Answering Either/Or Questions |

Either/or questions are a trap for most job hunters because it’s never as simple as that.

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I used to watch Star Trek, you know, the Captain Kirk version. And there's a an episode where they talk about the Kobayashi Maru scenario, where no matter what you did as a captain, you failed. And the solution to the problem that Kirk came up with is reprogramming the computers to remove the doomed scenario into one where he could win.

I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I'm a career and leadership coach, a former executive recruiter.

And I want to talk with you about either/or questions because frankly, like that experiment, you're given two choices. It's one or the other. And that isn't the way life works is it? If someone says, "Would you like this in black or would you like this in white?"

"Any other colors?" Right?

There's always more texture to the scenario that you're being presented with. And thus, rather than falling prey to the question of which one would you do? Would you do this one or that one? "There's a lot more I really need to know because it's never quite as simple as one or the other. There's a lot of texture in this.

"So, for example, you know, who are we serving here? How does it serve them? What's my budget, if you're in a management role, you can list 100 different questions. But please don't just put them to sleep, you'll have made the point with two or three, and simply say "it's never quite as easy as one or the other. There's always subtlety in there, that in my role I have to be able to discern. And as a result, I can't really answer this, if you press me to, I'll do it. But that's not the way life works. And particularly for me, as a manager, as a leader, as a director or as a VP, as a whatever title you have, even at a staff level, it's never quite as simple as one or the other.

Make it very clear that there's always texture to the answer, and that you're missing a lot of information that would allow you to really provide an answer. And they may follow up by saying, "Well, this is the data that you have, how would you explore it?"

And thus you go through the questions that you would ask in order to evaluate how you might, not just simply accept it from the people who are presenting it to you, but you might go a level deeper to see who else might substantiate what you were told in order to avoid, shall we say, making a mistake that can prove prove costly for everyone.

Hope you found this helpful . I'm Jeff Altman. Visit my website at There's a lot there to help you in the blog. Plus, you can schedule time for a free discovery call, scheduled time for coaching, find out about my courses. There's a lot there to help you.

In addition, subscribe to my channel on YouTube at You'll get notices whenever I release something new. And lastly, connect with me on LinkedIn at

I forgot I mentioned my podcast, No BS Job Search Advice Radio is the number one podcast on Apple podcasts about job search. There's more than posts I'm sorry 2200 episodes at this point. It is number one. No show is anywhere close to the number of episodes for No BS Job Search Advice Radio.

Have a terrific day and be great


JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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