Job Search Lessons from “A Chorus Line” |

Follow Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter on Facebook

I don’t know why the show, “A Chorus Line,” popped into my mind this morning but there are some wonderful job search lessons that crop up in the show.

Read Full Transcript

I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, the head coach for JobSearchCaochingHQ com. Today's video is one that . . . There are job search lessons in a variety of different places that you don't expect to see them in. One that popped into my mind today . . . What I hadn't done a video about was the play, "A Chorus Line." Now you may have seen it as a movie, I saw the original play on Broadway in there, I'd say 1975, 1976 something along those lines. There were three very profound lessons that I remember from the show that I I've confirmed by watching different segments.
The play is one about an audition and a performance and the audition starts off with a large casting call. It eventually gets narrowed down for those who are selected. So a large audition sounds like being interviewed. In their particular case, They're saying their competition right in front of them dancing against them. In your case, most of the time you aren't. They're not seeing who you're competing with, but you're always competing. And one thing that firms do that shows up in the play is they are playing you and they're playing your emotions.
In the play, there's a song called, "I Need This Job." It's the story of, again, dancers competing to be in the chorus for a Broadway show. And there's a point where they sing, "I really need this job, please God, I want this job." I think are the lyrics. Then there's later on, there's a brief pause and in the audition, where they start asking themselves, "I think I blew it." And "he doesn't like me. He thinks I'm terrible." Sound like some of the interviews you've been on and some of the craziness that you put yourself through? Frankly, firms know this. It's one of the reasons they use some of the gaps in the process. . . So that you start becoming desperate. You start really wanting their job because kind of like Groucho Marx said, "Any club that would have me, I don't want to be a part of." Well, in this particular case is the exact opposite. It's, you know, "I want to be a part of a club that doesn't seem to want me." So, part of what firms are trying to do is to make you anxious, so that you'll want what they have.
The second thing that came to mind from the show, is there's a character named Cassie who had one point was a headliner of a show. Matter of fact, she stopped the show twice was considered a great talent and now she's auditioning for a job in the chorus. The chorus master or the dance master, I should say, challenges her. She's been chosen for the chorus, "Why do you want to do this?" She said, "This is what I can get. In the previous instances, it was hard and no one had the guts to tell me, I would never be a star. I was always going to be close." There's a certain desperate and pathetic quality that I think of with older workers taking this step down in their job, that it's hard for organizations to see them in this way, because they've been in the top spot or they've been more senior. I want to talk to you, those of you who are older or are willing to take that step back, that it's really hard to do. Because you've exceeded the expectations of this job. It's hard for an organization to see you in that way.

The last thing is, if you've never seen the dance number, "One," I have a lot of good memories of the show. So, "One," is the finale, and it's what they've been rehearsing for the entire time. I've watched the version on YouTube, where it's done at the Tonys. It doesn't matter which version you see or whether it's the old one in '76, or a more recent one. What you'll see is the effect of practice and rehearsal, that most job hunters never engage in. For you to really excel in your dance, you need to practice and rehearse and work it hard, just like these dancers take for two hours on the stage, to the point where they ultimately be become sensational.
What you need to always be doing is looking ahead and practicing and putting yourself in the position where you're teaming with others in order to excel at the time you walk into the performance.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a free Discovery call.

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone) 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.

Connect with me on LinkedInLike me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Watch my videos on YouTube at or for FireTV, AppleTV, Roku and 90 other devices

Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJoin Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas and advice in your current career and job.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.” 

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.