How to attract more of the right type of candidates with hidden persuaders

Once you know what are the motivating drivers and patterns of thinking shared by your best performers in any particular role, then it is possible to craft a recruitment advert using hidden language that’s more likely to attract and appeal to potential candidates who think in the same way as your high achievers.  Here’s how… The key is to ‘wrap’ the content of the position on offer in the current recruitment advert (the conscious employment information), with contextual language incorporating unconscious triggers as part of your specifically adapted advertisement.

For example:

If a position to be filled is highly procedural involving strict protocols and is detailed and focused on daily problem solving… it would be unwise to use words that were ambiguous with generalised goals and possibilities, written within an advert that was ‘light’ on information.  The candidate most suited to the role will want to read as much detail in the advert as possible, with a clear indication of what the expectations and boundaries of the position are, and they would be more likely to respond if there is a clearly defined procedure to follow as part of their employment application, such as the words… “Your employment application should be received no later than COB Friday this week, and it should be accompanied by your updated CV and a passport size photograph.” Even if those requirements are not really critical to the employment application, they are more likely to draw interest and response from more suitable candidates. Here are some other examples:– High Focus on People needed – include a picture of people. Big Picture thinker needed – use less wordy – more global descriptions … etc.

The Process and Application:

Ideally the process of advert design should flow from a properly researched and validated “Model of Excellence” of the best performers in a particular role so that the employer is crystal clear on what motivational patterns they are looking to recruit.

As an alternative, careful analysis of the current Position Description supported by an in-depth interview with the manager/employer and other key performers in the same role, can result in an “educated guess” as to what traits and attributes might be required, and from that preliminary information, the original recruitment advertisement can then be adapted accordingly and potential interview questions to ask with final stage applicants, can be developed.  With this adapted approach, the chances of attracting more appropriate candidates during the early stages of the recruitment process are greatly enhanced, especially if the final shortlisted candidates complete on-line profiles to be assessed independently as part of the selection process.

Here are the benefits of this targeted language approach.

The ‘wrong’ applicants for any given position are more likely to unconsciously de-select themselves early on in the selection process, because the advert doesn’t feel ‘right’ to them… i.e. at the unconscious level, the employment advertisement’s words don’t attract or trigger them to consider the position further. As a result, there is a strong likelihood that the pool of more appropriate candidates will be increased from the outset due to the self-selection that is unconsciously encouraged by the wording of the advert (assuming that their skills, experience and capabilities also match the requirements of the position on offer).

In essence – ‘one size (or ‘style’ in recruitment adverts) does not fit all,’ irrespective of the content of the position being described.

Here are some more brief examples to illustrate the  point:

You wish to hire a thorough and meticulous individual who::

DescriptionTargeted Motivational Pattern to look for
Is always accurateConvinced by Consistency
Won’t be rushed into hasty decisionsReflecting and Patience
Will check the reports before proceedingConvinced by Reading
Will read the ‘fine print’Depth Orientation
Faithfully follows systems and proceduresFocus on Systems + Procedures
Is risk averseProblem Solving

You wish to hire a customer focused team member who:

DescriptionTargeted Motivational Pattern look for
Genuinely likes peopleFocus on People
Is a team playerShared Responsibility
Is customer responsiveExternal Reference
Works well with othersAffiliation
Is productive in an open plan environmentGroup Environment
Is great at ‘reading’ peopleAffective Communication

P.S. If you would like further information about the latest research in this style of employment advertising and selection, send your questions in.

Until next time… Let’s seek to understand more and judge less.   Have a great week – Brian

Precision Profiling – What Makes You Tick? We uncover what you do, how you do it and why you do it, and most importantly, the hidden patterns that lead to your success.


About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here

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