Recruitment and NLP in HR

Every individual has a unique processing unit within themselves. This unique processing unit within the person generates the patterns for internal and external communication. This pattern or syntax of internal and external communication leads to verbal and non-verbal communication. In the field of Human resource management, the communication between the different parties is the center point of all operations. The objective of this book is to identify the methods in which the tools and techniques of Neuro-linguistic programming may assist the Human Resource managers, executives to be effective at their workplace. Now, Human Resource management covers a variety of processes that are executed in an organization. Some of the areas where NLP can be applied are training, coaching, mentoring, curriculum and course content design, interviews, feedback and so on. This book specifically explores the application of NLP in the area of Recruitment. It is created with an objective of assisting the recruiter fraternity to utilize the NLP tools in their day to day operations.

NLP was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder for therapeutic purpose. Soon it caught the attention of the world and today it is being applied in many fields like business, education, therapy, advertising and many more.

One of the basic principles of NLP is that each individual perceives the events happening around him. All his actions and communication is driven by this unique perception within the person. “Map is not the territory is one of the basic principles of NLP. The unique perception within the person is a stored set of images, sounds, and feelings. This stored information helps the person make a sense of the world around him or her. Through this sense, the person derives the meaning of what is happening within and external environment.

The book is divided into Four sections.

The section I highlights the concept of NLP briefly. Section II basic beliefs of NLP, explains the techniques in NLP which can be utilized by a recruiter for personal and professional development. Section Three consists of activities and exercises. Once the reader is through with the concepts of techniques this section will act as an extension to apply those techniques practically. The final section is a compilation of three scenarios which will give you hands-on experience of creating a solution using different techniques that you have learned in section III.

Section I:

What is NLP?

Neuro-linguistic Programming is the study of mind and the language that our mind understands. Our minds are meaning-making machines and we tend to derive the meaning from the events happening around us. This understanding helps us to learn and relearn things that interest us and create excellence in the field of our choice. In the context of work life, NLP assists us to achieve the excellence and consistency which puts us in the spiral of success and establishes a solid ground for professional development. Change is the only stable thing in this world. Every change breeds complexity. The complexity is dealt with effectively by being flexible. Flexibility is like a muscle. The more you stretch it, you can flex it more. NLP helps you achieve flexibility in your behavior by looking at and sensing the same situation from different perspectives. When the change occurs, initially everything is chaotic. We need skills to understand and craft our response to solve the chaos. There lies the real power of choice and NLP enables that choice for you. We need tools to self assure ourselves in what we believe and what we stand for. We need the courage to question our beliefs which are limiting us.

We need to have tools and techniques which will help us to work around the change and move up quickly. At the same time, we need our senses to be very active to wait for a moment and feel the richness of the moment that we are into. At work, now day’s companies are taking initiatives to be inclusive and embrace the diversity of cultures, language, beliefs. These initiatives are crucial as we need to communicate vastly with people coming from different cultural and educational backgrounds. We need to understand others point of view and at the same time focus on the organizational objectives and outcomes. Sometimes we need to forgive and let go and accept all the inconsistencies as we move towards the common outcome. Life is full of surprises. Sometimes we experience pain and grief. We need the skill sets to be more resilient and still do the required justice to our emotions. We need an eye to look for joy and feel it and be thankful for the moment. We need the courage to accept our limitations, work on them and bounce back. NLP gives us these tools and skill sets. The force that created us has put immense strength within us. If we really start with intent to develop ourselves and look within, we find the questions we find the answers within. We have the resources within. Focusing on outer personality characteristics without working on the internal aspects is like believing that you can make a building strong and beautiful by giving it the top class paint without making its foundation strong. We all know, what happens to constructions which are weak at the foundation, don’t we? If you list five top leaders of the world and list the commonalities you will find that there is one common thing that drives them which is their internal belief systems and the strength of their convictions. Is it possible to use NLP to create the conviction which was the driving force of the top leadership?

NLP explores the way human being learns. We are learning from the day we were born through our senses. We learn to identify the mother’s touch which embarks the start of our learning journey. Then we learn to utilize other sense like visual, auditory and create numerous stories in our mind. So our brains keep on doing one thing or the other. If you don’t feed in the happy stories, it will keep generating stories of its own which might not be happy always! NLP comes to rescue here by making us aware of how our brains work. The natural process of the brain can be utilized most effectively if we feed the thoughts and stories of success, goals, happiness, and joy within it. It will start creating, observing and looking for such instances in the environment. So at the workplace, what do you focus on? How do you perceive the events that are happening in your environment? What is it that you can do to take in and respond to the events that do not support your goals and ambitions? Can NLP help in these situations?

NLP in HR:

Let us explore further the relationship of Neuro-linguistic Programming and its application in Human Resources. The Human resource of any organization is one of the assets for any organization. The recruitment and selection of bright and talented employees to achieve sustainable competitive advantage is a process of immense importance. Beck and Walmsley(2012) quote the hiring of a bright and talented employee is a competitive advantage for the organization over its competitors. NLP broadly denotes that a person is a whole mind-body system. When an employee comes to work, he brings the complete mind-body system at the workplace. This system has its patterns of responses and thoughts. NLP suggests that the subjective experience is encoded within the person in the form of three representational systems Visual (V), Auditory (A), and Kinesthetic (K) (Davis and Davis, 1991) NLP has gain popularity and is widely used tool for communication and personal development. In the UK, NLP is a recognized mode of psychotherapy and is accredited by the United Kingdom of Psychotherapy. It is used all over the world by professionals like educators, managers, trainers, salespeople, market researchers, counselors, consultants and lawyers (Tosey et al, 2005). Areas where people around the world have successfully applied NLP in:

  •    Education
  •    Training and development
  •    Coaching and Personal development
  •    Family therapy
  •    Management auditing
  •    Marketing Communications
  •    Sales
  •    Human Resources

Many research publications have published factual data, findings, and results which explored and tested the hypothesis for the application if Neurolinguistic programming in Human resources. The research and findings suggest that NLP is immensely helpful in Human Resources and especially into recruitments. Today’s business owners and professionals are continuously thinking about how to create a competitive advantage in the present scenario of rapid change and technological advancement.

The top companies have realized that the true competitive advantage lies in their workforce. Human resources are now assuming a greater role in strategic business partners. Today’s workers are termed as knowledge workers. The field of data science and analytics has opened the floodgates of knowledge. How to manage them, recruit and mold their talent is a big challenge for the Human resource professionals

It has come to everyone’s awareness that the organization needs the best people and needs to take the effort to retain the best people to achieve business excellence.NLP can take care of many aspects in an organizational setup. The human relationships at the workplace are one of the major outcome areas for any HR, in an organizational setup. The environment in which the employees’ work creates a huge impact on how we feel about the work. Along with the external environment, the internal environment within the employees is also important for productivity. The internal environment within is greatly affected by the things we say to ourselves, the thoughts, values, attitudes, assumptions, emotions all these create the internal environment within ourselves. For example, the quality of the relationship between the team leader might not be good creating a sense of insecurity. This insecurity might result in over controlling the team. This will automatically damage the team spirit. The major process where NLP has a profound effect on the organization is the HR process like recruitment, training delivery, communication channels, negotiation, customer care, and stress management. Research suggests following are the areas where NLP has the most profound effect:

  •    Calibration of non-verbal signals
  •    Calibration of responses to mold your communication
  •    Enhances the ability to respond to criticism
  •    Outcome-based thinking
  •    Art of rapport
  •    Understand thinking styles,
  •    Motivational values through metaprograms
  •    Flexibility in communication
  •    Leadership
  •    Persuasion
  •    Training Delivery
  •    Content Curation

Recruitment and NLP:

NLP is applicable at every stage of the recruitment process. As per the survey conducted by various agencies, the top five skills required by recruiters in the coming year are:


  •    Sales Skills
  •    Communication Skills
  •    Patience and flexibility
  •    Result Orientation
  •    Relationship Building Skills



Neuro-Linguistic programming gives you the tools and technique to excel at these top five skills and many more. NLP is the art and science of having a clear compelling outcome and having a mindset of taking action until you achieve the outcome. If you are working in recruitments, give yourself the gift of learning applicative NLP!