The Movies, The Hidden Power of Story and Candidate Attraction…
by Lanre Akanni
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It’s that time of year again in the world of film and entertainment. Yup, it’s awards season and with the recently announced Oscar nominations, the period between now and March 4th will be full of speculation about the possible winners with the title of Best Picture being one of the coveted awards. Whichever film wins the plot will have gone through the three stages or basic building blocks of storytelling which are the challenge, struggle and resolution.
This is something that is outlined in the book Tell to Win by movie mogul/entrepreneur Peter Guber whose film success as either producer or executive producer include Rainman, The Colour Purple and Donnie Brasco. He spent 4 years at Sony Pictures where he oversaw the successes of films such as Terminator 2, Boyz in Da Hood, Sleepless in Seattle and Basic Instinct. He also co-taught at the UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television where he posed a question to his teaching partner about what makes a compelling story and no matter the narrative it tends to follow this simple formula:
1. Get the viewers/listeners attention with an unexpected challenge or question
2. Give them an emotional experience by narrating the struggle to overcome that challenge or find the answer to the opening question
3. Lastly, galvanise the listeners/viewers response with an eye-opening resolution that calls them to action
Through his successes in the movie business, Peter knows that a film is doomed to failure if it doesn’t have these points in the above order and audience engagement is lost if point two is not compelling enough.
So how is this similar to candidate attraction?
What is it about the company, brand or job that will stop a candidate in his or her tracks? What professional challenge can you give them?
How has the company got to its current position, what lies ahead? What is it like to work here? Where does the role sit within the business? What’s the impact of the role on the business? What are the company values?
This could be a job offer after they have gone through a successful interview process or simply the magnet that attracts candidates at the start of the process.
All things being equal in a competitive market, if point 2 is compelling enough, it will increase the chances of fully engaging the candidate.
Peter goes on to say that within the stories told in films, there are concepts, ideas, value propositions and emotional prompts that will help draw the audience in and these same principles can be used to attract quality candidates.