Know your audience

So often I see PGRs in consultations who are struggling to make the step from application to interview or the step from interview to job. When we explore their application or approach to interviews I find that whilst they might be very bright and articulate people, their focus is entirely on their perspective. They have not given consideration to the perspective of the employer.

When I deliver workshops on Applications or Interview processes, one of the key messages I focus on is “think like an employer”. It is not enough to know your stuff, you also need to:
1. Know your audience;
2. Understand the needs of your audience;
3. Speak to those needs.

So an effective application or interview performance is informed by 1 and 2, above and this enables the candidate to “speak to those needs” through demonstrating the benefits they, as a candidate, can bring to that employer.
So do we have any evidence for this? Of course there is research that supports it. However, we need look no further than Donald J Trump winning the USA Presidential election. Whilst many questions and criticisms come from around the world one might ask how did he win? Who voted for him?

Well from this distance it looked like he, or his advisors, worked out how they could get enough people to vote for him by deciding who they would target in the electorate. Target fear: block immigration. Target disenfranchised working people: we will make the coal mines of West Virginia and the steel industry work again, yielding loads of employment. The list goes on.

He found out what his target voters wanted. Gave them his message in simple statements. Did not get into complicated debates about how these things might be achieved. We all know the outcome.
1. He knew his audience;
2. He understood the needs of his audience;
3. He spoke to those needs.

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Martin Coffey

About Martin Coffey

Career Management Skills Developer, Researcher Development Team.

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