Robert Cialdini on the Best Persuasion Technique for Job-Seekers

The Monitor spoke with Robert Cialdini, who wrote the now infamous Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, about his work and its influence.

At one point in the interview, Cialdini talks about the best way job-seekers can use persuasion to help them land a job.

Consistency is a good weapon of influence in job-hunting — the idea being that if you make a public statement, there are strong pressures to stay consistent with that, both internal and external. Let’s say you’ve got a job interview, and you know that you’re among a variety of candidates. Say something like, “I’m very pleased to be here, and I look forward to giving you all the information you’d need to know about me, but before we begin, would you mind telling me why it is that you selected me to interview.” And let them speak. Let them, in a public, active way, describe your plusses. And they will spend much of the rest of the meeting validating what they are on record as having valuing about you, because people want to stay consistent with what they’ve previously claimed. And you’re entitled to that. Why be in the dark?

In his seminal book on the topic, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Cialdini went undercover to learn the tricks mastered by used-car dealers and Fortune 500 executives alike, bringing persuasion research to psychology’s forefront. Cialdini also co-authored a how-to guide, Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.