Knowing Your Audience Yields Better Results

knowaudienceI am a major proponent of getting to know your audience as much and possible before writing a resume and interviewing for a job. I once heard this story from a client who worked for Microsoft in the early days. I’d like to share it with you, especially if you believe One-Size-Fits-All in a resume and job interview.

As the story goes when Microsoft was a fledgling company they sought out ‘Best in Breed’ hires in all departments in the business. They were also smart enough to realize that one size does not fit all.

So they designed an interview question to gain insight into a candidate’s psyche to determine if they had what it takes to succeed in a given position or department.

The hypothetical question was as follows:

You are driving to work at a local hospital in your two seat sports car and two miles from the job you see a beautiful nurse who works in the same hospital who you want to date and a really good friend of yours who is also a coworker waiting at the bus stop on a cold rainy morning and they just missed the last bus.
You only have room to give one of them a ride and as you pull over to the bus stop to pick one of them up an elderly woman crossing the street falls in front of your car and needs immediate medical attention.

The candidate’s were then asked to be honest and admit who they would give a ride to A: Their friend (exhibiting loyalty) B: The beautiful nurse (exhibiting a win at all cost attitude) C: The woman (stressing empathy).

There is no right or wrong answer to the question. However from this test the company would determine who was predisposed for financial jobs, sales jobs, and customer service jobs etc. and rate prospective candidate for these types of jobs accordingly.

As an aside, there was one answer that assured the candidate a job. Give your friend your car and ask him to drive the women to the hospital, while you and the beautiful nurse take the bus to work.

The same psychological approach holds true in writing your resume and interviewing for a job. You need to know your audience and what style, format, tone, words and interview answers will resonate with them in your line of work at your level. This means that creative people need to be creative, while attorneys should follow established protocols etc.

If you keep this in mind as you seek out the changes you need to make to your resume and interviewing persona for every job you apply to and interview for I guarantee you will get better results.

As always I am willing to critique U.S. resumes and LinkedIn pages at no cost: perry@perrynewman.com.

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