This One Word Will Increase Your Yes Rate By 57 %

Sometimes, a small change can have a huge impact on the outcome. It is easy to think we are rational. For instance, when sending an application with a spontaneous application, the employer will say yes if there is a match with your profile and the company.


However, studies have shown time and time again how we deviate systematically from rationality. I want to give you an example you can use to increase the compliance rate with spontaneous applications. But first, the science.

The Science

In the 70’s some psychologist made an experiment involving a Xerox copy machine. They went to the copy machine and asked if they could cut in line. They said:


“Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?”


When asking this question, 60 % of all everyone let the person cut in line and make their copies. Most people were not saying no to the person asking. However, they also tried doing variations of this statement to see what the differences were. So they tried:


“Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”.


Just adding this reason, why they wanted to use the machine, increased in a 94 % compliance rate. Now, almost all of the people asked were giving the person in a hurry a helping hand. This might not surprise you, but there is more.


What was really interesting is this. They tried a third variation of the statement. This third time, they made tried a different nonsense reason like:


“excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine because I have to make copies?”


Adding this nonsense statement increased the compliance to a 93 % compliance rate. So, it didn’t really matter what the reason is. What matters is supplying a reason for your request.

In Your Job Hunt

Think about this in your job hunt. Whenever you are asking to get an interview, a fika or some other thing that you want to do for the company – do you supply a reason for them to comply with your request?


I have seen job hunters several times writing cover letters that are basically a historical representation about themselves. No request to do something, no reasons for doing so. Whenever you want to make someone do something like inviting you to an interview, why not be specific about the reasons for your request. Let’s say you want to meet someone for coffee:


Hey! My name is Andreas. I would love to have a coffee with you because I am very interested in what you do. Would you be interested in that?”


Simple and clear:


  • Who are you?
  • What do you want?
  • Why do you want it?


The basic structure is REQUEST + REASON.


The same goes for cover letters and CVs. Use these documents as means to convince the employer to take the next step with you. The purpose of the cover letter is not to get you a job, it is to give some reasons to why they even should invite you for an interview. So why not just write the cover letter in that structure?


You can easily write your cover letter in the following format:


Subject: 3 Reasons To Invite Me


In this email, I want to give you three reasons to why you should invite me to an interview.

  1. Why I want to work for your company’s
  2. Why I want to work in this position
  3. Why am I a good fit for this position.


Lastly, end with a specific question. Something like, do we have an interview?

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2 Responses to “This One Word Will Increase Your Yes Rate By 57 %

    3 years ago

    Amazing teaching. This is an eye opener.
    Thank you so much for this document.

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