The Galatea effect is a boost in performance caused by raising workers' self-expectations. Hypothesizing that self-efficacy is central to one's expectations for success and motivation to perform, we used vicarious experience and verbal persuasion to strengthen the self-efficacy of candidates and to increase the rate of volunteering for special-forces service. 556 qualified candidates were assigned at random to the routine information program or to the experimental program. General self-efficacy (GSE) was analyzed as a moderator, and specific self-efficacy (SSE) was measured as a manipulation check. Analysis revealed that the experimental program raised SSE and willingness to volunteer, as hypothesized. 8% more experimental candidates actually volunteered (p < .02), confirming the Galatea hypothesis. The practical importance of the effect was that it reduced the loss of volunteers by a third, compared with the volunteer rate both in the control condition and throughout the preceding year. Analysis detected significant interactions between the treatment and GSE, evidencing the behavioral plasticity effect.