Career Coach Office Hours: September 13 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.

I Keep Sending Out Resumes, Following Up and Getting No Results


My potential employer said they will contact me this week on the interview update we had last week. So if I’m understanding this, you had an interview last week, and you should get some feedback this week. They already contacted my references, but I still haven’t heard from them. Meanwhile, my current employer offered me a promotion. What should I do? So I have to start off by saying what do you want to do? Do you want to stay where you are? Is the promotion the ticket that prompts you to want to stay? What’s the financial difference going to be with that promotion? Is that enough to want you to stay? If so, you accept the promotion; you cancel the other firm. You can also accept the promotion AND finish the interview cycle with the first firm, the one that you interviewed with last week, and then make a decision based on the offer, the nature of the position proposed, and such. Personally, I would do that second thing. I’d accept the promotion and finish the interview process with that firm they check references  so you can’t go to your current firm and say ‘I’d like to think about that promotion that you gave me.’ Now you can ask questions like what my responsibilities would have been. How are they changing? How is my compensation changing as a result of this? So the long the short of it is, what you do is get clarity with your current firm so this way you know what you’re stepping into, and then make a comparison with what the other firm, the one that you interviewed with last week, is proposing to you. Okay, good luck with your decision, and always can feel free to come back, okay?



Why should every member of your team have some time to themselves? I’m going to start off with an assumption and you’re making, an assumption that that’s the way they prefer to work. Now that may be the way you prefer to work but that’s not the way every person prefers to work. Some people are energized by other people in proximity to them. In the Myers Briggs lexicon that defines them as an extrovert because they draw energy from other people. Now, some people need to withdraw, and they are served by having time for themselves. But not everyone is that way. So the assumption in your question doesn’t work for everyone. And if I were to answer it, I would pause for a second and say, poll your team in terms of what they like and how they like to work before imposing that mandate, that everyone have 30 minutes of personal time, so that this way, they don’t have to be interrupted by people. But I always have to ask you, what happens if a client or a stakeholder needs access to someone? Are you going to refuse them? Really? Are you going to refuse them? Some time to themselves? What does that mean? Play video games? To be on your phone? Go to the bathroom? I want to encourage you to go the bathroom but you know, again, the question has a belief system built into it that everyone should want time to themselves when not everyone likes that. And what’s the reason behind this that’s prompting you to make that suggestion or that inference.



Does recognition improve job performance? Sometimes. Sometimes it does. And I’m going to work with the assumption that you mean positive recognition and not being yelled at because that’s recognition, tolo. You screwed up. You are a screw up. You better step up and deliver or you’re out the door. That’s a form of recognition. Not the kind most people like, but it is a form of recognition. So the long and  the short of it is, with some people it does, with some people, it doesn’t. With some people, they would rather be anonymous, and just do a good job and not be noticed. My wife is that way. She really doesn’t like to have attention called  to her. And she’s very good at what she does but she doesn’t like attention. Other people are that way, too, and they would hate having attention, thrust upon them. So be aware of the differences. And as you start working as a manager or as a leader with an organization, just simply ask the people who report to you, do you like recognition? Like if we h oad a team meeting and I praised you in the meeting would you like that? Or does that really make you uncomfortable? That happens with people. They sometimes feel uncomfortable when they get recognition and it’s a turn off for them. So ask folks and don’t make assumptions that everyone’s the same way, because clearly they aren’t.



Why do some companies refuse to furnish details about their ex-employees? Many employees lie through their teeth on their resumes. How can I as an interviewer tell exaggerations from the truth? Background check companies collect their money and do nothing. You know, some do, most don’t. So that’s, that’s as much as I’m going to say that background check firms. I have no stock interest in any of them. I personally don’t care if you and your firm uses them. The real thing is why don’t they want to provide references? Well, in the United States, I can answer that question. In the United States, if you give a bad reference, and someone finds out about that, they’re subject to what’s called The Fair Credit Reporting Act and under The Fair Credit Reporting Act, if they’ve given out adverse information that causes you not to get a job, the potential employee is entitled to provide a rebuttal that will go in with the reference. And what’s going to start to happen is firms don’t want to get involved, because they’re afraid of being sued. But you as an employee did something that caused you to get fired, or to get a mediocre performance review. And then they’re gonna wind up being criticized, complained about, lied about in some cases, and there’s nothing in it for them. All they’re trying to do is be gracious to the other firm, and that comes back to hurt them. So I’ll just simply say, why don’t they do it? Because they don’t want to get sued, they want to don’t want to get threatened of being sued. You know, it’s a problem for them. So that’s really why firms don’t always do it/. A lot of firms do. But that’s why some firms don’t.

Tough Interview Questions for Managers: What Qualities Are Most Important When Managing a Team


Why do founders get fired? So number one is they’re large enough to have a board that’s going to fire them, or the share of the stakeholders, the principals in the firm, the investors in the firm, the board of the firm fires them. That’s the Steve Jobs story. You know, they hired someone from the outside to replace Steve. John Sculley, I believe his name was. And, you know, the long the short of it was, Steve became a problem. They stopped hitting their performance goals. He became high maintenance. They got rid of them. And obviously, they brought him back years later. So why do they get fired? Because the firm is failing, and the investors are annoyed. And thus, you wind up in a situation where they wind up in a situation where the board says, ‘This woman, this man can’t take us to the next stage, professionally and we’re concerned about our investment that we’re not going to recoup.’ So founders are fired after the sale of the firm, or by the board of the firm, because they’re not delivering results. And there’s a lack of confidence in their ability to deliver results. That’s normally what happens.



How can I get noticed on a job board? So there’s no simple way of doing it. I wish there was. It’s not about how pretty your resume, although pretty resumes, with lots of whitespaces do a good job of attracting people,who read the resume to want to read the resume. But the way to get noticed on a job board is to have a skill that someone’s trying to get hired. They’re searching. You want to be a relatively high-up recommendation from the job board. And one of the ways to do that is a little trick, where you go to the end of the resume and skip a few lines and put a dot there, a period. Then from there, the next day, you come back and you take it out. Now what you’re doing is elevating the position of the resume so it’s higher up in search results, suggesting that it’s more current. Thus, you’re moving from the bottom, let’s say page four, where no one’s going to find it, to page one on the top. And from there, it’s going to decline but you’re back on top again. Each time you’re making a change, which is what adding a period and deleting a period does each time is it advantages you by putting you at the top of the search results for particular keywords. So in terms of getting noticed, that’s really the simplest way to do it.



How do you tell a recruiter that the salary is not enough for this position? Easy. ‘Your client isn’t willing to pay enough for this. Do you know? This is really it? If they want to pay this, you know, the market is higher than this. And, frankly, I’m making more than what this is. So can you circle back to me after you’ve spoken with your client, and see if you can get them to up the money because right now I’m 10,000, more than what you’re talking about.’ And thus, you just tell them directly, but not rudely. You never want to be seen as one of those people, because it’s being a creep. So the long the short of it is, just tell them. Tell them that they’ve come in too low, and that it’s not worth your time to continue the conversation. And when they plead with you to just check it out, you’re not making a commitment. ‘But why?’ ‘Why am I checking out a job that’s gonna pay me $10,000 less?’ ‘It’s a career opportunity’ ‘But it’s financial poison for me.’ So I’ll just simply say, tell them directly and suggest if you’re interested that they go back to their client, and tell them to increase the potential compensation, because otherwise, your way above the budget.



I applied for a job through Indeed and I got hired immediately. I was sent a check that bounced, and the employer told me to buy iTunes gift cards, and to send him the codes. Is this a scam? Hell yeah. Hell yeah. You got played. I can’t put it any more simply than that. You weren’t hired for this. You know, you were chosen because they thought you were a good victim. So this is like the scam where people are told, ‘No, this is the IRS on the phone. Go to the store. Buy iTunes gift cards, and send me the codes.’ Please. Yes, this is a scam. There are lots of variations on this. But I would simply say report that firm ,that email address to Indeed since they’re the source of this, and don’t do it. Don’t do it. This is not legal, what they’re trying to get away with. So don’t put yourself in the position of being a victim. Really, don’t be a victim here.



What is the best answer to the interview question like, ‘What is your ability for an interview?’ That is what they wrote– What is your ability for an interview? I think what they meant to say is, what is your availability for an interview? And the best answer is, “How’s an hour from now? Are we gonna do it over Zoom? Phone call? Like, how do you want to do the interview?’ ‘We’d like to do a video interview. Great. Can we convene in about an hour’s time? Would that does that work with your calendar?’ And the key thing is it’s not ability, it’s availability. And that makes all the difference in the world.



Why did employers say you are overqualified after three rounds of interviews? What can you do better next time? So ‘overqualified.’ Often, when they say overqualified, you’re asking for more money than they’re prepared to pay. Or you’re more senior than what it is they’re trying to fill. Most of the time, by the time you’ve gone through three rounds of interviews, they knew that at round one, you were more senior than the position involved, and thus not worthy of consideration. So my expectation is that they couldn’t get the budget to pay you what you’re currently earning, let alone are rates and they were stalling for time to see if they could be sold on you and are not completely sold on you. So they’re saying that you’re overqualified because you’re asking for more money. That was my experience, and it certainly could be the one about, you know, you’re someone who wants too much for us, and we’re gonna let you go. So that’s how I’m interpreting it. Let’s Let us continue. Okay,

My Manager/Boss Found Out I’m Looking!


Can you tell if the profile has been viewed by recruiters or hiring managers on LinkedIn without them contacting you directly first? Yes, you can tell that. If you’re a premium customer, if you pay to have access to LinkedIn, there’s a function that says ‘people who looked at your profile.’ And thus, that is golden information because not everyone contacts you. What you can do is inMail them, call them, message them, preferably inMail them, and simply say, ‘LinkedIn told me that you looked at my profile. Was there something in particular you were looking for there that you didn’t see? And what is it that you are looking for?’ So this way, I know what the target is that you’re trying to hire and I can supplement my resume with people who have that kind of experience.



Do you think it’s right for an employer you’re applying to, to call your previous employers? Hell, no. Hell no! Now, if that’s in process, if they’ve made you an oral offer that you’re saying yes to, or you’re at the end of the interviews, and you’re about to receive an offer, what you can do is, again, they’re at a point where they want to check references. So you can give them who you want as a reference. That’s perfectly fine. But in terms of gratuitously checking references, don’t. Don’t let them do it. So, when you’re applying, and you’re on your first interview, you ask people very simply, ‘tell me about your recruiting background. Tell me about this. Tell me about that. It’ll work for you.



Why would recruiters, HR and the companies in general, inform an applicant, that they were unsuccessful with their application but invite them for an interview at a later stage, say two weeks they have to the initial rejection? That’s easy. They could have made a mistake. Seriously, they could have made a mistake. With the result being they want to have a conversation with you a few weeks later. And they’ve already spoken with you once. So keep yourself structured. Keep yourself organized so you’re never in this kind of a situation. I’d love to help you.



Is a contract-to-hire arrangement a good way to work? Well, the fact is, if you’re not finding work elsewhere, a contract to hire is your only chance of working. And I’ll just simply say, it depends on who the end client is. If the end client is boring, tedious work, then it’s going to be awful for you. If they have great work, and they have a team of internal coaches or mentors, who are there to support you being successful, that’s super. Give them what it is you want, and they’ll do it. Get your resume out to market and get you marketing. It’ll be a great opportunity for you. I’m gonna make this the last question for today. And let me just get you on second place. Did he?



What does it mean when a recruiter says they want to work with you, but we’ll have to reject you? The key part is the ‘but we’ll have to reject you.” You’re being turned down. That’s the simplest way I can put it. These folks are turning you down for a job. They’ve told you that you’re wonderful. You’d be a great addition, blah, blah, blah. And your job is to make them fall in love. No love, no money, no honey. You always give them what they want, as Bad Sam Kinison would say. Tell us what you want, and we’ll do it.’ It’s that simple. Just tell me what you want, understand what the target is they’re aiming for, and then move on.


Shifting Your Mindset During Your Job Search


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. 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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2 Responses
  1. Mohib Quadri

    Jeff could you say how would you find & fit in a role where our uniqueness or skills are more important than the on paper experience in terms of our promotion within the company ? Slow & steady wins the race but are there any major factors or opportunities in todays uneven career ladder which most people are overlooking..

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