That Like feeling

23 Mar 2017 by Steven Giannoulis


Lately I’ve been recruiting for a New Business person and I had an experience with one candidate that made me think about the importance of brand feelings. Yes, feelings. Brace yourself, I am going to talk about them.

For the first time I didn’t use a recruiting agency but posted my role on social media. I had 33 applicants, and once I got through the obligatory bunch of those kidding themselves about their suitability, I had a dozen or so really good applicants.

One particular applicant had a strong CV and I checked him out on LinkedIn, found he had some good endorsements and a number of connections I knew. All looked promising so I arranged an initial chat to get a feel for him and whether he’d be good for the role and our company.

After 20 minutes or so we hung up and I reflected on the discussion. He gave the absolute perfect textbook answers to every question – I couldn’t have scripted them better myself. But I walked away feeling something was off about this guy. He shared nothing personal, no stories, experiences or views that would have allowed me to like him. He was Siri responding to my questions with programmatic accuracy and robotic warmth.

As you do in this ‘everything’s public’ age, I looked him up on Facebook and Instagram. He was into sports, did lots of community stuff, looked like a great dad and had a wide circle of friends. And we appeared to share some common musical interests. Was I wrong about him? I invited him to meet to find out.

Within 10 minutes of more of the same, I stopped listening. I have no doubt his remaining answers were great but I just didn’t care. He may have promised to do the job 24/7 and for free but I still wouldn’t hire him. I ended the meeting and promised to let him know as soon as I’d made up my mind. I lied, I had already made up my mind.

Like people, brands have to appeal at an emotive level as well as a logical one. We have to trust a brand, and like (or at least not hugely dislike) it, before we’ll even consider getting into bed with it. This liking-heuristic is well proven in brand psychology. Connect emotionally and it’s glass half full. Don’t and it can never be anything more than near empty.

The guy I hired maybe on paper wasn’t the natural choice, but within 10 minutes we were talking like old-mates. Within 30, I felt I knew him and within an hour I was ready to pick him. And that’s exactly what I think potential clients will feel when he’s talking to them.

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