In the past months, I have been applying for jobs like crazy without any luck. Desperately I even applied to jobs that I’m overqualified, just to have an income and still no luck. I started to suspect that my foreign name (Slavic) may not be helping me. As an experiment, I made a CV identical to mine but I changed my name to something like “John Smith”; and applied again to those same jobs. Guess what? Over 80% response rate. I am really disgusted by most of the recruiters and employers.

Read Full Transcript

I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter.. I'm a coach who helps people
professionally in a number of different ways.
And someone wrote saying, "In the past months I've been applying
for jobs like crazy without any luck.. Desperately, I even applied to jobs that
I'm overqualified for just to have an income and still no luck."
I'm going to pause here for a second and say
that's not a guarantee depending upon your field because then they become
afraid that you're going to leave when something better comes along.
I digress. I started to suspect that my foreign name (which is Slavic)
may not be helping me. As an experiment I made
an identical cv to mine but all I did was change my name to something like
John smith and apply it again to the same jobs.
Guess what? 80% response rate. I'm really disgusted by the recruiters
and employers." And rightly so.. So, I'm a former recruiter
and i want to admit that there were times
where I would see a foreign long name that was unpronounceable to me
and when I was much much younger than I am today (look at this face. Do I look
young), you know I made that same kind of
judgment and then I realized how stupid and bigoted it was. I started to make the
phone calls and, obviously, there were people who were not . . .
did not speak well but I found a lot that did. And that became the issue. . .
the interpretation that someone with a name that i
was not familiar to me or i couldn't pronounce
readily might have poor oral communications.
So, that's the shorthand that people have because
they've dealt with people who've come to the US and don't speak well.
There's an easy workaround. Now, there are a couple that I've seen suggested.
For example, women sometimes will use a first initial
and a last name and they found that sometimes an E Jacobs doesn't let people
know that it's Emily. They think it might be Eric
and thus they get over some of the gender bias. I've seen on resumes that a
person who might be Asian might change from an Asian first
name to something more American. The classic
examples I've seen from women include. Wendy, where the first initial
when pronounced in the original language might also be a W
but they've anglicized it. Many people report this as an
issue and I know when we adopted our son who was born in central Asia,
his given name was local to his country and we decided to make that his middle
name and give him an American name first, because the bias does exist.
So, here I'm just going to quickly transition to those of you who are in HR
and recruiting and simply say you're missing an
opportunity by making assumptions about people
and, as such, I want to really discourage you from doing that
and for those of you who are the victims of this,
one of the other workarounds that's pretty easy to do
is to say in in a comments area or in a summary area
perfectly spoken" fill in the blank or well-spoken if, " it's not quite perfect
fill in the blank so that in this way they know that your
oral communications are good and they can be less fearful because
that's really the issue.. Many organizations want to have
someone who's well-spoken and so often they're afraid that when
they're calling someone from. . . uh with a name that they struggle
with or that's not familiar to them, they're going to be talking
to someone that they're not going to be able to understand.
I wish it were different. I owned up to my own stuff with that and I'm glad i
correct that many many years ago.. Hope you found this helpful. I'm Jeff
Altman. My website is
Go there and go exploring. There'll be a lot there to help you.
In addition, if you're interested in one-on-one coaching during any element
of your job search, you can reach out to me through the site
and schedule time for a free discovery call to check me out
or to schedule time for coaching for which i'll obviously charge you for.
I'd love to help you. Also, subscribe to my channel on youtube by clicking the
small icon in the lower right or the picture of me in the upper left.
you'll get notices whenever i release something new which is pretty much daily
at this point. Hope you have a terrific day and be
great! Take care!


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, all 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 more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a free Discovery call.

If you have a quick question for me, you can get it answered with a 3-5 minute video at Want to do it live? offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 2 months free.

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job SearchTV app for FireTV, Roku or a firestick or for AppleTV and 90 smart tv platforms.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume? Order a critique from me

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: