How to Deliver Emotionally Intelligent Messages

This article will dissect the impact of evoking emotions with our messages, and how to use our EQ (Emotional Quotient) to do this successfully.

“We are not thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think.” -Antonio Damasio, Neuroscientist

Let’s Start With Two Statements:

  1.  Emotions are the driver to the majority of sales/buying decisions people make
  2.  Sourcers/Recruiters/TA professionals are all in sales

Let’s start with the easy one (and the pink elephant in the room) – right now you might be thinking, or even saying/cussing – “I am not a salesperson.”  If you’re a sourcer, a recruiter, or a TA professional, I’ve got news for you, you are.

You’re either selling the role you’re working on, the company you’re working for, or you’re own kick-ass brand.

You might not be “sale-sy” – but you’re selling.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten the hard part out of the way, let’s talk about the impact of emotions and how we can use them to generate candidate interest and response.

Quick Fun Facts:

  1. Decision making is done the majority of the time through emotions (43% emotional, 23% rational, 23% combined).
  2. 71% of buyers who see personal value will purchase what we are selling.
  3. There are three critical elements of emotion, Subjective, Physiological, and Behavioral. We want to focus on behavioral – getting someone to take some action.
  4. Video elicits the most potent emotional response.

Let’s go over what emotions (the most prevalent) we can evoke in our messaging and what that looks like from a recruiting perspective:

Fear – Typically in sales/communication we use fear, not of a thing that is happening or could happen, but instead, a fear of something that isn’t happening. Enter – FOMO (fear of missing out). How can we do this in recruiting? Perhaps mention how many people are interviewing, how many we’ve hired, or how few positions you have left in your company/team

Uncertainty/Anticipation – You can use the uncertainty of the current state of affairs, or the anticipation of something in the future. For the uncertainty, was there a news article about their company talking about leadership change, or declined stock price? Can we be curious and ask them, “How is this going to affect your future at COMPANY?” For Anticipation, do you have any new products coming up? New release? New office? Or a newanything? Give a little hint, have them wonder about the new “thing.”

Joy “Nobody who is in a bad mood buys coffee for a stranger.” We need to remember in these messages; we’re not just trying to place this potential candidate in our role/organization. We’re trying to build a relationship. What if they’re not the right fit for the role, but their best friend is?  Kindness will “get you that coffee.” Remember – people have the desire to be happy.

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Hope/Kindness – In a world where news of violence dominates the 24/7 news cycle, a positive message of hope or kindness is likely to resonate well with any audience. How do we do this? If your company supports charitable organizations or volunteer efforts, use that to your advantage.  Share it with your candidates. How? Do a search for people involved heavily with or currently volunteering with organizations. Message them and talk about how you value their kindness, and then talk about yours.

Trust – Trust is one of the key motivators for having people interact with you and “buy what you are selling.” So how do we create trust with someone who doesn’t know us (and hasn’t recruiter-stalked us like we have)? Let people know who you are, be genuine. Type how you speak. No need to fluff-it-up or try and “sound professional.” You represent your company and make up part of its culture. What else? Let’s include our contact information in our messages/emails, and make sure it’s easily accessible on your LinkedIn page.

Last, but not least, Humor – General rule of thumb: If someone is happy, they’ll be more likely to buy whatever you’re selling. Here is where the different types of emotions come into play though. Make sure that your humor isn’t funny because it is draws upon an experience you had, or something you heard once. It has to be funny without any personal reference point.  Again, be yourself, have fun with it. Some people will love it, others won’t, and that’s okay.

Let’s be cognizant of how our messages are affecting the people we’re reaching out to.

In my next article, I will discuss how we can build a candidate persona to better identify which of these emotional triggers will have the most positive impact.

Mike (Batman) Cohen has been in the talent acquisition space for over 10 years with a focus on the agency-side of the house. For the past several years he's spent his time consulting for organizations in the area of T.A. Training, Process creation & improvement, Change Management, and Tooling.  Batman has been on several recruiting panels, spoke at Scala Up North in Montreal, Scala.io in France, and ERE 2018 in San Diego.

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