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This is another 1 of those stupid mistakes people make that results in no connection and no further interviews.

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I want to talk with you about another 1 of those stupid interview mistakes that people make all the time. It's really very painful and, I don't care what level you are at professionally, doing this proves so costly.

You might be asked the question by the interviewer and your response will be to give what I call "the pat answer." The one that reveals absolutely nothing about yourself, the one that seems like it was taken out of the textbook on how to interview when you're in high school or college and basically translates into (using an example), "So, why do you want this job," and your answer translates into, "I want to learn. I want to work hard. I want to get ahead."

"Why do you want to make this career change?"
"I want to do exciting work."

You sound like a robot, even if you are not a robot or speaking robotically, it sounds like fiction because it really the pat answer.

You have to give them much the same information but do it in a way that is far more believable. The "believable" involves revealing your humanity.

I want to be clear that I am not talking about "over sharing." Using example from someone I coach not too long ago, you might just simply say in response to why you want to make this change, "I have been very successful for a long time and have been working 90 hours a week for years. The fact of the matter is that I have young kids at this point. Having kids isn't something I can just "work in." I am making a choice here very consciously to scale back. I don't mind the typical 60 hour week . . . You know what I did before and how much goes into that. I can't do it at this stage in life. I have no problem taking direction from someone. I have done it for years." I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this.

You reveal something personal about yourself that deals with the real issue or that they have. Unless you give them something to connect with, that makes sense, they think it is a bunch of BS and they don't trust you.

Risk opening up. The wrong firm will want to hire you if you don't open up. The rate firm will because they will understand what your needs are and they are not going to try to work you over.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching or interview coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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