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Social Engineering: The Human Element of Sourcing and Recruiting

This SourceCon deck is the latest iteration of my social engineering content that I have also presented at LinkedIn, SOSUEU, Bullhorn and the NWRA, and it provides a high-level overview of many social engineering strategies and tactics that can be used in a "white hat" manner when seeking to influence potential candidates to respond to outreach efforts, be open to speaking openly and honestly with you, provide high quality referrals, and convert to being an candidate / applicant.

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Social Engineering: The Human Element of Sourcing and Recruiting

  1. 1. The Human Element of Sourcing Candidates Glen Cathey Social Engineering
  2. 2. Talent acquisition is all about people. So why aren't sourcers and recruiters more focused on understanding people, what motivates them, and how to best communicate with and influence them? Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  3. 3. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  4. 4. "Social Engineering" (11/2010) Glen Cathey | SourceCon (2/2011)
  5. 5. Social engineering is the art, or better yet, science, of skillfully maneuvering human beings to take action in some aspect of their lives... Chris Hadnagy Security Consultant & Social Engineer Creator of the Social Engineering Framework Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  6. 6. When you are finding and engaging potential candidates, what decisions and actions are you looking for them to make? Glen Cathey | SourceCon • Respond • Be open to speaking • Be open & honest • Provide referrals • Convert (to candidate, hire)
  7. 7. Social engineering is the human element of sourcing candidates* * aka outbound recruitingGlen Cathey | SourceCon
  8. 8. Job Search Status – Global Professionals Want to hear about new opportunities Not interested in new opportunities 90% Source: LinkedIn 2017 Talent Trends survey of over 26,000 people in 39 countries
  9. 9. Job Search Status – Software Developers Not actively looking, but open to new opportunities Not interested in new opportunities Actively looking for a job 75.2% Source: Stack Overflow survey of 33,380 developers from 157 countries
  10. 10. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  11. 11. "Similar to recruiters, salespeople must master many people skills. Many sales gurus say that a good salesperson does not manipulate people but uses their skills to find out what people's needs are and then sees whether they can fill it. The art of sales takes many skills such as information gathering, elicitation, influence, psychological principles, as well as many other people skills." Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  12. 12. Manipulation | Persuasion | Influence Manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through abusive, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. Persuasion involves causing someone to believe something to do something, especially through reasoning, argument or sustained effort. Persuasion can be used to spur someone to action or to make a decision without actually earning their sincere buy-in. Influence is defined as "the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen" and involves moving someone to think or act because they want to - inspiring them to take action or make a particular decision. "True influence is elegant and smooth and most of the time undetectable to those being influenced." - Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  13. 13. Glen Cathey | SourceCon • Scarcity • Emotion • Curiosity • Social Proof • Obligation • Reciprocity • Assume • Referrals • 1st impressions • Rapport • Objections • Empathy • Mirroring • Framing • Preloading • Elicitation
  14. 14. First impressions are so powerful they are more important than fact. Research also suggests that first impressions formed online are often more negative than a first impression made face to face. Glen Cathey | SourceCon "You never get a second chance to make a first impression" Will Rogers
  15. 15. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  16. 16. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  17. 17. So how can we engineer positive first impressions?
  18. 18. Be Likable and Project Competence 1. Warmth: Do I like you? 2. Competence: Are you good at what you do? In other words, people ultimately reduce everyone they meet into four buckets: Source: The Muse - Cathey | SourceCon The stereotype content model (SCM) is a psychological theory that suggests that flash judgments are really based on two data points:
  19. 19. • How can you come across as competent? How can you immediately exude competence? Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  20. 20. Glen Cathey
  21. 21. What can you do to be likable? Likable: Easy to like; having pleasant or appealing qualities recruiting Glen Cathey | SourceCon People like people who like them You have to like interacting with people, care about them and be genuinely interested in helping the people you're trying to influence
  22. 22. Make them smile Don't be afraid to leverage humor - being funny makes you likable and making someone smile makes them feel better… Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  23. 23. Darwin's Facial Feedback Response Theory suggests that smiling actually makes us feel better. British researchers found that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate or receiving up to $20,000. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  24. 24. The basic architecture of the brain ensures that we feel first and think second. - Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux Glen Cathey
  25. 25. Use content and an approach that engages people emotionally Source: Fractl – The Emotions of Highly Viral Content Neuromarketing Glen Cathey
  26. 26. I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself – that is the best combination. Judi Dench Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  27. 27. Southwest flight attendant video:
  28. 28. Southwest flight attendant video:
  29. 29. Southwest flight attendant video:
  30. 30. Be Likable • Have fun! • Be a human first and a sourcer/recruiter second; use a friendly and conversational tone • Project a confident and positive attitude – they can read/hear your smile. What you project onto others is what they are more likely to feel • Compliment them (genuinely!) • Ask lots of questions, actively listen and be genuinely interested in what they are saying • Establish rapport Glen Cathey | SourceCon Photo: Just Ard
  31. 31. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  32. 32. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Stephen Covey Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  33. 33. It's Not About You NO • Me, me me • My needs/job/opportunity • My company YES • Them, them, them • Their current situation • Their interests and challenges • Their plans and desires • Speak in their language in order to build rapport Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  34. 34. "Filling a need for the person you are talking to drastically increases the chances of building rapport. Do it without appearing to have an end game, do it with a genuine desire to help, and be amazed at the results. Perhaps no other avenue is more valuable for social engineers than being able to meet these needs." Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  35. 35. Common Recruiting Process 1. Fill the need/provide benefits 2. Develop the relationship 3. Create/Identify the need 4. Prevent/overcome objections 5. Advance/close Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  36. 36. How can you fill a need for someone if you don't take the time to discover their need first? Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  37. 37. Ideal Recruiting Process 1. Develop the relationship 2. Create/Identify the need 3. Prevent/overcome objections 4. Fill the need/provide benefits 5. Advance/close Source: Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  38. 38. Objections/Conversation StoppersGlen Cathey | SourceCon
  39. 39. Source: 24 seconds in Cathey | SourceCon
  40. 40. Anticipate | Preempt | Address "If you wait to think about how you will handle potential conversation stoppers or disruptive influences until the first time you hear them you will most likely fail to handle them. That presents an interesting thought then. You have to sit back and think like the target: what objections would he raise? When a person he does not know calls or approaches him, what might he say? What objections might he raise? What attitudes would he portray? Thinking through these things can help you to make a game plan for these potential problems. Write down your thoughts and the target’s potential objections and then role play. Practice until you feel comfortable, but not scripted. Remember the comeback is not to be structured so stiffly that you cannot alter it at all." -Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  41. 41. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another Empathy is the key to rapport and is hard to feel if you think you have the solution to someone's problem. Empathy is the tool of the social engineer. Nothing builds rapport more than when people feel like you "get them." – Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon Listen | Understand | Reflect Source: Agilitrix: Empathy
  42. 42. Make the effort to understand and appreciate what it must feel like to be relentlessly pursued by recruiters on a daily basis
  43. 43. Mirroring "By matching the client’s volume, tone, and rate of speech (paralanguage), they often can overcome the client’s reluctance to communicate." "Once interviewers establish rapport, barriers disappear, trust grows, and an exchange of information follows." Glen Cathey | SourceCon Source: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin:
  44. 44. Framing A frame of reference is a set of ideas, conditions, or assumptions that determine how something will be approached, perceived, understood or reacted to. Anything that can alter people’s perceptions or the way they make decisions can be called framing. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  45. 45. Understand your prospective candidate's frame and look for ways to either align yours with theirs or transform theirs into yours. Be aware that everything you write or say will evoke a frame. "Painting a picture with words is a powerful way to use framing. By choosing your words carefully you can cause a target’s mind to picture things you want him to picture and start moving him to a frame you want." – Chris Hadnagy Miracle question If there were one thing you would change about your current situation, what would it be and why? Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  46. 46. Preloading Using words, language and imagery to "preload" the target with ideas and information to: • Influence them before an event • Get them thinking in your desired mindset/frame • Be more receptive and react positively • Take action • Build anticipation Source: Social Engineering - Cathey | SourceCon
  47. 47. Preloading examples • "What is the next step in your career?" • "What would your dream job be?" • "Not sure if you would be interested in opportunities that involve ________" – Working from home – A shorter commute – Exciting new development – Working with a top notch team… • "Most of the people I talk with aren't actively looking to make a change" • The best time to look is when you don't need to… • "…I won't waste your time…" • Mention a personal or shared interest (preloading rapport/likability) • Pay them a genuine compliment (preloading rapport/likability) • Be very specific with regard to their experience (preloading competence and potential match) • Preloading for honestly and disclosure: "Now think very carefully before you answer my next question…" Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  48. 48. So, I would normally leave these first-contacts short and sweet, but I am really intrigued by your statement "What you look for in that dream opportunity..." It is the most interesting statement I've come across [and it] makes me feel human. Out of mere excitement about the question, here's my first shot at answering it: actual candidate response Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  49. 49. If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing. W. Edwards Deming, Engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  50. 50. Elicitation To draw forth or bring out or to arrive at a conclusion (truth, for instance) by logic. Alternatively, it is defined as a stimulation that calls up or draws forth a particular class of behaviors. Source: Social Engineering - To draw or bring out or forth; educe; evoke: to elicit the truth; to elicit a response with a question; to arrive at a conclusion (truth, for instance) by logic. In social engineering, it can also involve a stimulation that calls up or draws forth a particular class of behaviors. Elicitation Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  51. 51. Elicitation You can fashion questions that draw people out and stimulate them to respond and take the behavior you want. Expert elicitation can result in your target wanting to answer your every request. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  52. 52. Elicitation Techniques • Appeal to their ego – Be genuinely complimentary, but don't overdo it, and never be insincere • Express a mutual interest – One of the easiest ways to be immediately likable (do your research!) • Make a deliberately false debatable statement – Many people feel compelled to correct wrong statements and share their opinion on polarizing topics • Volunteer information – Offering up information in conversation almost compels people to target to reply with equally useful information – Reciprocity & mutual disclosure are largely automatic and unconscious Source: Social Engineering - Cathey | SourceCon
  53. 53. Do you have time to talk? Glen Cathey
  54. 54. Are you: • Looking? • On the market? Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  55. 55. Intelligent Questions • Open-Ended questions – Sometimes open ended questions can be met with some resistance, so using the pyramid approach can be helpful: Start with narrow questions and then ask broader questions at the end of the line of questioning • Closed-Ended questions – Not used for gathering information. Typically only one of two answers, used to lead the prospective candidate where you want • Leading questions – Leads the prospective candidate where you want them to go, but allows for the opportunity for them to expand. Common examples include stating a fact and asking for the prospective candidate to agree or disagree. • Assumptive questions – Questions phrased in such a way that you're assuming the prospective candidate has a particular motivation, opinion or some specific knowledge to determine whether or not they do Glen Cathey | SourceCon Source: Social Engineering -
  56. 56. Scarcity People often find objects and opportunities more attractive if they are rare, scarce, or hard to obtain because they are viewed as having more value Scarcity is often used in social engineering contexts to create a feeling of urgency in a decision-making context. Leverage #FOMO and competition Glen Cathey | SourceCon Source: Social Engineering -
  57. 57. If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect. Benjamin Franklin Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  58. 58. Appeal to Curiosity Loewenstein's Gap Theory states that curiosity happens when we feel a gap in our knowledge, and that these gaps cause pain. When we want to know something but don’t, it’s like having an itch that we need to scratch by filling the knowledge gap. By creating gaps we can elicit specific responses. Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Cathey | SourceCon
  59. 59. Appeal to Emotion Use quotes and tell stories - the brain processes stories differently than other information. Appealing to emotion forces the listener to use their imagination. Ask questions and using phrases such as "What happens…" or "How do you feel when…," which will require them to imagine something to answer, evoking a frame and corresponding emotions. Source: Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley: Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  60. 60. "Knowledge is what prepares a person for action, logic convinces him the action is good to take, but emotion is what makes the action happen. If you are emotional about your "cause" the target will feel that emotion." - Chris Hadnagy Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  61. 61. Social Proof Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. Glen Cathey | SourceCon Source: Barry Feldman
  62. 62. Social Proof Stating or even implying that others have taken a particular action can increase your chances of success. – "Most of the people (specific titles/roles) I speak with aren't actively looking to make a change…" – "The folks I've been speaking with have said ___________" – "I've heard back from # of others so I'm hoping to get in touch with you" – "I've been speaking to folks from X, Y, Z" (companies - and even same company when accurate) – "People who have recently interviewed have said _____________" – "We've recently hired folks from X, Y, Z and they've said ___________" Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  63. 63. Obligation & Reciprocity • Providing others with something of value can make them feel obligated to reciprocate – What can you provide prospective candidates that they would find valuable? • Follow up compliments with requests to leverage obligation – Compliments can also help make people more agreeable to influence • Simply being persistent can make people feel obligated to respond • Even something as small as a question can create obligation – leverage the power of silence Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  64. 64. Listen & Assume • Be a good listener – Repeat back what they share with you for rapport and confirmation that you get what they're expressing to you • Assume, assume, assume! – Assume the prospective candidate will respond and act the way you want – Assuming that what you want to happen will happen affects your mindset. Being positive and confident increases the probability of the desired response. – Resist the urge to always ask, "Is now a good time to talk?" Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  65. 65. ReferralsReferrals Glen Cathey | SourceCon Source: Jobvite: #1 Source of quality hires
  66. 66. Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  67. 67. Why would someone give you a referral? Why not? Glen Cathey | SourceCon Execute a 5 Whys Exercise with your team
  68. 68. Referrals • What's your why/story? Sell, don't tell, and sell before you ask! • Don't ask on first contact unless they've absolutely ruled themselves out. First contact is and should always be 100% genuinely about THEM. • "Who do you think would be interested in being considered for this opportunity/working for _______? • "The manager/director/vp of ________ is interested in identifying talented (insert target talent), who would you recommend?" Glen Cathey | SourceCon
  69. 69. Action Items • Be empathetic - seek & communicate understanding • Leverage mirroring, framing and preloading • Leverage scarcity & social proof • Appeal to emotion & curiosity • Leverage obligation and reciprocity • Listen & assume the best outcome Glen Cathey | SourceCon • Engineer great 1st impressions • Be likable & project competence • Be positive, have fun & make them smile • Make it about them - discover their needs • Master elicitation • Anticipate & preempt or address objections
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This SourceCon deck is the latest iteration of my social engineering content that I have also presented at LinkedIn, SOSUEU, Bullhorn and the NWRA, and it provides a high-level overview of many social engineering strategies and tactics that can be used in a "white hat" manner when seeking to influence potential candidates to respond to outreach efforts, be open to speaking openly and honestly with you, provide high quality referrals, and convert to being an candidate / applicant.


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