In the wake of the Wells Fargo scandal, Fast Company looked closer at CEO stories both horrific and honorable. It turns out that the heroic CEO stories don’t hold much weight (Americans love a scandal). What is effective when utilizing stories of heroism is tapping the lower ranking employees. When asked to weigh in, I said that of course everyone is thrilled with their startup. However, when hiring new employees, you can’t expect the same level of enthusiasm. They’ve never heard of you before!
These candidates want to get stories from people who work for your startup but aren’t the CEO or founder. They want to hear from people just like them. It might be someone in accounting, an adviser, or an entry-level employee. These employees can do incredible early recruitment work for you because they’ve already been “sold” on your company.
Everyone wants to find someone they can relate to—but few can relate to a CEO. Save the CEO heroism for college graduation talks. When you want to use stories to recruit, look closer to the front line. A small study in the Academy of Management Journal says you’ll be much better off.
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