Donald Trump: the perfect candidate

Confident, bold and willing to speak his mind – what’s not to like about Donald Trump? Despite his faults, is he the perfect candidate?

High risk, high reward

Like anyone going for a role, Trump has to win over the people that matter, and he’s using the full force of his personality to do it.

So he’s a teeny bit controversial. Even key members of his own party, like Mitt Romney, have called him a “phony” and a “fraud”. But among great swathes of US voters, he continues to ride a wave of popularity built around his huge persona of a rich, successful businessman. Fabulous wealth is, after all, inextricably linked to the American Dream.

The more he talks about his supposed $10 billion net worth, the more people seem to believe it – even if Forbes value it at more like $4.5bn.

He famously once said, “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings – even my own feelings.”

So if he feels rich, and keeps telling everyone he’s rich, he must be rich – it’s all about perception.

It’s a completely different attitude to trying to win the job, which has shaken the establishment in a war of rhetoric – saying exactly what he believes and not sweating the small stuff or worrying about political correctness. It’s a high-risk, high-reward approach.

Speaking his mind

And it seems to be working. A survey in January 2016 by Working America asked nearly 1,700 working class white voters around Cleveland and Pittsburgh who they intended to vote for. He had more supporters than all the other Republican candidates put together, with his personality being the number one thing they liked about him. Almost half of them said they liked him because he “speaks his mind”.

Riding on the back of economic plans to ‘Make America Great Again’, Trump continues to defy doubters, and what may have seemed like a joke campaign to begin with is now anything but.

So – putting aside the xenophobia, racism, sexism and other unpalatable views – he’s a popular guy. No matter what his own party have said about him, the three other remaining Republican candidates still claim they’d back him if he won the nomination. But is he the perfect candidate?

He’s definitely different. He draws the media attention because he’s not like all the rest. As his son, Eric has said, “He does the exact opposite of what a lot of people would do, and it's turned out remarkably well.”

While his rivals – Republican and Democrat – may have more universally-acceptable policies, they can appear to lack that air of genuine authority and belief in what they say. It’s feedback in line with what we often see from employers in terms of candidates, that they need to be able to trust what you’re saying.

Create excitement

Trump has continued to mould himself to the needs of the role. Many of the positive qualities that have got him to where he is today would make any candidate stronger when applying for a job. And it’s advice he’s not afraid to share.

He’s previously commented, “What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” And he stresses, “Don’t get sidetracked. If you do… get back on track as soon as possible.”

He’s “flexible”, telling Fox News, "I have a very strong core. But I've never seen a successful person who wasn't flexible." And of course, he constantly lets people know how good he is: “You can have the most wonderful product in the world, but if people don’t know about it, it’s not going to be worth much. You need to generate interest and create excitement.”

Play to your strengths

So regardless of what you think of Donald Trump’s policies and morality, his continued rise is based on qualities that are generally seen as positive in recruitment; self-belief, self-reflection and continual learning.

The key is to play to your strengths and make people believe you’re the perfect candidate for the role.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn 10.3.2016