Like many people “in marketing” I’ve been reading Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ – the book that sets the bar for behavioural science – desperately scouring its pages for any slithers of human behaviour I can use to my own twisted ends i.e. getting people to apply for a job.

It’s been a long, hard road slogging through it if I’m honest (see this article for a demonstration). So determined not to be one of them, I’ve plodded through.

And I’ve been rewarded along the way with bits of insight but thought I’d share a good one that happens **spoiler alert** right at the end of the book.

In chapter 35, Daniel lays out an experiment where people are asked to put their hand in cold water (14°C) in two controlled conditions separated by 7 minutes.

For one round they hold their hand in the water for 60 seconds, then are given a warm towel. For the alternative, they hold their hand in the water for 60 seconds, then the experimenter, without saying anything releases a valve which increases the temperature of the water by a degree – enough for the participant to experience a decrease in pain.

When people were asked which experiment they would like to repeat, what do you think was the answer?

It was the second.

Through this, the conclusion is there are two selves, the experiencing self and the remembering self.

“The experiencing self is the one that answers the question: “Does it hurt now?” 

The remembering self is the one that answers the question: “How was it, on the whole?”

“The memory that the remembering self keeps…is a representative moment, strongly influenced by the peak and the end”

If you’re looking for ways that’s been used in marketing before, then consider the waiter tip experiment – where additional mints given at the end of a meal mean bigger tips.

So what does that mean for us in recruitment?

This is something I’ve been thinking of throughout the book. And I think it could have huge implications for us when we’re considering branding and candidate experience.

When we consider employer branding, what do we want to achieve?

Ultimately, we want our efforts to positively influence how people view the companies who ask us to help them.

We want the people who interact with our clients to have a better understanding and impression of that company after they’ve encountered something we’ve done than before.

We want what we do to have influence.

This is a way for us to maximise the influence we can have.

So in this instance what should we be thinking about?

When we suggest a client holds an event, when should we give people the free swag?

Is the application part of the site more important than we ever thought?

Where are people normally dropping off on our customer experience journey and how can we send ‘em off with a smile on their faces?

What impression are we giving employees throughout their time with a company? And how will that affect how fondly they remember it (and recommend to others)?

It raises a lot of questions doesn’t it?

Questions need answers.

And I’d like to find them out.

If you would too, I’ll be posting more of this gubbins here. Let’s see what weird behaviours we can dig up. And how we can use them to help people get better jobs. Cos that would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Creative Director

Will is a writer. Having worked for AIA Worldwide for 11 years, he reckons he knows a thing or two about recruitment advertising, communications and employer branding. is where he chooses to spout off about it.