Successful business people know it’s important to know your audience.
That’s why career professionals advise their clients to research the company and those who you’ll be meeting before every job interview.
As a former recruiter, I know that most people don’t bother.
Questions about what candidates know about the company were often met with vague generalities or an outright “nothing really.”
The truth is knowing your audience can make the difference between a probable no and a resounding yet.
My favorite example is from the movie Hidden Figures about 3 African-American women who served vital roles NASA during the early years of the space program.
Mary Jackson, a mathematical genius who wanted to be an engineer, is told she needs to take some additional classes despite having a 4-year engineering degree.
The problem is that the classes are offered only at a segregated high school.
While most of her friends think it’s unlikely the judge will grant her permission, Mary is undaunted.
She presents her case by noting that the judge was:
The 1stin his family to serve in the armed forces, US Navy
The 1stto attend university, George Mason
The 1ststate judge to be recommissions by 3 governors
She explains that she wants to be the 1stfemale engineer at NASA — but to do that she needs to take evening classes at the segregated high school.
Then she asks the judge, “Of all the cases he will hear that day which one will make a difference 100 years from now. Which one will make him the 1st?”
Mary wins her case.
While you may think that doing research isn’t important, it is. Employers are looking for more than great skills, experience, and education. They’re looking for more than someone who shines during the interview process.
They are looking for energy, initiative, and enthusiasm.
Invest the time it takes to know your audience. Research the company and those you’ll be meeting. Go beyond the job description to understand the employer’s needs. It may turn a “no thanks” into a “yes.”