while we definitely talk about story, it’s the person behind the story that remains at our core. I was reminded of this when reading recent contributions, such as Embrace the Angel and The 2 months of my lifetime: My story, my life, everything I wanted and more…. It honestly felt like I was having a face-to-face conversation, transported to a setting where the people who shared their stories were sitting right in front of me, opening up to reveal something straight from the heart. It’s also why we complement our platform with in-person workshops. For those of you who have been lucky enough to attend, you’ll understand what I mean when I say proverbial magic indeed happens: groups are thoroughly engaged, new insights are uncovered, and participants come away feeling different, having taken further steps on their journey of self-discovery and actualization, and having bonded with others while in the process.

For Share More Stories, while the shape of the story plays a part, what truly matters is the person and what they, and only they, can share. The same goes for brands – the use of ‘story’ shouldn’t be used because key influencers say so. It should be because there is something unique that your brand – or better yet your customers, employees, stakeholders, and community – can say.

There is no doubt that we will continue to hear more and more about stories, and there’s also no doubt we will continue to find exciting new ways to engage in storytelling – hello, AI and VR! As this happens, let’s make the conscious effort to not go by the way of modern recruitment processes and remember what is truly at the crux of it all: the human side. And in this regard I, for one, am excited that Share More Stories is leading the charge.

Shout out to all the recruiters or hiring managers out there who are inundated with job applications – we would love to hear more. If you’re a job hunter on the other side of the application process, we would love to hear your side, too.


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