Skip to content

How to Win Friends and Influence Talent

2 min read.



Employer Branding

Ever wondered if you could accelerate the efforts of your employer brand using simple human psychology?

For part two of business books in translation, we’re diving into the undisputed best-selling Bible of business relations, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie.

If you’ve ever noticed a colleague smiling more than usual, dropping your name into every other sentence or taking a sudden and profound interest in your eclectic stamp collection, they’ve probably got this book on their bedside table.

There are three main groups that every Employer Brand Manager cares about winning over: current employees, prospective employees and stakeholders.

To that end, we’ve picked out the three most relevant lessons in Carnegie’s masterpiece for the ambitious Employer Brand Manager to win advocacy and expand their influence.

Three Principles from 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'

1. Dramatize your ideas

To persuade talent of the benefits of your organisation, you need to display an element of showmanship.

In this landscape, just telling prospective employees “This is a great place to work” while listing off perks doesn’t cut it. Every organisation is doing that, and you need to find a way to differentiate.

It’s worth noting here, that dramatizing is not the same as exaggerating. We’re not embellishing the facts of our organisation; we’re simply presenting them in a more sensory and compelling way.

To illustrate the point, Carnegie uses the example of a man making a proposal. Does he simply tell his partner that he loves them? No. He gets down on one knee. The sweeping gesture is often enough to spark emotion, and far more powerful than words alone. In this example, the man does not exaggerate his feelings, he emphasises them.

So how and where can you make such a gesture to talent?

A great place to start is job postings. How can you take the basic informative elements and present them in a way that satisfies talent’s hunger for drama? How can you tell a story?

Another outlet is social media. Take stock of the assets you’re putting out into the world. Could they be reformatted? Could you use more dynamic content? What is it that you want your audience to feel when they see this?

This is also a particularly useful principle for engaging key stakeholders with your project. Consider how you can dramatize what the current employee experience is versus what it could be, and the striking benefits the company will miss out on should they choose not to invest.

“This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth is to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship.”


2. Throw down a challenge

Giving people a challenge is a psychological technique with the potential for immediate, game-changing effect.

Not convinced?

Think about how many ‘Nos’ have transformed into ‘Yesses’ under the mysterious magnetism of three little words - I dare you.

This potential is why the best employer brands embrace open discussions of the key challenges and adversities of the working experience.

They go beyond a traditional “your skills for our benefits” value exchange by throwing down a gauntlet that says “This is what you need to thrive at our organisation. It’s not always easy. Do you have what it takes?”

Every member of your organisation, whether they realise it or not, has the intrinsic desire to excel. It’s your responsibility to awaken it.

Make the hardships of working at your organisation crystal clear, as well as how they are rewarded. Give candidates a hill to climb and you will quickly separate unsuitable people from the determined and resilient talent who will bring life to your company.

“This is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win… the desire for a feeling of importance.”

3. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers

One of the top challenges facing an employer brand manager is getting key stakeholders on board with the project.

As Carnegie highlights, the best way to ‘win’ someone’s attention and advocacy, is to make them feel as though an idea aligns with their own ideas and intuition.

Chief executives don’t want to be ‘sold’ your vision for an employer brand. They want to know, in language they can relate to, what the return of investment is for aspects of the business they have stakes in. They need to be able to draw insights from your pitch that help them to conjure a vision of their own.

Learning how to affiliate your employer brand objectives with wider company priorities is paramount to getting the buy-in you need. This is something our experts cover in detail in the Employer Branding Sprint Course.

“No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas.”


For anyone dubious as to whether these habits will work for their organisation, Carnegie says it best:

“You may be right. Nothing will work in all cases – and nothing will work with all people. If you are satisfied with the results you are getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?”

Ready to unlock more practical Employer Brand Strategy insights? Check out our Sprint Course, designed for driven professionals like you who want to make an impact.​


Share this post