Career Coach Office Hours: March 11 2022 |

Career Coach Office Hours: March 11 2022 |

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[02:23] What’s the best answer for the question: “Why do you want to apply for this particular job.

[04:14] How do you avoid sugarcoating what your company has to offer a new hire?

[07:49] What unique things should one consider before accepting a job?

[08:24] If a recruiter calls your references, is that a good sign?

[10:17] When you are undecided about a candidate, do you typically lean towards rejecting them?

[14:22] Do companies always extend a verbal offer and then generate the offer letter after getting an acceptance?

[16:24] For an application, what would say when asked: “Outline two of your main achievements. Describe what they are, the process you went through and their positive outcomes for you and for others.”?

[18:13] What’s the difference between a provisional hire and an interim hire?

[20:19] Should I take a job at a company that just got bought?

[22:06] How do I turn down a second interview?

[25:06] It has been almost a month since I attended a job interview and I have had no feedback from the company. Should I wait or can I call to ask?

[26:06] After receiving an offer do you talk to the recruiter by video or audio call to negotiate?

[29:30] Would you be concerned if a candidate who has applied for a position has changed 3 jobs in 4 years?

[31:18] Are Skype or video job interviews becoming more common for applicants that live a long distance away or do most companies prefer to still prefer to meet face to face?

[32:57] What are the signs that the interviewer is losing interest in someone during an interview?

[34:10] Outro

When You’ve Been Made Redundant, Fired, Laid Off, RIF’d


This transcription is unedited

Here’s the first question I received. In a job application. What’s the best answer for the question, “Why do you want to apply for this particular career opportunity or this particular profile?” I think, let’s just stick with career opportunity. And I’ll translate that into why are you applying for this job? So I think of this question as being a stupid question, because they’re really not going to find that much. That’s interesting. But you can give an interesting answer. And the simplest way to respond is by saying something to the effect of I’m applying because I believe I have skills that when leveraged properly, would allow me to be effective in supporting the objectives of this department. And thus, when they ask you about that, in the course of the actual interview, you can talk about how your background fits what you understand the roles a bit. And I’m sure there’s lots more than what’s been described to me. But based upon the fundamentals of the job, as were explained to me by the recruiter, the job description, the ad, whatever it was, it kind of looked like my background might support the goals and intentions of this position. So I have a lot more I need to learn about to be sure. But again, superficially would look like I could help. And this is a firm I’ve been very interested in working for for a long time. Why have you been interested? And then you talk with him about the organization. Once you understand it’s like working there, you flatter the heck out of them. And then you move on. So I dealt with this in the application, and the follow up questions that they’ll ask you, based upon your answer. Good luck. I hope you got the interview.


How do you avoid sugarcoating what your company has to offer a candidate? Well, the answer is by not sugarcoating what the company has to offer someone. Now, I’ve said this many times before, when Job Hunters, shall we say, exaggerate what they’re able to do. They do it in their resumes, they do it on interviews. It took me a while when I did recruiting, to figure out that employers exaggerate as well too. So I realized that when I came to me I’d never heard of a hiring manager ever say to a job Hunter. You know, I’ve taken over this group, and boy, have I inherited headaches. My predecessor? Well, I’ll just simply say they didn’t know how to hire for hack. And the result wound up being that she or he hired a group of imbeciles. She got fired, her predecessor got fired, it doesn’t take a genius to figure my buddies on the line, I’m trying to rebuild this group. So we get great results, my button is on the line. Instead, everyone puts on a happy smile button face, they talk about a great opportunity with a terrific team of people have I mentioned we’re like family around here. Now of course not. So I’ll just simply say, the way to counter it is by talking initially about the job and the expectations, what it’s like working there. And you can say this somewhat. And you know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m demanding. I expect excellence from people, not perfection, excellence. I’ll help you a lot in your development professionally. But I expect a commitment from people. And you talk about what that commitment will entail. So then no surprises when they’re on board. You see your right, hiring managers sugarcoat opportunities to people. And thus, within six months of joining 30% of people have buyer’s remorse about having made the decision to join. You don’t want that to happen. Invariably, you’ll be disappointed by the people who you hire. And you’re going to feel as though you made a mistake, better scare people off at the beginning by tell them all the difficult things that have happened. And you can say, you know, the person who sat at the desk, or they asked you to sit that didn’t really perform well. And you can tell them exactly what you were disappointed in by the work. You know, I tried to help them, but they just couldn’t get it. They were someone I inherited from my predecessor. I expect more from you than I got from them. And thus, what you’re doing is really explicit. You’re telling people what you expect of them. There’s no surprises when they come on board, right? You’re not sugarcoating anything for them. So the easiest way not to sugarcoat is to tell them what their role responsibilities, role, and responsibilities will be and what your expectations of them will be once they’re in the role.

FEELING DEPRESSED About Your Search? Struggling? Feeling Fatigued?

What unique thing should one consider before accepting a job? If they’re I don’t know, what is unique to you? So I don’t know how to answer this question. Because most of the things people will tell you a pretty common, what are the hours? What’s my boss? Like? What are the benefits? It’s all going to be average stuff. And the key word there is unique. I don’t know what unique is for you. Ask the question a different way.


If a recruiter calls your references, is that a good sign? Depends on where in the process this is. If they’re doing this during the screening interview, this is not a good sign. All what all they’re doing is trying to I’m going to start off with this being a third party recruiter who’s doing it. If a third party recruiter is doing your references after a screening interview, they’re trying to get a new client to recruit for. That’s the fact that if they’re doing it, if a company is doing it after a screening round, that’s way early. Usually they’ll check references of people that they’re interested in hiring, which means it’s at the backend, all the interviews. And they may say to you, do you mind if we check references? The answer should be I’m just curious, does this mean you’re ready to make a decision about extending an offer? If they say yes, you have your answer, if they say no, this is part of the evaluation. Let’s go further. And once you’re ready to make that decision, I’ll give you the Okay. But you have more to know about me. And thus, let’s continue interviewing so that you feel comfortable with me. And my previous managers aren’t influencing the decision, or what do you have to be scared? I’m not scared of anything. But the fact is if everyone starts Calling my references early. They’re not going to be particularly excited about this. So when you’re serious and you’re ready to make an offer, let me know. I’ll alert them to it. I’m sure they’ll be happy to talk with you before then much too soon.

During an Interview, How Can You Tell an Applicant is Bullsh*tting?

When you are undecided about a candidate, do you typically lean toward no hire? The answer is yes. And that’s the way most managers are. They say I want to think about it for a little bit. And the metaphor that I heard many years ago, when I did search was, you know, if we’re going to put someone on the back burner, meaning we’re going to wait for a while before making a decision, they’ll usually fall off the stove, meaning there’s no hire this guy tech wise. You can as a job Hunter, trying to force the issue. And say, I get the idea. You’re not sure about me? And my qualifications? What else do you need to know in order to feel comfortable with a decision one way or the other? I’d be happy to answer your question. So for example, now they say you’re pending, we’re still talking to people. Great. I want to make sure you have everything that you need from me. And this is the last question I asked to tell people they ask in an interview, is there anything that you’ve heard or not heard, that gives you a reason to hesitate as to whether or not I’m qualified to do this job. Every once in a while, you’ll have someone who says I got what I need. Great, most of the time, they’ll tell you something. And that gives you gives you the opportunity to address it, and put it to bed. You may not get hired because there may be someone stronger who presents themselves. But the fact of the matter is, you just want to want to get a decision from so ask them a question like that at the end of your interview. If you haven’t heard from them after a few days, I put a quick call into them, and, or email and just simply ask, I have the idea that you’re not sure about whether I’m qualified. What else do we need to know in order to be able to make a decision comfortably? Got it?

What’s Your Best Tip for Job Interviews?

Do companies always extend a verbal offer and then generate the offer letter after the candidate has said yes, answer is typically Yes. And every once in a while it’s done differently. The reason for it’s really pretty simple. They don’t want to create work for themselves. If you’re not going to say yes to their offer. Right. They have to generate an offer letter. Put it in an email. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot. But imagine five minutes 25 times a week. So A lot of work, this may be pointless. So if they extend an offer that you’re prepared to say yes to say yes. And then from there, say, I obviously need a copy of the offer letter and the benefits materials in order to give notice. So that pulls you back ever so slightly. And you can then ask, what other contingencies Do you have? Before I have to before I would give notice, they may say it’s pending a background check, and salary confirmation. Great. And how would you do the background check, because, again, I’m not going to do give notice until the background check is completed? Well, you have anything to worry about, of course, but your offer is not legal, until the background check is completed. And thus, I’m not going to give notice until that’s done. So what paperwork do you need me to sign to move forward with that? And you and that’s the way to respond to them? Since, again, you don’t have the letter. It’s contingent upon references and background check. Don’t give notice until you have the letter and this other stuff is done. Okay?


On a job application, how would you answer the question, “Outline two of your main achievements, describe what they are, the process you went through, and their positive outcome for you and others?” The way I would respond to it is, it’s in my resume. And if you have more information, if you need more, let’s talk about it during the interview. I’m certainly not going to sit there and transcribe what’s in the resume onto an application. So it’s a stupid question. It’s, it’s as though, Well, I’m not going to guess as to why they do it. Maybe this is at a level position where people tend not to do that. In their resume. It’s certainly possible. But I would direct them to the resume. If it’s there. I would use you know, I would then say, and if you need more information, I’m happy to answer your questions about it. And we’ll move on from there. If they insist on more, you can simply say, isn’t that what the interview was about? Do you really expect me to spend 20 minutes writing in a three line area about two things that I have accomplished? Because that’s really what normally is, right? It’s a short field on an application. And they want you to have two main achievements there. And what the outcomes were in the process you went through, it’s impossible. So throw it back at them. If they don’t like it, this is probably not a place you want to work.

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What’s the difference between a provisional hire and an interim hire? So an interim is someone who’s brought in as an interim individual, between two others that are going the one who was in the job previously, and the one who’s getting the job. It’s a temporary employee, who is a bridge between what was in the past and who they’re going to hire. Sometimes, the provisional or the intern joins initially as an interim as a I’m sorry, I’m getting this messed up. Let me try this again. Sometimes, a person joins. Sorry, wrong spot. Sometimes, an interim hire someone who’s a bridge between the past and the future employee, a provisional hire is perhaps during that period of time, where you’re on probation in the role, and thus, if you don’t perform well, you’re there in effect provisionally until you clear probation. And then your employment is, is officially permanent. So interim is a bridge person, they’re not employee, they’re usually an external person. A provisional is during a period of time where you might be on probation. Sometimes an interim can become a provisional if they agree to join an organization. However, the other way doesn’t work. Because the provisional initially joining as a provisional, you’re an employee of that firm. Sorry, I was a little flustered there for a moment with my language. I’m glad I was able to clarify that.

How Far Back Should My Resume Go?

Should you take a job in a company that just got bought by another company? The answer is no. Unless you’re going in there intentionally as a contractor, and the reason for it’s very simple, usually the acquiring firm is going to make dramatic changes at the firm that’s been acquired, there’s going to be a merger between the two. So, for example, two human resources departments are going to become one. And that one department is going to need fewer employees. Same thing with every department in that organization. Maybe they do 125% of the current of the acquiring firm staff. But it’s not going to be all the employees. So if you’re going to join the acquired firm, don’t do it. Don’t do it, unless you’re joining on a interim basis and you know that going in, or you’re they’re coming on as a consultant, but not as an employee. Because there are no guarantees, your manager at the acquired firm has no power over the decision as to whether you stay once the the acquisition closes, they are too low level 99% of the time to really know if your job can be saved. They want to live with that. Because frankly, the other people at that firm are going to be heading for the door, because they know the days are numbered. Why would you be joining in a situation like this?


How do I turn down a second interview? Well, number one, politely. Now, if you’ve got the request from an agent, from a third-party recruiter, you can send them an email that says, I appreciate your client is interested in meeting with them again, I’m not interested in meeting with them. The job isn’t quite right for me. Now at that point, they may act incensed. What do you mean, it’s not right for you? And they’re going to try? And shall we say bully intimidate? psikyo into going back for another interview? You can just simply say, Look, I’m getting an offer from someone else I’m much more interested in than your client. But who’s who’s making the offer? Because the next thing they’re going to do is talk down that firm and say, What are you kidding? You’d go to that firm? Oh, wait, my client is so much better the opportunities better the money’s gonna be, they’re gonna say a whole bunch of crap to try and persuade you to go back to their client. And just simply say, Look, do you want me not to show up for the interview? And have you looked bad? No, I want you to go on the interview? I’m not going to do that. Do you want me to email the client? And let them know I’m not interested? Or do you want to tell them that I can wait and not show up? I can make the appointment and send them an email last minute, saying I told them, I told you that I wasn’t interested. And you pressured me into your choice? And they’ll say, No, I’ll tell him. Thank you, and just bring it to an end. Now it’s with a company recruiter, again, very politely you send an email to thank you for the opportunity to meet a second time. I’m not interested in the position as it’s been outlined to me. So I’m going to continue the interview. Or I’m receiving an offer from another firm. I don’t want to just go to a second interview, knowing that you’re still in decision-making mode. And this is a job I’m really interested in taking as long as the money is right. So give me a few days once I hear the offer, if it’s not going to be happy to meet with you. If it is good. I have wasted your time. Notice very polite and respectful because they are interested in you. And perhaps it’s a firm he would have wanted to join, but it just isn’t the right timing for you. So, courteous. That’s what you have to be courteous.

3 Ways Recruiters Can Help You Prepare for Video Interviews

What should I do? It’s been almost a month since I attended an interview. I haven’t had any feedback from the company. Should I wait or can I call to ask? They probably rejected you by ghosting you. That’s the probability. Don’t wait any further. I put on a call or send them an email or text depending upon how you’ve previously communicated with them. And all I’d simply say is I interviewed for this position on February 5, I haven’t heard anything since that time. Would it be fair to assume I’ve been rejected for this position? They’ll say yes. And then you can officially move on. They may say, No, we’re still interviewing other people, at which point you ask them. So what else do you need to know in order to evaluate as to whether or not I’m qualified? And I said, No, we have what we need. At which point though, thank you, and move on. They’re not really interested. So act now. Make them communicate. Nothing wrong with that he shouldn’t have waited a month, you should have done this at the end of a week, and then followed up with them.

Do you talk to a recruiter by video or audio call during a salary negotiation, after the offer has been extended? Well, however you do, it is less important that you do it. So let’s start off with the premise that you have an offer, and you’re trying to negotiate a little bit, try to get the offer increased. And thus, this the answer to this depends upon you. Will you appear nervous on camera? Or should we hide this from the person you’re negotiating with? If you’re going to be scared, do it as a phone call? There’s no one on on their side, once they see you’re scared. They know they Gotcha. They know that Gotcha. And they’re not going to have to do anything else to get you to say yes. So if you’re confident that you project confidence, if you conduct yourself like a peer, have people in your conversations, you can do it on camera, by all means. Get on camera with a big smile on your face. And let them see how happy you are. That you have the offer. Hey, I’m really looking forward to joining. But there are a couple of details I need to iron out with you before officially saying yes. But I need about 10-15 minutes tops. Should we schedule a time for this? No, no, we can do that right now. Great. And you want to send me a schedule scheduling link? And I’ll just chat bottom, let’s negotiate. If we’re doing it by phone, you must schedule a time for this or is this a good time for you? However you do it involves you. It’s not the process. That is the question mark here. What you should be able to do is project confidence if you’re on camera. And if you can’t do that, if you can’t speak like you’re talking to appear, then do it by phone.

From Paycheck to Purpose

This would you be concerned if a candidate who applied for a job has changed a three Java has been in three jobs over four years. I want to know more. And what I want to know is as I’m recording this, we feel like we’re post-COVID But if you go back four years, that’s two and a half years of COVID. And it’s a period of time when things were booming. Did they have a lot of those job changes during the COVID years? If so, have mercy. Have mercy people lost their jobs during that time, through no fault of their own. And to hold that against them during that time speaks poorly of you. So Should an employer be concerned about an individual who had three jobs in four years? No, find out more. So you understand the circumstances. For example, someone had a health issue, a family member had a health issue. They left, that’s one job change, they returned COVID hit, they had two more. What do you want? What should they have done? Should they have not spent time with your mom or dad on the deathbed? Come on, have some humanity here.

Are job interviews by Skype or video calls becoming more common for applicants that live a long-distance away. We’re gonna most companies prefer to still meet face to face. They prefer to meet face to face. But for long-distance or relocation, they’re always going to have a preference for the video called rather than flying, you know, if you’re two hours away, they may ask you to drive in to meet with them take the train or bus, whatever. But their preference ultimately will be on the beach. And this is, again, I’m working with the assumption that this is not a position that’s advertised as remote only. That it might be a hybrid. If you’re looking to relocate to their area, eventually they’re going to want to meet you in person. And you’ll understand what their work environment is like now. They’ll want to give you the one solver who asks a lot of questions. Having met, people see how you interact with others. It’s pretty normal stuff. However, if this is going to be remote only, they don’t need to. If this is valves, relocation before they’re going to spend a few $1,000 to move you. They’ll want to meet you, have you spend time with them, get a feel for you, and then decide. So again, no simple answer. It depends upon the circumstances of the firm and you.

What are the signs that the recruiter or manager is losing interest in the candidate during the interview? There are many signals. The questions become more prompt. You notice they’re not paying attention. When they get to “So, do you have any questions for us,” and they’re not really selling you on the opportunity. They basically sitting back and trying to stifle a yawn. They are not selling you is the biggest one. Because if they’re interested, they’re going to sell you. If they’re not interested, it doesn’t matter to they want to go on to their next meeting. If you notice them drifting, or their follow up questions have nothing to do with your answers to the previous question. Like if there are no follow-ups to question the answers that have a natural follow-up, your candidacy is toast. 

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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, 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 over 2300 episodes.

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