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No BS Coaching Advice

The Beige Haze |

Look around your office. What do you see? Who do you see?


When I look online and I look at my friends and their friends, most are pretty much in agreement on everything. I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. I coach people and organizations to be more effective. When I look at that behavior, it leaves me wondering. Part of the stimulation or the stimulus for this particular video comes from a podcast I was listening to with Reid Hoffman, where he was interviewing someone and the conversation was about diversity. He used a phrase that I thought was wonderful . . . the beige haze of conformity.
Now, clearly he was speaking about gender conformity. It could have just as well I thought applied to race, religion and any number of other variables.
But, when you think about your life and the people that you associate with, not just personally but professionally, it's very damaging to have groupthink, to have this "beige haze," to use Reid's term, that keeps you from hearing other things, other opinions, other ideas.
Why? I'll just tell you a story, in case you're not aware of it but there was once a US president named Lyndon Johnson and he surrounded himself with people who generally agreed with him. I don't want to call them sycophants because they really weren't, but they held the same opinion as him. There was no difference in their thinking. Thus, when one said something their were generally head nods, and the President wound up agreeing. The impact of this was the Vietnam War and how these individuals around the president basically told him what they believed he wanted to hear . . . I'll be kind . . . Needed to hear, but there was no disagreement. The result wound up being many years of war and eventually the loss of the presidency.
Folks, your circumstances may be less dramatic. But look around your office. Does everyone look alike? That's just not simply race, gender, sexual orientation, a whole host of other variables and does the thinking that everyone's communicating generally the same?
Another podcast I listened to was a Google podcast with Kelsey Grammer and he was talking about his current show, but everyone delighted and bringing up the fact that he produced a show called "Girlfriends" and "Girlfriends" had a half black writing room, half white writing room and the same wound up being true of the gender of the individuals there. He wanted to ensure that there were different viewpoints and different ideas contributing to the show.
You don't know what you don't know. You have blind spots that, unless you bring in different ideas, you're going to miss. Start looking differently. Start thinking differently in your hiring and encouraging people to speak up in order to ensure that you're getting different thoughts.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

Are you interested in my coaching you? Connect with me on LinkedIn and, once we are connected, message me. If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

Subscribe to the “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast.” 

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

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No BS Hiring Advice

Hiring People Who Are Different Is Not Enough | No BS Hiring Advice

Most people understand the importance / value of hiring a diverse workforcebut fail in the implementation


Hiring differences. Great name. And I'll just simply say that, for many of you, for many organizations, you get the idea about the importance of hiring a diverse workforce. You understand that there's a perspective that's gained by hiring people with a different background than the leadership and leadership isn't just simply the C suite professionals. It's people who are on the lines and manage, who direct, who run groups, yada yada yada. The problem really comes down to once you have these people on board, does anyone create an environment where they're listened to?
Think about it for a second. Most of these individuals, most of these people from foreign cultures, people who are African-American or or from Latin cultures, whether born in the US or abroad, have, once they come to the United States, not been encouraged to be vocal. As a result, you're not really getting the information that you need from them. They could be as white as you are and you're getting the same thing because the message has been sent to them to "shut up." Play ball. Be a team player. That hurts you
That hurts you and your organization because you're not really getting the diverse thinking that you think you are because you haven't created that kind of environment. I wanted to remind you of this importance and it's not just as simple as bringing them into your office and saying, "I want you to be open. I want you to talk."
At times, you need to encourage multiple times. You need to defend, at times, from the majority groups who, basically, want to dismiss different ideas because they want to move forward, yet, have no idea that these people really speak for their experiences and the experiences of people like them.
It's easy to point to white culture as being this way but I must also tell you in Asian culture, when you deal with individuals who are not from your national origin, the same thing happens there to people who are different than you. They are not listened to.
The fact is, you want to hear their input, you want to get their advice, it's not always going to be right. It's not always going to be something that agrees with yours. But if you create that environment where people can be heard, when you hire, when you hire people different than yours, and create an open environment where people can feel free to say what they want without having fear of retribution, you will get so much more out of them. And this is really where employment engagement, employee engagement comes from . . . from being heard, seen, understood, accepted, not pushed back on all the time asking clarifying questions, having them feel as though what they say has meaning.

No BS Hiring Advice
No BS Hiring Advice

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

If you have questions for me, call me through the Magnifi app for iOS (video) or (phone)

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Broadening Your Diversity Recruiting

In this video, Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter encourages you to open your firms’s diversity recruiting efforts in another direction.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

Follow him at The Big Game Hunter, Inc. on LinkedIn for more articles, videos and podcasts than what are offered here and jobs he is recruiting for.

Visit There’s a lot more advice there.

Email me if your firm is trying to hire someone.

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How to Test for Attention to Detail

With private sector hiring in many fields picking up again, it’s important to look at your overall hiring process, break it down and re-construct it in ways that work to identify and select people who meet your organization’s needs now and in the future.

In some jobs like those in IT, attention to detail is an important quality for the success of the new hire. How can you determine whether that is a quality a person has?

Here are a few ideas:

1. How’s their spelling and grammar?

For years, I avoided using this when I would evaluate resumes of people born outside the US. With time, I realized two things.

Don’t give a pass to people who are not native born. Many have worked hard and with determination to adapt to a new language. Why shouldn’t that be recognized? After, people who are native often become lazy and incompetent at their use of grammar. Let’s acknowledge the effort that goes into excellence.

The second thing I realized is that some people are just too lazy to use the spelling and grammar checker in their word processing software. Why shouldn’t that be penalized?

2. I would do this next question of non-technical people like those in sales or finance.

What color hair does the receptionist have?

What is the paint color in the lobby?

Asking questions like these work because they are not anticipated by the candidate

3. For a web developer or those who are in a visual field, assemble a web page or some other visual device that is relevant with loads of errors.

Tell the candidate, “This page has more than 30 errors on it. Take 30 minutes and identify 30 of them.”

4. Ask them to tell you an example of how their attention to detail helped their firm make more money or save it money.

Some people are attentive to detail for pointless reasons like catching someone else doing something wrong for their own gain.

Find out some of the useful ways they have used this skill for the betterment of their firm.

5. Ask them what it is about their work they enjoy most

What I listen for is whether they tell me something “big picture” or something that is “in the weeds” they needed to puzzle out.

All of these ideas work. What do you do?

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