Eltine van der Veer is a Web Psychologist and Research Consultant at Braingineers, a neuromarketing research agency which analyses with the latest technology the human brain and provides insights into the subconscious perception of customers.
Braingineers combines this research with their psychological expertise to help their clients make their (TV) commercials, online usability, customer products and services more effective. Some of Braingineers clients are: Vodafone, Albert Heijn, Transavia, Auping, BEN, Schiphol, Tix etc.
Eltine is driven by making online interaction the right interaction for humans. She emphasises that “Behind every computer, tablet or mobile phone there are people, real humans who need real communication. Being online is not only about finding your target audience, talking with them or creating good content. It’s about the substantive social interactions that take place and the impact you and your company want to create and can create.” Eltine van der Veer gained her Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the University of Utrecht (NL). You can follow Eltine van der Veer on Twitter @EltinevdVeer.
Interview with Eltine van der Veer, Web Psychologist
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Mrs van der Veer, there are many psychologists in this world, but few web psychologists. How did you get interested in this particular job?
Eltine van der Veer: I’ve always been interested in human behaviour, that’s the reason why I chose to study Social Psychology. It was only a few years after my study that I became very interested in online psychology. The rise of social media and other digital revolutions made me curious about the impact it can have on people. I decided to complete a study in Digital Marketing to become more knowledgeable in this specific field. This is how for me it all started.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What does your job exactly consist of? Who are your clients, do you deal with individuals by analysing their online behaviour/presence or with companies who want to influence their buyers in making certain buying decisions, or both?
Eltine van der Veer: Both actually. I’ve been approached by individuals to make their online presence more noticeable and effective (websites, social media accounts, communication) but also companies or brands who want to make a bigger impact in the online world. Their problems vary from website strategy to persuasive communication to social media strategy to conversion optimization.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: How can someone become a Web Psychologist? How advanced are universities nowadays in offering programs for this particular subject? Can you give some examples from the Netherlands, the country you are living in or on an international scale?
Eltine van der Veer: Unfortunately, web psychology isn’t a study in the Netherlands yet. You can study Social Psychology, Neuro psychology, Economy & Consumer psychology which combines offline psychology with online psychology, but there isn’t a sole online study for it as of now. However, since this field is becoming more and more popular and important, it would be great if in the future it would be offered as a separate study.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What are the 5 most important lessons you learnt in your career?
Eltine van der Veer:
1. Follow your heart.
2. Knowledge and education is important, but your life and work experience can make the difference.
3. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
4. You are the artist of your life, so make sure you decide what you want to do with it.
5. Still a hard one to accept, but there are no mistakes, only lessons.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What are the positive aspects of your profession as a Web Psychologist?
Eltine van der Veer: Nowadays almost everybody and everything is online, and there is so much more to discover about behaviour, especially online behaviour. This particular field keeps expanding quickly and is also very dynamic. Another interesting aspect is that no case is the same. Every case needs and deserves its own plan and time for research, that makes it so challenging for me.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Are there any negative aspects that you don’t enjoy in your job and why?
Eltine van der Veer: I can’t really think of any! However, if I had to mention something, I would say that sometimes I find it annoying that digital is all about technique and interfaces. But this doesn’t always work because sometimes this can cause delays in optimization. Being dependant on that is sometimes a challenge.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Let’s talk about money. What can a Web Psychologist earn on average?
Eltine van der Veer: This varies strongly depending on education, experience and company. The fee for an experienced freelancer can vary from 90-150 Euro per hour.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What are the most important 5 tips you would give someone who would like to pursue a career as a Web Psychologist?
Eltine van der Veer:
1. Read scientific research and do your own research, you’re never done with learning.
2. Learn about digital marketing and advertising and know the industry-specific terminology. This is very important if you want to communicate on the same level as your clients.
3. Be scientific, but also commercial.
4. Challenge yourself in your creativity, especially when giving advice to clients. Your advice can make the difference when it’s put in the right context with the right content.
5. Find other Web psychologists or experts in your working field and network. You can learn from each other and broaden your professional network (with potential clients).
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Do you think schools should introduce in their curriculum online social behaviour as a mandatory subject? Are you aware of any school programs who do this already successfully?
Eltine van der Veer: I think it would be wise to confront children at the teenage age (or maybe even younger) with the consequences of online social behaviour. This hasn’t really got anything directly to do with my work, but making people aware of the dangers of online would be good (cyber bullying for example or ethics). As for universities, I think this is only relevant for studies concerning the digital world.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Let’s assume you would have to hire another Web Psychologist, what five questions would you ask that candidate in order to determine if s/he is the right fit?
Eltine van der Veer: These are my five questions:
1. Can you give me an example of a project you did that you’re proud of?
2. Can you give me an example of a case or situation in which you had to be commercial and scientific at the same time?
3. In your opinion, what company is doing the right job online? Why?
4. Which company’s website would you like to optimize or provide with consultancy services? Why?
5. What’s your opinion on ethics concerning the field of web psychology?
Karin Schroeck-Singh: There is no secret about it, people do google each other, particularly in the corporate world. What do you think of companies who ignore social media background screening in their hiring process? Is there any advice you can give in that regard?
Eltine van der Veer: Companies that are hiring the new generation can all be found online nowadays, it’s basically a part of their identity. Thus, not checking them out is like not asking them about their life. They hardly know a life outside the online world. Since things are changing, companies should embrace these changes and ask about it and search for it. I’m not saying that they should judge a book by its cover! Let me give you an example: A party picture doesn’t mean you’re going to hire a party animal, it might only mean that this person has a life, just like you do. Before you make any wrong assumptions make sure you ask about what you found.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: What is the most positive experience you made as a Web Psychologist so far? Can you share a particularly memorable experience or episode?
Eltine van der Veer: Because this field is quite unknown among people/clients, it was a challenge for me at the beginning to explain people/clients what I could do for them. While some get scared because of the psychology aspect, others feel that it’s too early for them to start with this kind of consultancy or advice. I found this sometimes hard, but I’m proud to say that continuing and believing in myself brought me to the point where I am now.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: I would think that in the future the demand for web psychologists would be quite high. How much potential do you see?
Eltine van der Veer: Maybe it’s easy for me to say, but I think there is a lot of potential. Can you imagine a world without the internet? Since almost everything is connected nowadays, this creates completely new behaviour environments, and therefor load of possibilities to study and optimize.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Is there any particular book that you can recommend for someone who would like to understand the science of psychology and the internet in more depth?
Eltine van der Veer: I really like the book of Nathalie Nahai, “Webs of Influence”. It reads very easy and gives basic knowledge of online psychology. She’s a real example for me and a true expert in this field.
Karin Schroeck-Singh: Thank you very much Mrs van der Veer for your precious time and your valuable insights, I really appreciate. It’s a real delight to interview experts like you.
Eltine van der Veer: Thank you! I really enjoyed it.
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Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh
Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at www.Careerheads.com. She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” (http://careerheads.com/product/ebook-44-tips-for-a-successful-video-interview/). She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.