The BIG trick (opportunity) recruitment is missing out on

Objective of this post is to introduce concepts and methodologies of Neuromarketing and Webpsychology and the link (and opportunity) for recruitment/talent acquisition in making use of these in respect to fundamental elements of recruitment, whether an agency or in-house.

This will make the case for there being so much more that those involved in recruitment can and should do, to become seen as relevant and of interest to their target audiences, as well as the wider effect the use of these methodologies can have internally.

Chapter 1. The link and relevance to recruitment

Recruitment has at it’s core these elements:

  1. Obtaining interest (whether this be for a role, a company/organisation or a career opportunity)
  2. Engage (to speak/discuss what an opportunity may be about)
  3. Persuade (an individual or groups of individuals of why worth to pay attention or explore further)
  4. Lead to action (in the form of agreement to have further dialogue or for the individual/group of individuals to themselves seek more information and/or take action in the form.of an application)

What if through certain methodologies and use of a range of approaches

Possible to increase and develop all these efforts into conversion rates (of interest, of engagement, of persuasion and of action) significantly, and with 10%, 20% or 50 % better results ?

Needless to say this would result in better Return Of Investment (ROI) and much faster results and much else (more about this in Chapter 3)

Take a look at this:

Facts and figures of campaign:

  • 800,000 hits in just the first three days. By the end of the campaign close to 5 million people had watched it on YouTube.
  • The campaign had a permanent impact on the company and beefed up its image as a progressive place to work.
  • 91% of Heineken employees watched the video and found it stimulating for their job.
  • Traffic on its HR sites went up 279%Volume of CVs Heineken received shot up 317%.

With that level of success and results it can only wonder why not seen more campaigns like this (campaign was made in 2013!) of any area of the recruitment industry whether corporate or agencies.

Chapter 2. Introducing Neuromarketing and Webpsychology

  ‘Communicate to everybody, and you reach no one, communicate to one, and you will communicate to those identifying themselves with the one’

 Have a this video, and read on when you have completed viewing it.

If you like millions across the world were emotionally moved by it, that’s because it pushed some psychological neuro triggers that all the way through and depending on where in the story you were made you feel in a certain way. 

The effect of this neurological ‘manipulation’ was 100% deliberate and part of where the producers and script writers of his video wanted you to be, what they wanted you to feel.

It is a constructed ‘reality’ and one of the most sublime examples of what neuro marketing is and can do.

 Another equally good example is this video.

Also here the viewer is taken through a neurological effects trigger ‘journey’ a set of various sequences and a story line that as it progresses move the viewer through a range of psychological stages, all working on pushing on parts of our brain that affect a range of neurological factors.

The methodologies used in these videos are well known to marketing people and have been used to an increasing degree over the last 10 years. 

We recognize visuals before other areas of our brain can even process other elements, such as text. This allows for an almost instantaneous reaction when needed. 

As a result, visual representations help consumers understand your message much faster.  


Approximately 90 percent  of the information that the brain processes is visual.

Why did Trump become the US president elect ?

Many answers to this, but analysing his speeches his messages and how they were delivered, what in use here was a good dose of neuro marketing or manipulation.

As any neuromarketing expert will testify to, if you push the buttons that make people feel or perceive something to be in a certain way, any sense of rationale or evidence basis have no meaning whatsoever. 

Dictators that used the spoken words as their primary tool for getting their message out in a way so that it resonated with people have been masters in the use of using neurologically associated ‘triggers’.

Neuromarketing is a term made up of neuron and marketing combined.

It is a new field of marketing research that studies consumers’ brain response to marketing stimuli to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it. 85% of decisions people makes are made by the unconsciousness in people’s brain.

Webpsyhcology, ‘why do people click’

It draws from the worlds of psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics to provide an understanding and offer answers to on-line/web design, structure and behaviour

Subjects of Neuromarketing and Webpsychology are due to their complexities best left to those that have the relevant education/knowledge to talk about it. They need to be handled by experts, and as fascinated as I am with the subject my purpose with this post is merely to make the connection to recruitment and why relevant in that context.

For introduction to the subject of Neuromarketing this video offer introduction and overview: 

As for Webpsychology these links with reference to the ‘Webpscychologist’ Natalie Nahai has a lot to offer:

Finally this is a good varied source of perspectives on the subject addressing various aspects:

We experience immediate reactions in three seconds or less  from our reptilian brain.

The reptilian brain includes the brainstem and the cerebellum. It’s where most cognitive biases take place; it’s commonly referred to as the attention gatekeeper or the decision maker.

If you can appeal to a consumer’s reptilian’s brain, then your marketing is more likely to convert. These are elements such as pain, contrast, tangibility, visuals, and emotional connection.

Remainder of this post will refer to the term of ‘Neuromarketing’ however this is a term that also cover Webpsychology (as in fact psychological principles the same, just in a in a web, on-line context)

Chapter 3. Making the case for the use of Neuromarketing and Webpsychology in recruitment

Company career pages most either use dull and un-engaging text that is merely a listing of what is perceived of interest to job seekers, or they try in some (at times gimmicky) way to show culture or atmosphere or make use of some kind of tool such as gamification.

That may by those having set up these home/career web pages be seen as what will truly cover needs and wants of those using them, yet nearly none make any deeper or wider use of what insight and knowledge existing about psychology and the workings of the mind, be it anything from design, use of colours, fonts or phrasing of sentences, words, in short anything relating to the underlying workings of the human brain.

Study upon study (Neuro marketing and Web psychology have been around since 2005) have shown that opinions, feeling and decisions very often generated through a range of subtle factors that can influence and play tricks (positively or negatively) with our Prefrontal Cortex ( rather than anything more rational.

Returning to subject at the beginning of this post and the results it could create.

In addition to conversion numbers and with that Return Of Investment and likely also speed, this could if done by a company/organisation, allow them to build a whole additional layer to what kind of company or organisation they may wish to be seen as, adding depth, to their meaning and authenticity in short allowing them to move away from being about products solutions and into the world of wider purpose.                                          

‘Purpose’, the new buzzword in corporate attempt to appear relevant and attractive.

Simon Sinek was the one who kicked off the ‘why’ and ‘what’ and Apple not least using this superbly in their Ipad, marketing being all about what the opportunities were of the product never a single word about the features, in short about purpose.

Purpose is subsequently a term we will come to see much more of and it will likely be the next battleground and focus areas for attracting talent or more plainly said employees of tomorrow.

If companies /organisations placing focus on purpose to add substance to their jobs and careers this will require a whole different approach. This will need to be a type of communication that is very different to what seen to date.

As illustrated at the end of this post (see final video link) purpose can have both an external as well as an internal impact, and one should not underestimate what that internal effect may have nor how to be utilised.

Example of showing purpose is what KPMG cleverly managed to construct leaving any viewer with the perception that KPMG having had a pretty significant part to play in our world history, simply allowing them to have a purpose.

The problem with content

For long the mantra relating to content has been; as long as generating content, then this would significantly enhance chances of getting candidates to pay attention and possibly react or act in a desired way.

However (to an outsider) creating meaningful content giving it magnetism and appeal is really difficult and lately we have seen mentioned that content without context is one of the biggest headaches. 

What shown in the above videos is the oldest form of captivating an audience, storytellingand taking the viewer or if spoken/written word listener or reader on a journey and experience that triggers a mix of intrigue and need to know what will come next. Just look at folklore fairy tales to Harry Potter or a crime thriller, they all have it, the foundation, the build up, the plot, the climax and the conclusion. The neurological effects of a told or written story is the understanding, perception and mental pictures this construct in our brains 

Tell a good enough story about your brand, and people will not only get interested, they will want to buy from it. 

Facts tell, stories sell

That is the element missing when those not trained/skilled in these subjects (such as a corporate marketing or some enthusiastic soul ) attempting to write content.

For (too) long any content has been considered better than no content meaning we have over the last 5 years seen a flood of more and more irrelevant streams of words, pictures and updates filling social media channels. The effect of this is that most people having to wade through tons of often just space filling irrelevant content to find anything relevant or meaningful.

Few will disagree that the professional network or platform of Linkedin seriously diluted over the last 5 years, meaning now no distinction to Facebook, and content overload and indiscriminate use significantly to blame for this.

This will invariably lead to a growing level of content saturation leading to content fatigue meaning people exercising hard selection of to them meaningful channels or simply not bother anymore.

Just ask yourself how much of all the social media channel content you see on a daily basis of real relevance and interest to you, is it 25% 10% or are we into single digits?

For my own part I can barely swing above 5% out of all I see of content being of relevance and interest.

A different approach 

The entire basis of good and efficient neuromarketing is that it lead to a desired outcome, and with that a significant shift of marketing focus from what seen in most product and service solutions marketing structures. 

It becomes a question of a much more individual or groups of individuals focus. Some may argue that it may severely limit the target group(s) however it may equally through it’s much more engaging approach open up knowledge insight and understanding to what a company or organisation standing for, their values and perhaps even culture.

Neuromarketing and pushing buttons that may influence the sub-conscious mind is easy or quick fix, yet for those that embark on it has I believe significant potential.

The answer and solution is experience

Globally acclaimed Brian Solis, the analyst, author and speaker on topics of digital marketing, evolving business models, customer experience and brand innovation has the following to say


Experience architecture is now responsible for delivering, managing and strengthening the brand and the customer relationship in every moment of truth, throughout the customer lifecycle.

From product design to advertising and marketing campaigns to sales to service and support through to loyalty and advocacy, experience design can unite, optimize and enhance every stage of the customer journey. By investing in experiences, businesses not only increase retention, but experiences that people have and share complement customer acquisition as well.

Pair that with what was the headline and main subject of branding expert Brett Michington whitepaper under the title:

‘In Employer Branding EXPERIENCE is everything’:

People are continuously exposed to brand experiences throughout their day either as a consumer, employee or candidate. The reality is that these experiences are rarely distinctive, consistent or deliver what is expected based on the perception people have about the brand.

At its worst, the impact is loss of business (customer),accepting another job offer (candidate), resignation (employee) or poor reputation (potential employee and/or potential customer).

When employees understand what the organization’s brand stands for and systems, processes and mindsets are aligned to support the delivery of a distinctive customer experience, the company also benefits through higher levels of employee engagement, reduced turnover and higher levels of profit.

If we want to change behaviour and outcomes, we need to changeexperiences to change attitudes.


 …it becomes clear that the subject of experience (in whatever form relevant) where any savvy company or organisation understanding what enable best chances in a market of candidate scarcity, of discernment in all it’s varying forms needing to place their focus.  

In that respect and as shown above Neuromarketing and Webpsychology the tools to deliver that, and in fact so much more.


Acknowledgement: The basis of this article is the work and the introduction to the subject made by Neuromarketing expert Jesper Koch, whom I have been deeply inspired by and who has offered much kind help in various elements of this article.