The most successful staffing professionals are the ones who are able to influence others. It’s not about power or control over the behavior of clients and candidates, but rather about the ability to inspire others to take action (that is, a desired action).
Some believe influence is an “it” factor – you have it or don’t. However, science proves that is not the case. According to behavioral scientists who study human influence, there are specific factors anyone can learn and utilize to increase their influence on others.
That’s incredibly valuable to professionals in the staffing and recruiting industry! Explore and embrace these 6 Persuasion Principles to win concessions and more clients for long-term influence and success.
Success starts with accountability. So, look at what you can do to improve outcomes rather than blame your challenges on the behaviors of others. You can’t control others, but you can persuade and influence them.
It’s important to bear in mind that influence isn’t a replacement for work! It’s another tool in your arsenal. You must apply persuasion along with:
- Efficient and Best Processes
- Proficient Skills (within point A above)
- Adequate Effort and Output
6 Persuasion Principles
The persuasion principles shared here are drawn from the national bestseller, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” authored by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D. You’ll see how they can directly relate to your experiences in staffing and recruiting.
Principle 1 – Liking (Business Application: Similarity & Praise)
People like to do business with others that they like and trust. Have candidates discover what they can about the client (using the web and LinkedIn). They can bring up those interesting discoveries and areas of common interests during their interview. By praising another’s achievements or recognizing shared interests, a person becomes more likable. For candidates and clients, be genuinely interested. Don’t fake it. Ask questions, be curious, and be sincere.
Principle 2 – Reciprocity (Business Application: Help a Prospect)
People repay in kind. Pay attention to the need described (not what’s on your personal agenda) and make efforts to meet that need. You’ll see that a satisfied or impressed person will return a gesture in kind. It’s a human condition that people feel obligated to give back to others. It drives behavior to return kindness received.
If you’re seeking a phone call or meeting with a prospect in your local market, find out what their favorite treat is, for example, and put that in a mug or water bottle with your brand on it. Put your business card and a note inside and drop off at their office.
Principle 3 – Social Proof (Business Application: Success with Others)
People follow the lead. This is very evident when you’re looking at star ratings and product or service reviews. When you can share experiences of others who have successfully “tried and tested” your services, you instill confidence in future clients and candidates.
Testimonials and case studies are great social proof as well. References are also a great third-party endorsement because those impartial opinions can be extremely influential. Don’t lie or manufacture stories – be honest and be able back it up.
Principle 4 – Consistency (Business Application: Obtain Commitments)
Here we don’t mean consistent in terms of being reliable or predictable, but rather to be consistent as it relates to having people fulfill commitments. You’re trying to get people to make commitments (in writing, and perhaps even publicly) and fulfill them. For example, if an employee is responsible for a certain reports or hitting a specific goal, solidify that in a memo and maybe share in a team meeting. That level of accountability (the commitment) promotes action (the fulfillment).
If you’re working on a job order, send an email to the candidate outlining your process and request their agreement in reply. For clients, get their commitment on the date and time of interview schedules.
Principle 5 – Authority (Business Application: Solving a Similar Problem)
People defer to experts who provide shortcuts to decisions requiring specialized information.
When faced with a candidate’s objection about next steps, describe your company’s long-standing history, or placement success rate, or satisfaction scores by previous candidates which blends with Principle 3: Social Proof. Perhaps you have a certification or an award that could convey your authority in the industry and earn respect, and thereby, influence behavior.
On the client side, when communicating with hiring managers, authority can be persuasive, but be careful with HR; they may feel they are the authority on employment.
Principle 6 – Scarcity (Business Application: Shortages, Shelf Life)
People value what’s scarce. Scarcity promotes urgency. When you can identify a candidate that ticks all the boxes for what a client is seeking, let that client know you believe the candidate is already in the midst of interviews and that action to engage them should be made right away.
Use the scarcity principle sparingly with candidates. When you start saying things like, “You need to jump on this opportunity right now or lose it,” the candidate feels pressure and may not take the required amount of time to consider the position. You want to build trust with candidates, and that doesn’t come from applying pressure.
In closing, success greatly depends on the degree of persuasion and influence. Expedite the growth and increase the profitability of your staffing business by applying six research-backed principles of persuasion.
Thanks to Mark Wolf, Director of Sales & Performance Training at C&A Industries, Inc., for sharing this expert advice.