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  • Writer's pictureEva Baluchova

How emotions influence candidates’ decision to respond to you?

"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity." —Dale Carnegie.

The human decision process is very complex. Many of us think that establishing your message on pure logic and ensuring that your strategy is right is the right recipe.

Because of the complexity of human decision-making, it is often challenging to predict what a person will do.

What makes things even more difficult is that people are not even rational in the sense that they think that they are making the right decision. We are not only making the right decision, but we are making the right decision even though we are not sure that we are. We are making the right decision even though we know that we are not.

This is a widespread phenomenon that we observe in human decision-making. We do what sounds right, not what always is.

In Jeff Johnson's Designing with the Mind in Mind (Third Edition) book, you can read about principles that impact the candidate decision process. Besides many others the principal author Daniel Kahneman, describes in this article, we would pinpoint the following:

  • Human decision-making is heavily influenced by unconscious mental processes (system one), which can lead us to make good choices quickly and make us make bad ones. Our rational mind (system two) doesn't usually get in the way.

  • People are more likely to choose easier-to-remember or picture options. When we hear about how a close relative used a product, we are more likely to buy it than if we read statistics or read online reviews.

  • People make decisions based on how they've done in the past. In other words, this is why: people tend to stay with what they know, stay with losing causes longer than they should, and like things better if they work hard to get them.

And the main conclusion?

Framing—how a choice is worded—affects how people choose.

Yes, how we make our message sound right is the difference between a regular message and a persuasive message. If you wanna know more about persuasive online principles > check here.

But first, let's understand the importance of the message.

A good message must be essential and relevant to the target audience. It also resonates with the target audience and can be easily understood by them. Finally, it should be one that will help the target audience to solve their problem or answer their questions.

What is a message?

A message is a statement, an idea, a concept, a thought, a piece of information that you want to share with someone. It can be anything you want, and it can be any subject, it can be personal, it can be professional, it can be business, it can be about your family, it can be about your car, it can be about anything.

How can you make your message sound right?

Neuroscientists have shown that when we hear people speak, the words go to two different parts of our brain: one part analyses the meaning of what is being said, the other analyses the music.

So, for writers, it's not enough to make sure the substance of our argument is suitable; we must also be concerned with style. It's not just about the meaning; it's about the music. It's not just about the reasoning; it's about the rhythm.

As a writer, you should be concerned with how the sentences sound and how and the structure. E.g., When two sentences are placed next to one another, people assume a causal connection between the two.

That sounded right, didn't it?

So let's explain how our human decision process works. There are three parts of the brain that a writer must win over.

I like to call them 3 decision-making organs Hunch, Hearth, and Head.

Most people think that communication or decisions starts and ends with logic - Head, which is why it fails.


And that's why persuasive writing starts with instinct because that is how the brain works.

The thing is that we are primarily instinctive. Think about how we shop, drive, and walk through the day. Many times, we don't think about what we do. Instead, habits, rituals, and impulses make us do what we do. This is true not just about the things we do every day but also about some of the most important decisions we make, like where we work, who we marry, who our best friends are, and where we live.

We "clicked." 'We knew right away that this was our job when we walked into the office. Because "it felt right" (it sounds right).

Instinctive brains are the most critical part of our brains. We don't start with logic; we start with instinct. In reality, we only use our logical brain to come up with a logical-sounding argument to back up our instinctive judgment. "it felt right."

Emotions influence candidates' responses more than we recruiters realise.

So how does this decision-making process work?

We have 3 decision-making "organs." They are all in the brain but let's call them organs. Looks better.

  1. HUNCH. This part takes up 95% of brain activity. Working at 80.000 times the speed of Head with no conscious effort. It's a guardian angel telling you what it is safe and rewarding!!! Here your brain is asking - Do you trust me? We tend to trust people who are likeable, credible, and similar to ourselves and judge sources of information that look (not are) trustworthy and reliable.

  2. HEART: Is 20 times as powerful as the Head. When we feel emotional, powerful drugs are released oxytocin (love/connection), serotonin (pride/esteem/confidence), or cortisol (stress/fear), and I will tell you a secret!

  3. HEAD is not as clever as we think. We're not stupid, don't get me wrong. Head can do extraordinary things-but when and only when completely calm, well-fed, and focused! But do you think it is even possible in this digital age and fast-paced lifestyle to be calm and focused? But in today's fast world, everything that seems right is enough, and our Head considers it logical.

So what this basically means is that the candidate's response depends on how well you can trigger their emotions in the brain order. So in your message, first, you have to trigger hunch after the heart, and only then will the Head be triggered. How to trigger each part we are explaining in our new ebook.

Final Thoughts

Because, in our minds, logic is the one thing that we are good at.

But the truth is that we are terrible at it.

Emotions are critical to decision-making. Without an emotional response, it is difficult to make decisions.

So as a copywriter, to get a candidate's response to your message, your task is to give them reason, show them respect, trigger emotion, and tell stories.

Use persuasion ethically. Don't influence people to do what is contrary to their own interests.

PS: Do you want to learn to use emotions in your writing? Then don't hesitate to get our visual e-book 'Copywriting in Recruitment'

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