Article main image
Apr 30, 2019

In the previous article, you learned that six basic emotions are universally experienced in all human cultures and how emotions are influenced by the environment. We also covered how they are categorized, what theories exist and what is the difference between emotions and feelings.

How to Use Emotions in Recruitment

The field of recruitment is no longer a “War for Talent.” And I don’t think this was ever even the case, only a catchy phrase and clever way to use the emotion of “fear,” suggesting that there is a war and you need to be ready for it. If we want to use the word “war” in the description of what state recruitment is in now, the right label will be “War for Attention.” Companies and recruiters are “fighting” for the attention of candidates on virtual battlefields.

Companies and recruiters are trying to get their posts, articles, and videos in front of a wider audience. Getting attention is what it’s all about. Being visible and recognizable is bringing the attention of possible candidates that could be a target for your post, their interaction with your post, spreading your posts through their networks where their connections are going to see it, too, and if they interact, they are going to spread it even further. And the right combination of storytelling, growth hacking and emotions could reach people by getting more visibility for your posts.

How Emotions Influence Social Media Sharing

In recruitment, we are using social media to share our posts, new job opportunities, and other news. Through social media, we can also influence potential candidates and reach people that we don’t in our network. And emotions, if they are used correctly, could help you to spread your message outside your current network.

Karen Nelson-Field, a researcher at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, wanted to understand how emotions influence social media sharing and she spent two years trying to identify how emotions influence video sharing and analyzed a data set of 355 billion videos from Unruly, to identify the most compelling emotional triggers.

Her study has found that content that causes an emotional response typically gets shared twice as much as that which contains little emotional value, whether positive or negative emotion.

They also found that strong and positive emotional response is thirty percent more likely to encourage sharing than a strong but negative emotion. As you can see, a post connected with emotion could help you to get your post in front of a wider audience. And it’s no secret that emotions play an important role in successful advertising campaigns in the same way as recruitment campaigns.

If you check your Facebook, you will see what your friends are sharing. And they will share posts that created some emotion for them because humans like sharing emotions. That’s also why if we use the word “viral” it’s connected with another word, “contagiousness,” of course in a positive way. Those emotions are spreading and if you watch some funny video and you feel happy, and it made you laugh, you are going to share it with others just because you would like to share that emotion you had with them. And that’s how one post could turn into viral posts; people want to share the happy moment with others, so they feel the same.

Being a recruiter is not only using Boolean searches, contacting candidates, and speaking with hiring managers; it’s also about relationships with all parties. And our offline and online relationships are full of emotions, and that’s why it is essential to understand your audience at your network.

It is no secret that marketing strategies need to be subtle and innovative to capture the attention of the audience. While social media provides an ideal online environment for marketing, you need to do more than display a colorful AD, hoping that it will deliver the expected results. Yes, the ad will be noticeable, but no one will react to it. So, your marketing campaign will be far from successful.

What Makes People React?

The answer to this question is more straightforward than you may think. Also, it is backed up by scientific studies. People react best to emotions, exceptionally positive emotions. Thus, if you want to obtain the results you want with your social media marketing campaign, making good use of human emotions is the best way to go.

Power of Happiness

But, as you may already know, there are a plethora of emotions that surround us every single day. Which ones are the best to use when it comes to marketing? Your answer is most probably aiming toward joy. While this is not entirely wrong, you’ll be surprised to find out that happy and joyful marketing posts don’t always deliver as expected. Don’t people appreciate happiness and positive posts anymore?

Yes, they do, but the social media environment is bombarded with these kinds of posts. In other words, everybody likes positive posts, but it will be hard for your marketing campaign to be noticed or stand out in the crowd when there are so many constructed in the same manner out there. Still, if you are creative enough and want to use joy as the emotion preponderant in your marketing campaign, it is worth knowing that human stories have the most significant impact.

To have a successful social media marketing campaign, you don’t need to focus on negative emotions. So, no matter what you do, stay away from using sadness. No one enjoys seeing sad content on social media, and most certainly you won’t manage to make anyone’s heart melt or soften with this particular emotion. Still, in spite of this, many use this emotion because it does manage to attract the attention of people and some will also react to this kind of marketing strategy.

Because it is as common as joy, sadness is currently exploited way too much, and it can be a risky choice as it may not produce the types of results you would like. Besides all these, there is always the danger of creating an unwanted association between your company and brand and the emotion of sorrow and sadness. Thus, when people see your brand logo, they might automatically feel negative emotions.

Happiness is one of the stronger emotions, and there’s also a link between the satisfaction you feel and your health. Happiness has affected your health in so many ways. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Harvard researchers conclude that optimists—specifically female optimists—may live longer than their cynical peers.

Individuals with hopeful dispositions may be roughly 30 percent less likely to die early from cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection. (Source:


In the next article, you will learn about the types of emotions, what makes people react and the power of anger and power of fear.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!