Career Coach Office Hours: December 2 2022

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
I answered questions about #jobsearch #hiringstaff #management #leadership #workplace issues. Join me at 1 PM Eastern on Tuesdays and Fridays. You can also message me on Linkedin before the show and I will answer it, too.

The Top 10 Salary Negotiation Mistakes


Which companies or organizations are likely to hire those with English as a second language? So I tend to think of financial firms that might have offices in the United States. So let’s say it’s a foreign bank, or a foreign investment firm that has a US office, I think maybe nicknamed a correspondent office in the United States. And they want to ensure that they’re able to deal with residents of their former country who may want to bank with them, or trade with them as being one type of organization that would love people with English as a second language. I know years ago, I was coaching someone who asked about that. He was Brazilian. He wound up getting a job with a Brazilian banking firm. It turned out very well for him. So the long and the short of it is think of the organizations in your nation of origin and start thinking of how you might approach them in the United States for work. Is there a place with them where you can leverage that US experience and your foreign language skills, working in a correspondent role for their organization. A lot of different firms, but banking is always what comes to mind for me. I’ll just say, give it a shot. It’s a very good avenue for using your skills, your foreign language skills, foreign by US standards, and then converting them for useful purposes. And for those of you who are US citizens who want to work abroad legally, think of the same thing in reverse. Let’s say you’re in Europe, and you’re an English speaker, have some let’s say, French or German language skills, or Italian skills, or Chinese or Japanese speaking skills, you might be able to leverage both of those experiences usefully in serving organizations there.



Can having an ego ruin your chances for a job? So, an ego? Everyone’s got an ego. No, come on. Freud made that very clear. We all have egos. The question is, do we have extreme behavior as a result of that? Most of us can contain that. And there’s nothing wrong with having an ego. It’s about using it abusively with others. That’s the problem. So where you’re being hypercritical demonstrating a superiority complex, narcissism or anything else that’s extreme, that’s where the problem resides. But thinking of it in terms of having an ego, as I said, everyone does. What’s the problem? So don’t sweat it. Be a normal human being who doesn’t conform unnecessarily, I’m going to speak to those of you who are more experienced, who know something more than the real junior ones. If you’re relatively junior, learn from your more experienced people, then from there, see what works and what doesn’t work, and take it to your next role. From there, as you become more experienced, you learn to adapt. And, you know, I always encourage people to be great. Excellence is so important. And not just going along with the flow and becoming ordinary becomes an issue. So I’ll just simply say, no, having an ego doesn’t ruin your chances for a job. Being abusive and rude–that winds up ruining your chances of getting a job.



Layoffs are happening all over the tech world. How can leaders ease the burden on effective employees? This one I wanted to do a little research for because it is a problem right now and I didn’t want to give this short shrift. So I found someone who wrote some very good stuff on that I thought would be helpful. So they made seven points. gives them more flexibility to collect any cash for exercising, and corresponding taxes. These are seven really useful pieces of advice for those of you who are in tech, that some of it will apply to those of you who are not in tech, but I’ll just simply say, if you’re trying to help the people that you’re letting go, this really will do a lot for them.



  1. Provide a brief, clear and comprehensive FAQ doc for leavers.
  2. Contribute to a fair severance and Cobra package – the standard right now in venture-backed tach seems to be around 1-3 months, sometimes with additional time for higher-tenured employees (e.g., 1 extra week for each year of service). Employer watch-out: check with your legal team on the WARN Act*.
  3. Speaking of benefits, consider extending any mental health benefit and financial health benefits to leavers for a period of time.
  4. Start a company alumni group on LinkedIn and/or created a sharable opt-in list for leavers to share their names, LinkedIn profile, and job that they are seeking next. This can be shared around to other companies and beyond.
  5. Consider modifying your equity plan to waive any 1-year cliff for options or RSUs, and consider extending the option post-termination exercise window (PTEP) from the standard 90 days to something that gives leavers a bit more flexibility to collect any cash for exercise and corresponding taxes.
  6. Consider letting leavers keep their laptop. The depreciated device likely has far more value to them than to you.
  7. Work with your investors and any talent partners there to help leavers. VCs often maintain a talent database and job boards from elsewhere in their portfolio.




Is it considered unprofessional to interview for a job and the job wants you to start working immediately after the interview? Would you work for a company like that? That’s a weird scenario. I could see it happening, but it’s weird. So why do they want you to work immediately after the interview? Like you normally signed documents? You normally would do things to prepare for your first day? I think I would say to them, ‘you know, I haven’t committed yet. I’m curious why you want me to start immediately after the interview. What’s the issue that needs my immediate attention? ‘No, no, we just we need people to start right away.’ ‘I want to give notice where I work because I’m currently employed. They deserve that from me.’ And if that’s a problem, you can follow up by saying ‘is that the way you would want to be treated? Like being disregarded as an employer and not having anyone give notice or giving zero notice and starting a new job?’ So personally, I don’t think I would. It’s just too fast. There’s something wrong there. And you’re right to smell \that there’s something off with that scenario. Again, I wouldn’t do it and you may be different. I’m okay with that.

Researching Salary


How effective is reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn in order to get interviews or job offers? If you get the job offers, it’s just about interviews. You want to get asked out on a date. And that’s what you’re really doing. You’re trying to contact recruiters, whether corporate or third party, to see if they might be interested in hiring someone like you are with your particular background. So it works. Is it instantaneous? Of course not. Nothing is. Using the metaphor of dating again,  they’re going to want to date you a few times before proposing marriage to you. So the long and the short of it is, yes, reach out and network to hiring managers, too. Reach out to people at a management level in organizations that you’re interested in. And keep plugging. Keep reaching out to folks. It does work.



If I have a job offer before bonuses paid out, is it bad to try to get the bonus before accepting the new job? No, it’s normal. You spent the entire year working to get that bonus. Why would you walk away from it? No reason I can think of. So. I know, right now, I’m recording this at the beginning of December and some firms pay their bonus and the end of the year. So I wouldn’t give notice until I had the bonus in my bank account. So no, I would tell a new employer, ‘Look, I’ve got a bonus coming at Christmas. And it’s only a couple of weeks away. I want to receive it and then join.’ ‘But we need you to start before that. Well, let me put it this way, would you pay me the bonus to start early? Like would you give me a signing bonus amount equivalent to what my bonus would be?’ ‘How much will that be?’ ‘Well, normally I get a 20% bonus. That’s what I got last year. That’s what I got the year before. So it’s pretty reasonable to expect a 20% bonus.’ ‘Oh,  we can’t do that.’ ‘Then wait for me for a couple of weeks. I’ll give notice after the bonus is in my account. But I like to commit to joining, agree to start with you, and start after I receive my bonus.’ ‘But what happens if it’s delayed?’ ‘It hasn’t been delayed before. There’s no reason to think it will be delayed now. Now, I can start after I received my bonus. After all, let’s get practical. it’s a lot of money to me. You know what I’m making. And thus, you know, for me to walk away having spent 11 months of this year working toward that bonus. I don’t want to do’ that. I’ve earned it. It’s only a few more weeks. I’d be happy to start soon after. And that’s the way you would play it. So, no,t’s not bad to try to get the bonus. And normally if you go to your employer and say, ‘I’ve got another offer, and I’m gonna take it and can I get my bonus early, they’ll let you go and not pay you the bonus. So I’ll just simply say, don’t do more than ask. . . Don’t do anything that will jeopardize your bonus. First, don’t do anything to jeopardize your bonus. Do not attempt to get paid in advance. Just very simply ask the firm that’s made the offer whether they can wait for a touch.



If the interviewer asked me to make an omelet for a video editor post I answered it plainly explaining the process. My overall resume is strong for the job. I didn’t get the job. Did she expect me to answer it more cleverly? Hard to say because I don’t know what you said. So, I think she may have wanted you to describe what the omelet might look like as you were doing it because I’m thinking of this from the standpoint of video editing. Again, hard to say what she was fishing for. She could have just been messing with your head to see how you’d respond. Because often, it’s not the question itself that’s the issue. It’s your facial expressions. How you puzzle through the problem is. Did you look thrown by the question or did you smile and just go into it? Most people thrown when they get a question like that. So Google it, see what happens when you do a Google search for the interviewer asked me to make an omelet for position? What are they looking for? That will probably help you understand where the Miss might have been in your answer.

There Are Stories And Then There Are Stories!


How can I find an SQL job recruiter company that can help you with finding a job and can offer you interview support? So just to be clear, you’re looking for a recruiter who fills SQL positions so that they can find the job and give you help with interviews. Got it. So I’m not sure anyone would specialize in SQL programming positions. So I would Google search, or LinkedIn search and look on ZipRecruiter and other places for people who are trying to fill positions for SQL developers, for example. If it’s data analysis, you can do something along those lines. But let’s just start off with a SQL developer position. As for interview support, they’ll prepare you for interviews with their client, and what the client is looking for. But teaching you how to interview? It is unlikely. Now I happen to have a video course available on my website, which is The course I’ll point you to is called The Ultimate Job Interview Framework. I mentioned that I believe, at the top of the show, and it is very good at teaching people how to interview. You can rent it for a few days. You can purchase the course, it will help a lot. So how do you find these people? You go on to job boards. You go on to LinkedIn. You go to ZipRecruiter, Indeed, any site that you would use for finding a job, and start looking for recruiters who are advertising for people who do the kind of work you want to be doing. That will help you find some of those folks who you want to connect with.



How do recruiters respond to rejected candidates who contact them after their application was declined and asked why they were rejected? So I know what I did when I did recruiting. That was when I turned down a candidate, and someone contacted me afterwards, normally, I didn’t respond. Now I didn’t initiate a contact to a person who I was rejecting. In effect, I don’t want to say I ghosted them because there was no request other than that he applied for a job that they weren’t qualified for. And if they followed up with me to ask what had happened, why I was turned down, why I hadn’t heard from them, I had a signature file in Outlook and would send them a message that basically said, well, the tone of the message was to say, ‘I reviewed your resume. I’ve seen stronger candidates than you. So this position is not right but I’ll keep your resume in my system. if something else turns up, I’ll circle back to you.’ Beyond that, and understand this was a pre-prepared canned note that would be sent to people who followed up with me. I wasn’t interested in talking with him. I wouldn’t talk with him. It was a waste of my time. I had already rejected them, right? So why would I get on a phone and spend five minutes of my life, explaining it to them, and then being argued with about how they weren’t qualified, when obviously, I didn’t see it, and they didn’t take the time to make it clear to me what their real expertise was. So don’t fall prey to that kind of stuff, and how I would view it. It’s a waste.



Why would an interviewer say that they were taking three weeks before letting you know their decision? Well, they may have a lot of people on their calendar  and they want to see those people before making a decision about whether or not to hire you, Now, I don’t know if “the interviewer” means the screener, the recruiter who’s representing a firm filling that kind of position. I don’t know if it’s a hiring manager. My answer is appropriate in saying we want to see the other people on my schedule. I want to give this a couple of weeks to see who’s available and decide who’s best for me. So why they do it is to stall for time, while at the same time communicating honestly, about what the status is of their filling this position so that this way, you don’t have unreasonable expectations and know where you stand. After three weeks, the likelihood is, you’re not going to be chosen. But you follow up with them and say, ‘when we spoke a few weeks ago, you mentioned that by now you should have a decision about who you’re bringing back, who you’re hiring, whatever next steps would be. I want to see if you made that decision and whether I was still under consideration.’ So nice polite note, and thus, you’re able to get the feedback that you want.



What is the best way to get a response from an employer after sending in a resume or cover letter? Well, the best way to get a response is to make the resume and cover letter obvious as though a six-year-old was reading the resume, that you’re qualified for the position that they’re trying to fill after sending in the resume and cover letter. You don’t want to be annoying, and call them incessantly because all that happens is you annoy them and they’re not gonna want to talk with you because they’re gonna think, ‘oh, this person’s torturing me.’ After all, imagine yourself in their seat. Is that the way you want to be treated? So why do you think they want to be treated that way, too. A quick note that might say, “I forward my resume to you at 2:48 pm on the 19th. I haven’t heard back from you. Should I assume that you’re not interested? They’ll go back and look at what they received at that time and the answer might be yes or it might be something different. ‘Oh, I missed your resume.’ Sometimes, I did that. But the long and the short of it is, you know, politely asking, ‘I forwarded my resume to you on such and such time and date. I haven’t heard from you. Should I assume that I’m not going to be hearing from me, that you’re not interested in me for this position? So the long and the short of it is, there’s no guarantee you’re gonna get this interview. The statistical probability is you’re not. But in terms of guaranteeing a response, a courteous email, or message to them, asking whether or not they were interested in talking with you will make a difference.

Tell Me About a Time You Made a Productive Change at a Company


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, 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. He is hired to provide No BS Career Advice globally. That can involve job search, hiring staff, management, leadership, career transition and advice about resolving workplace issues. Schedule a discovery call at my website,

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2500 episodes.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, and YouTube (on the account) Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 PM Eastern. You can send your questions about job search, hiring better, management, leadership or to get advice about a workplace issue to me via messaging on LinkedIn or in chat during the approximately 30-minute show.




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