The power of persuasion is the key that will unlock the doors of opportunity

Having the ability to persuade future employers that you're the right person for the job is the equivalent of having a secret weapon in your pocket. Of course, you need to have the right skills, qualifications, and achievements to demonstrate the value you will bring to a new company, but mastering these persuasion strategies can be a true game-changer. 

As with most things in life, there isn't a one-size-fits-all persuasion technique that will win the day. Your approach to convincing a hiring manager to extend a job offer should be as dynamic as the opportunities you're encountering. So, to ensure that you have all the tools you need to use persuasion to your benefit, we would like to introduce you to 15 persuasion techniques you can use to advance your career. 

Persuasion defined

Let's begin by defining persuasion and talking about different persuasion methods. At its core, persuasion is simply convincing someone to do something they wouldn't normally do. You don't want to manipulate someone; rather, you want to present ideas and concepts in a way that causes them to change their mind. When it comes to your career, persuasion is all about convincing the hiring manager or interviewing team that you have what it takes to fill the role they have open. 

Top 5 persuasive techniques

Part of being a master persuader is understanding the psychology behind human decision-making, with the understanding that decisions are rarely made using pure logic. Even the most logical people use emotions, biases, and cognitive shortcuts to decide what to do about a situation. That makes learning these psychological principles pretty important.

  1. Reciprocity: You've probably heard the phrase, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Such is the case with reciprocity. You get a better response from people when they think they're getting something good before they give something good. You can use reciprocity to share industry insights at networking events and even to mentor junior colleagues. 

  2. Social proof: What's the first thing you do when you buy something online? Do you read the reviews? Yes, you do! This is because you want to know that other people are doing the same thing you want to do and that they recommend it. The best way to leverage social proof for your career is through recommendations and reference letters. It would also be a good idea to get some endorsements and recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. 

  3. Authority: By connecting with peers and talking about what's going on in your industry, you can begin to set yourself up as an expert. People are more likely to accept being persuaded to change their minds if the person asking them to change their minds is perceived as knowledgeable (i.e. an authority figure). 

  4. Liking: People are more likely to be persuaded to do something by those they know, like, and trust. If you take the time to get to know your colleagues and build positive relationships, then you'll become a liked team player and doors to promotions, for example, could open up for you. 

  5. Scarcity: FOMO, the fear of missing out, has become a popular acronym on social media. If you can create a sense of scarcity, then what you're offering becomes more desirable. If you've taken the time to set yourself up as an expert in your field, then you can truly leverage scarcity in an interview by creating a sense of urgency with the hiring manager. If they believe that having an expert of your caliber on their team could make a lot of difference to the success of upcoming projects, they're more likely to hire you. 

Employing any one of these techniques will help you to score during your job search - and can even lead to a job offer at the end of an interview. If you can figure out how to mix and match them, then your odds of success will increase exponentially. 

Additional persuasion techniques

While the five techniques that we've already covered will likely serve you well in most settings, there are instances when you might need to draw on some other techniques to give the final nudge of persuasion to a hiring manager, boss, or colleague. Let's talk about 10 more persuasion techniques that you might find useful. 

  1. Consistency and commitment: Even though this one didn't make it to the top five, it's used quite frequently. All you have to do is get someone to commit to a small action and then, later, you can often get them on board for larger changes. 

  2. Contrast principle: This would serve you really well during an interview when you have to answer behavioral interview questions like “What is your greatest weakness?” You give the details about your weakness and then contrast that information with something that you've learned to overcome the weakness and how you'd use that new knowledge to succeed in the role you're applying for. 

  3. Fear appeals: This one should be used sparingly because it involves introducing a potentially negative consequence. It's a double-edged sword that could lean towards manipulation if it isn't used properly. Basically, you are trying to convince someone to change their mind by letting them know of something bad happening if they don't sway your way.

  4. Reciprocal concessions (door-in-the-face): This technique involves starting with a large, unreasonable request that you expect will be declined. After the initial rejection, you follow up with your actual, more reasonable request. The principle behind this technique is that when people perceive that you've made a concession by lowering your demands, they feel inclined to reciprocate by agreeing to the second, more reasonable request.

  5. The contrast principle: This technique involves showcasing your achievements or skills in comparison to others, to highlight your unique qualities. It's particularly useful when you want to stand out among competitors.

  6. Sunk cost fallacy: Encourage decision-makers to consider the investment (time, effort, resources) they've already put into a project or collaboration to encourage them to refrain from abandoning something they've invested in.

  7. Consensus (mirroring): Emphasize the consensus or agreement of others within your industry or organization, to demonstrate that your ideas align with the majority and make them more appealing to decision-makers.

  8. Future pacing: Paint a vivid picture of the positive outcomes or benefits of your proposal or collaboration, to help others visualize the future success they could achieve by choosing your path.

  9. Framing: Use different frames or perspectives to present information – accomplishments, ideas, or solutions – in a way that resonates with your audience's values and priorities.

  10. Nudging: Gently guide decision-makers toward your desired outcome by making the path to agreement as straightforward as possible, removing obstacles, and making it easy for them to say "yes."

Wield your powers of persuasion

Now that you know about some of the different persuasion techniques, go forth and use them to land your dream job or make the job you already have even better. Remember, though, your goal is positive change through meaningful connections and trust, not manipulation. 

Do you need more help in using the power of persuasion for your career? Make sure your resume is as persuasive as it can be by sending it for a free resume review!

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