How Behavioral Science Can Help Mid-Market Companies Hire the Best Talent

Insights into human behavior will provide you with more success in the interview process.

Mid-market leaders have their work cut out for them when it comes to winning the war for talent. After all, they often don’t enjoy the same perks of larger corporations–higher salaries, brand recognition, and cultural potential. Nevertheless, it is still possible to attract highly qualified personnel if you know how to apply specific, time-tested techniques from behavioral science.

Behavioral science focuses on understanding how people make decisions and behave in different situations, especially why individuals don’t make rational or expected decisions. These insights span various domains in the workplace. The following recommended actions, proven by behavioral science, will strengthen your argument when discussing why potential talent should join your company.

Use Emotional and Rational Reasoning  

Your appeal will be more effective based on emotional and rational reasons for joining your company. If you can make the candidate feel something, you can connect with them on a deeper level than just expressing the benefits of working at your company. Be careful to choose words that set the scene and convey a future that will get them excited. And don’t forget that even though emotion drives the decision, rational reasons must also be present.

Don’t forget the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)

Try not to list only the company’s benefits without first explaining to the candidate why these benefits are something they should care about. Don’t get me wrong; you should emphasize the benefits, just make sure the outlined benefits are something the individual wants to hear. 

Inject loss into the message

No question that telling prospects what they will gain is successful when recruiting top talent. However, according to Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow, people are nearly twice as motivated to avoid the pain of loss as they are to achieve the pleasure of gain.

What does this mean for you? It means you should also be telling people what they stand to lose or miss out on if they don’t come to work for your company. Or the painful situation they will avoid by coming to work for your company. Remember, from the candidate’s perspective, providing them with info that would prevent a loss or a painful situation is really a benefit to them. And based on behavioral science, this type of benefit is even more attractive to them.

Use social proof to your advantage

When people are uncertain, they assume others no more than they do. As a result, in such circumstances, people will go with the safety and numbers approach. They will look at what people like them have done and do the same.

When having a conversation with a potential candidate that you really want, use language such as ‘many people like you’ already work here. Highlight positive ratings of your company and employee engagement surveys that put your company in a favorable light. Or have them talk to a current employee, like themselves, who would paint accurate, yet positive, picture of the company.

CEOs of mid-market companies can reap substantial rewards when they use behavioral science strategies and techniques when convincing sought after talent to join their company. Strategic use of these behavioral science best practices will go a long way to landing that individual who would be an excellent fit for your company and who likely every other company is going after.

Charles Good 
President, Institute for Management Studies
775-322-8222  |  |

Leave a Reply