Career Coach Office Hours: October 4 2022

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

I answered questions about job search, hiring staff, management, career transition, as well as workplace issues. Join me at 1 PM Eastern on Tuesdays and Fridays on LinkedIn or YouTube ( channel). You can also message me on Linkedin before the show and I will answer it, too.

Do You Have Any Other Offers?


How do you ask about application status following an interview? Now, normally, I’ll tell people at the end of the interview to ask them, ‘Could you give me an idea about next steps in the process and when I might expect to hear from you?’ ‘Oh, I expect to hear early part of next week.’ ‘So if you if I haven’t heard anything by Wednesday, Thursday, would it be okay to follow up?’ ‘Yeah, sure. Sure, no problem.’ So, under those circumstances, you’d have permission and know when to expect to hear doesn’t mean you actually will. Because certainly there can be delays, illnesses, a million reasons why they don’t follow up with you. But the long and the short of it is you ask at the end of the interview when you should follow up, and then ask about a date a day or two later, if you haven’t heard from them whether it’s okay to follow up. Now, if they say ‘wait,’ then wait. Because they’re basically saying don’t be so pushy,. Slow down, Bud, and, you know, we’ll be in touch with you when we have a decision about next steps and whether you’re going to be one of the people we’re bringing back or one of the ones we’re making an offer to.’ So how do you ask you do it at the end of the interview is the optimal way. Now, if you haven’t done that, and let’s say a few days has gone by, you might just simply send a quick email, text, put in a call however, you’ve been communicating with them, to follow through in the same manner. So they’ve been texting, you text them. They’ve been emailing to schedule appointments, email them. If they said ‘here’s my card. Call me if you have any questions and just simply say in whichever medium it is, ‘you know, when I met with you last Thursday, you told me you expected her feedback for me early part of this week. It’s Thursday now and I just thought I would follow up to see whether you have plans to bring me back or you are going in a different direction.’ That gives them permission to say no to you, as though you’re prepared for it. At the same time, you’re also saying, ‘hey, look, you told me you’d be in touch, and you’re not. So I’m following up. So that’s really the best way to check on the application status. And I’ll just simply say, it’s not a big deal,. You can call but these days not many people take phone calls, because of robocalls. We all use mobile phones; we hate being interrupted. And thus the ability to respond to a message is different. So send the message, send the text, if necessary, put in a phone call. You’ll be good to go.



What are positives about asking personal questions during a job interview? I’m going to take this from the employer’s side first and say, the positive aspect of asking a personal question of a person that you’re interviewing, a individual you’re interviewing, is you give them a chance to relax a little bit, and be able to talk to you as a human being, instead of that rigid, formal thing. Hi, how was the trip in today? Terrific,’ or ‘thanks for making time to connect with me on Zoom, I appreciate it. How’s your day going so far?’ ‘Whoa, going fine, terrific.’ ‘I’ve got an interesting position here. . . ‘ And what you’re able to do is get them to relax a little bit, and lower their guard so you’re more likely to meet the human being, rather than the candidate. You’re going to talk to a person and not a job hunter. And that’s really what you want to go for because you want to get a sense of the personality of the individual, and not just simply their knowledge. So that’s the benefit of asking personal questions as an employer. As a job Hhunter, I think it’s premature to ask questions at a first interview that are of a personal nature. You don’t really have a relationship to be able to do that with someone. So I’ll just simply say, unless they’re starting to do it with regularity during the conversation, for you, as a person being interviewed, don’t cross the line. Don’t put yourself in the position of over asking and reaching out about the wrong stuff. ‘

From Paycheck, to Purpose


I feel like I’m spinning my wheels during this job search. Been trying to compete. Tell me more, what’s going on? Happy to speak to you here and answer your questions or help you with your concern. Finish the sentence. Be very happy to help you. And I’m sorry, you’re running through some problems. If it’s about interviewing, I’ve got a ton on my website, I also have a great course about interviewing, called The Ultimate Job Interview Framework. It’s also available as a Kindle book, or paperback on Amazon. But if you go to my website,, you’ll see The Ultimate Job Interview Framework. It is excellent. It helps people really interview like an all-star. Now we’ve got the evangelist Okay, thank you. We make prayers for everyone here. So back to Tashima. Been trying to make myself more marketable because I’m career-switching from adult literacy. However, I’m still keeping my toe in by applying for those jobs as well. Haven’t gotten calls for interviews. So thank you. I tell people and I wrote a short Kindle book about this, called Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems. If you’re not getting interviews, it’s because your resume sucks (excuse my language), your resume and LinkedIn profile are not congruent, your resume doesn’t make a case for why you’re qualified to do the work or you’re applying to things that are aspirational, but your resume doesn’t connect the dots for people. Now in career transition, you know, you basically have to have a resume that focuses on your new career, but identifies things that you’ve done in your past, as well. Maybe some of these will wind up being able to get your foot in the door, because it’s in some way, adjacent to what you want to be doing. So, you worked in adult literacy. You’re applying to those jobs, as well, I don’t know what you’re trying to switch to. But you can put that into the chat, I’ll try and connect the dots for you and see if there’s a way that you can modify your answer your resume, or your communications with a potential employer. But again, in adult literacy, there’s always a limited market. There are firms that are hiring all over the world, for this kind of expertise. You can also try networking into your new field using LinkedIn to connect with people who do the kind of work you really want to be doing, not just the adult literacy work, but what you aspire to do in your new career. Start talking to people doing what’s called informational interviews. ‘I saw your profile on LinkedIn doing the kind of work I just went back to school for. I’ve worked in adult literacy now for the last 15 years. I decided I want to make a transition. Would it be possible to get 15 minutes with you to ask you a few questions about how you broke into the field, about what the field is really like because it’s of course different to be working in the field and what they tell you at schools about what it’s like. So find people to talk to you. See if some of those people might provide you the introductions. The more people to talk to, the goal is to start having conversations where people will start to say to you, ‘you know, I know this one organization. They might have something for you. Let me reach out to them and circle back to you in the next day or two.’ ‘I’d be so appreciative. Thank you so much.’ Having those kinds of conversations will help you land in the field that you aspire to move to move into. And I’d just be curious what it is that field is so that in this way, in this way, maybe there are some things I can help you bring into the conversations with people that might be useful for them and useful for you.



What are some wise things to discuss, and agreed to before a second job interview with the same company? I think some of the things that you want to be able to discuss with them,  that some of the wise things to talk about at a second interview are what their expectations for you are going to be going forward. What will your role and responsibilities be? What’s it like working there? This is one of my new favorite questions. What sort of institutional friction will you run into that is going to make things a little harder to get things done? Because there’s always friction. ‘If they say what do you mean?’ ‘You know, one thing I learned a long time ago is surprises are rarely good. Thus joining a new organization and discovering things aren’t exactly as presented because the institution makes it harder for people to be successful, is the kind of things I’m looking for. I’m not looking for criticism of staff, although if there are people who are, shall we say, more difficult to work with than others, I’d be curious as to what makes them that way, how they’re more difficult. But that doesn’t worry me. I’m just concerned about the kinds of things that get in the way of people doing great work. Thus, you’re having a conversation with folks, also confirming the nature of the position. Now, you may be moving up the ladder of interviews with people and thus, when I spoke with (I’ll use my own name, Jeff), he gave me a description of the role, but I want to get your take on it. Could you tell me about the job as you see it and what I can do to help. That goes a long way toward understanding the environment, understanding what you’re going to be doing, and making sure that you can be effective if you if they want to hire you, or you decide to join.

9 Ways People Sabotage Themselves on Interviews


Was trying to do project management and education, adjacent agencies, education, adjacent agencies, since I’m figuring I’m more likely to get that, but found that that kind of projects I did aren’t traditional project management, and less and now I have to figure out what other things I can do. I think one of the things you can do is have conversations with people in universities, the people who suggested that you go back to school to learn this field, and talk with them about what you’re running into and whether they can introduce you to people. I think going on to LinkedIn, connecting with someone like me, who’s got a lot of connections and then from there, searching your network, like I think I’ve got 28 or 29,000 1st level connections, and connecting with someone like me at I know that’s in chat. So if you scroll up, you’ll find it in the chat. It will help you extend your network, reach out to people and start engaging in conversations so that you don’t have to be the one that figures it out. You can brainstorm with other people and get some input from them and not just simply the one head, yours, having to figure things out. Always look for advice. It makes it so much easier.



How can I be more productive while working from home? Ah! So there are many different ways and I don’t know you well enough to be specific so I’m just going to throw out a couple of ideas. The most obvious thing to me is work for 25 minutes, take a break for five, and work for 25. Take a break for five. Give yourself permission to take a little bit of time. Is it a question of noise. Is noise the reason why you’re finding it hard to be productive? Are the kids, your wife, husband or partner being too noisy or interrupting you too much?  So if it’s a question of others in the in your home or apartment, being noisy now, for young kids, you have limits to what they’re able to do. You’re going to listen with an ear out for them making noise. But what you might try doing is going to a coffee shop or finding a place where you can work remotely, even if it’s not from home. You could try going to a WeWork or some other service like WeWork in order to work from a desk there so that you’re not at home. You’re not being interrupted. And maybe if it’s kids, the kids can be trained to behave better so as not to interrupt you. After all, if it’s kids, so often they’re just looking for attention. They want Dad, and they want to spend time with Dad. You’re still a novelty for them. So those are a couple of ideas of things that you can do that will help you be more productive.

Can I Re-Apply for a Job?


Why do recruiters think I’ll help them do their job for free. And that seems to be about referrals. About giving you referrals. So there is this thing called karma that gives people you know, it’s simplified in modern American society as what goes around,  comes from, what goes around comes around. And that is generosity toward others will result in generosity to you. You’re also doing the person you refer a favor. Thus, when you talk about ‘doing their job for free,’ you’re not doing the job for free. You’re probably giving them the name of someone to contact who might be qualified. Thus, you’re helping that person land in a new role or interview for a new role that will benefit that person. Focus on the gift to the person you recommend and not just simply ‘there’s no good recruiter. Why do they want me  to do their job for free?’ Because you’re helping the person that you recommend. That’s really what it comes down to. You’re helping someone benefit by going to work in another firm. So it’s not about doing the job for free. It’s about good karma. Being generous, helping people knowing that will eventually come around and help you.



Last interview was informal with a manager I wouldn’t be reporting directly to you is more like a conversation to get to know me. I passed all the technical interviews, the last interview went very well. Does that imply I’ll get the job? No guarantee, you’re probably competing with people for this role. And thus, let’s say you’re one of four people who’s brought back, well, you have a 25% chance of getting the role. If you’ve had a great conversation, I’ll just simply say, some people misinterpret a friendly conversation as ‘they’re going to be hired because they had a friendly conversation. They’re not guaranteed to work that way. So I’ll just simply say, folks, always be gracious and courteous to recruiters. Always be generous with recommendations of people that you know who might be qualified to do a job, help people so that they want to help you. It’s really that simple. I love this next one.



Why don’t companies hire in the fourth quarter? Well, I think this relates to the question, I think it’s two questions back where they want to know why people don’t want to be more graciously helpful. I’ll just simply say they slow down hiring for a couple of reasons in the fourth quarter. Sometimes it’s about having more money in the bonus pool. If there’s someone hired, they may wind up being bonus eligible. That comes out of their pocket. If they’re in financial services, well, you’ve operated all year without this person. You can operate another month, two months, three months without this person and our bonuses will increase because we don’t have to pay them a bonus. We don’t do salary for them. They get more of a bonus; you get more of a bonus. So why don’t they hire during the fourth quarter to maximize the bonus pool? That’s the primary reason and then maximizing the bonus pool, you wind up with more. They wind up with more. It’s really that simple.


The Emotional Rollercoaster in Job Search (and How to Deal With It)


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, 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 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

My courses are available on my The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, YouTube (on the account) and on Facebook (on the Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter page) 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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