Getting Your Salary, and Your Head, in the ‘Game’

I am speaking to a group on Friday AM over WebEx. This is the interview I did about the appearance.

Jeff Altman, a professional coach known as “The Big Game Hunter,” is a former recruiter with more than 40 years of experience. When it comes to the workplace, Altman helps prospective employees find the right position and assists them in being adequately prepared — especially when it comes to clients getting the income they deserve.

Altman’s upcoming event, “Job Seekers: Salary Negotiation Mistakes,” is in partnership with PSG of Mercer County and the Princeton Public Library. During the remote presentation, he will go over 25 mistakes people make as they go about the process. The free session, held Friday, February 4, from 9:45 a.m. to noon, also includes an ongoing Q&A in the chat.

Attendees can join from either the PSG calendar link at or by dialing in via phone to +1 (408) 650-3123. The access code is 549-219-037.

Altman says that a key mistake can often happen in salary negotiation because of economic factors such as inflation.

“Employers are not used to giving out a healthy salary price to current employees anymore. Inflation is 7 percent. For a person to break even on inflation, they have to get a 10 percent raise, because of taxes that get taken out,” he explains. “So when an employer comes in and says, ‘good news, we’re giving you a 5 percent increase, it’s twice what you got last year,’ it’s nothing.”

Another important factor is timing.

“Most people have this thought that the time to negotiate is when you get the offer. In fact, negotiation starts at the first interview with a person’s screening level,” Altman says.

If a job hunter is asked how much compensation they are looking for, he recommends flipping the question back to employers by asking what the range is for the position — with the hope that job hunters refrain from limiting themselves by stating a number too low.

When met with pushback or a declaration from the employer along the lines of “we never make offers that high,” staying confident is the best approach.

“Perhaps this should be the first time,” Altman suggests. “You kind of tease them about their immediate dismissal as though you can’t provide value to the employer.”

Through what he calls a “prolific” amount of expertise available, Altman has published books, video courses, a website with built-in scheduling, and more than 12,000 posts on his blog. There are over 7,000 videos on his YouTube channel “,” all part of his dedication to coaching through numerous platforms. The guides are typically short, and if for purchased, they tend to be inexpensive, because Altman recognizes their importance.

“People need help, and they think they know what they’re doing, but they conduct themselves immaturely, unfortunately, and they get the results that they deserve. They get rejected much too often because they haven’t prepared adequately,” he says.

“It’s not enough, because there’s other good people with very good resumes, and professionals practice, professionals rehearse, and job hunters rarely do that unless they’re trapped in situations outside of their ability to perform,” Altman adds.

In his sessions, Altman has coaching for careers, interviewing, and leadership and executive positions. His other opportunities include trusted adviser services, onboarding support, as well as resume and LinkedIn profile critiques.

But his services go beyond just helping those only looking for jobs, because he assists organizations with hiring in a way that is mutually beneficial for them, too.

Before switching careers and attaining his coach training from CoachVille, Altman spent his time caught between two worlds.

“The hard thing is, I worked in search for a long time,” he says. “It’s a very tough field because you’re paid by corporations to find talent, but the talent thinks you represent them, which you don’t. So, there’s this disconnect, and it’s why so many job hunters hate recruiters, because they don’t understand that recruiters are paid by others, not them.”

“At one point, I had enough, because one thing you learn in the recruiting field is that no one’s happy with you. You’re in the middle. Part of it is everyone’s posturing for advantage, and job hunters exaggerate what they’re capable of doing,” Altman says. “When I first started recruiting back in the Stone Ages, it didn’t take me very long to figure out that job hunters were, shall we say, exaggerating their capabilities. But it took me a while to figure out my institutional customers were doing that, too.”

Altman says that for example, when someone inherits a low-performing group at a business juncture where all their predecessors had been previously fired, the mindset is that they need a new hire to “save” the project. Yet, people rarely reach out for help or assistance.

“They all put on happy smile button faces, they talk about a great opportunity with a terrific team of people, and ‘have I mentioned we’re like family?’” Altman points out.

A native of the Bronx who currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, Altman has a varied background, starting with him receiving a bachelor’s in political science from the City College of New York. He completed post-graduate training at the Institute for Modern Psychoanalysis and earned his master’s in social work from Fordham University.

“I know everyone hates recruiters, but they like me,” he says. “Part of it is [that] I didn’t play the game that way. Even so, the demands of being a successful recruiter wore me down after so long, and I figured out how to become a force for good.”

Being an advocate for those who needed a helping hand in navigating the systems, he says, is what drew him to coaching.

“The people [job hunters] get advice from are amateurs just like them. Even the hiring managers know what they look for, but not what other firms look for and how they evaluate, so it’s the blind leading the blind much too often, and what I’m able to do is explain things pretty clearly so that they get it and they can execute it in their job search, particularly on interviews. Then, I make sure they don’t step into any of the traps that show up along the way,” he says.

Altman’s podcast, “No B.S. Job Search Advice Radio,” is highly rated in the job search category, spanning more than 11 years and 2,300 episodes. He knows that without guidance, job hunters can be ill-prepared for the reality of a competitive market.

“What I try to do is to take the pathology out of job hunting to make it easy for people, so they understand clearly what to do and what not to do,” he says. By figuring out what is important to the person, then putting together a resume and what Altman calls a networking campaign, both sides of the interview process are more prone to avoid the feeling of “buyer’s remorse” that sometimes comes along with a new position.

When it comes to these struggles, Altman’s PSG presentation will focus on how to steer clear from the pitfalls that happen specifically during salary negotiation.

“On each occasion I’ve done this presentation, people have so many questions, I never get to the full thing,” Altman admits.

The coach promises to hold nothing back.

“I’m gonna give them a lot. I’m gonna surprise them with some of the things I point out but explain it in a way that they’ll understand clearly the mistakes that they make with negotiation,” Altman says. “So, come play.”



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 2300 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.

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