The Behavioural Design of Applying at SUE

How to apply for a job at SUE?

We get about 5 applications for jobs or internships per day. That’s a lot, but we read each and every one of them and you’ll always get a reply. We’ve been where you are and we know how it bad it feels to get a rejection letter or in some cases no answer at all.

However, the process of shifting through emails, inviting people for a conversation and once in a while deciding to hire someone is extremely flawed. It’s a lottery. We have no idea who we reject, we have no idea if the person we invite for coffee is good, bad, nervous or overconfident. We also have no idea if we are victims of our own biases: do we think we have a good match because we like the person? Do we mistake confidence for competence? Or are we simply too desperate at that particular moment and just want a person to be the right one, neglecting all negative signs? But that’s after you have managed to reach the coffee stage. But for now the first hurdle you have to take, is making it through the first “application overload” cut.

So, a couple of months ago we decided to send the reply you’ll find below, to everyone who is applying for a job or an internship at SUE to help them cross this first hurdle. The idea behind it is that someone who wants to work at SUE – an agency that is specialised in behavioural design – should at least prove his or her ability to persuade, seduce, convince and convert. Call it a simple shortcut.

Please read the tips below and try to make it to our coffee. We hope you do!



Dear x,

Thanks for your interest in SUE.

Agencies like ours get about 5 applications per day. It’s impossible for me to judge the potential fit with our agency based on a simple resume or a portfolio. I think every agency is facing the same problem.

There are a couple of ways for you to stand out from the competition and outsmart other applicants:

  1. Make sure you get introduced by someone well respected, preferably someone we know.
  2. Be original in the way you apply, but please don’t do something lame like sending us a pizza or put billboards about yourself in front of our office.
  3. Take a good look at the agency you’re applying for and try to tell that agency what you like about them and why you’re the only possible match for that agency. Tell us, how you are the missing link at SUE and what you can do better than other SUE’ers that we really need?
  4. Study the people you are sending your application to. It’s not that hard to find these people or the agency founders on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. Try to find out what they write about, what fascinates them and tap into that conversation.

An application is like professional flirting. It might take a little more effort to go from Awareness to Interest to Desire and Action. And this holds especially true if you want to work as a persuasion professional.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,


‘s-Gravenhekje 1a
1011TG Amsterdam

(+31) 20 223 46 26

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Nah, I'd rather be unpersuasive

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