Mistakes Job Hunters Make | JobSearchTV.com

I did a LinkedIn Live with Kenneth Lang where this was the topic. This approximately 40 minute conversation covers a lot of ground.

Understanding The Interviewer

Kenneth Lang  [00:30]

Happy Tuesday afternoon, everyone. It’s Kenneth Lang here. Yeah. Jeff and I was actually thinking we were just kind of enjoying before we could do a Tuesday afternoon by the Moody Blues. I don’t think anyone listened to us speak or sing, but it was cool. We’re both characters got. Exactly, exactly. Jeff, and I have wanted to talk for the really longest time. And you’ve been all over the place. I’ve been all over the place. And I, the topic we wanted to, I think talk about today was a lot of the mistakes the job seekers make. And I gotta tell you, I’ve seen a lot of them. I’ve made a lot of them. And I’m sure I’ll keep making some because you’re always have to be evolving. So what got you what interested you in even having a discussion like this about the mistakes that job seekers make?


Jeff Altman  [01:27]

It starts off with the fact that so many job hunters listen to the wrong people, take bad advice and frankly, most are amateurs. And in being an amateur, you don’t know that you’re making mistakes. You’ve gotten on the conveyor belt of the systems, you get moved along by the system. And you haven’t really evaluated with a professionals eye. I’m not claiming I’m the best professional on the planet but, here’s the fact– 40 years in search, and now five more years as a career coach. I’ve seen a heck of a lot and I can I know what works and what doesn’t work, not just simply as a headhunter, but from the job hunter perspective as well. So the notion of trying to help people adopt a professional attitude toward their careers, is really what got me interested in doing this and correcting all these mistakes.


Kenneth Lang  [02:24]

I think the challenge that I have quite a bit is that there’s no there’s no path to it. Anyone can be a recruiter, anyone can be a career coach, or anyone can write resumes. And it’s hard to know who to trust and not trust in terms of what to do. And there’s so much information out there. Hopefully, Terry, hopefully your sound is coming back. I got Dave Schuchman here. Who in the house from Mercer County and Jude Gall from Windsor, Ontario. I know that the biggest challenge most people have is knowing who to trust in and how to make sense of what’s out there. And I think the biggest mistake that people make is that they listen to people, but sometimes they don’t question if the information they’re getting is even relevant. I mean, they just take the word of the person on the other end. What do you think about that? Well,


Jeff Altman  [03:27]

Who do they go to for advice? If you’re a 24 year old years old, you go to your friends who know, as little as you do. You go to career services, you might go to a previous manager that you had, who knows what they look for when they hire, but they don’t know what the market looks for. And if you’re 44, or dare I say 64, it’s even more complicated because you think you know, and you forget about all those times you got rejected. And you just focus in on “I got the kind of job. I’m working in this great place. You forget about all the times you made the dumb mistakes that prove costly. So, I started off with yes, they go to the wrong people for advice. But I’m going to even go further than that. I’m going to say people outsource their career management to their employer and thus, they trust their employer to look out for their interests. And then they wind up in bad situations that force them to need to look. And along the way, they forgot about the importance of owning their career. They forgot about the importance of staying in contact with their connections, let alone networking to get to new people. And the result was that being that, you know , people lurch from Job Search to job search and wonder why there’s no one there to help them.


Kenneth Lang  [04:57]

I think the more you know as a Job Seeker about the process, the easier it is to maybe not make peace with it, but understand it. You know, I think the biggest mistake that a lot of job seekers make is that they don’t do a lot of the work that’s involved to get the job. It’s not as simple as just sending a resume or applying online. It’s, it’s building relationships. And that’s something which is something I’ve tried to do, I know you have as well.


Jeff Altman  [05:28]

And I understand the job hunter side of this, which is, “I’m busy doing my job. And, you know, I just saw this ad and I’ve got a resume, so I’m just gonna send it in. And they do nothing to tailor the resume to the job, and then wonder why they don’t get a response. And there’s just millions of mistakes like this. A broken watch is right twice a day. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to use that as your watch, but use that with their resume. And it has an impact on outcomes, because you miss out on things that you could have gotten interviews for.


Kenneth Lang  [06:07]

So I’m going to put up a couple of comments, Sally, I hope I’m pronouncing my FICA and it’s tough finding current information about hiring practices. And I would probably say, finding good information, good current information about hiring practices, because different places have different ways of going about it. And I think a job seeker is somewhat challenged at knowing what the process is, for sure. And I know, David, and this is a very true thing. What worked for you before isn’t gonna work now. And whether it’s a resume, or how you actually get the job, it’s a different world. And there a lot of silly mistakes people make, that I call people out on and it’s something that most people wouldn’t think about. If you’re gonna have an email address, don’t do an AOL. Don’t do a Yahoo. You’re laughing. How many people still have those and it dates them.


Jeff Altman  [07:08]

It’s true. I’m sorry for laughing folks. But you know, at least get a Gmail account and have it forwarded to your AOL or Yahoo, which . . .


Kenneth Lang  [07:19]

even the idea of a physical address I mean, we don’t fax resumes, we don’t mail resumes. Again, there’s a difference of opinion about it. But I’m not a big fan of having that on there. I mean, nowadays, we all have phones, we all have email addresses, again, no one’s going to mail you anything.


Jeff Altman  [07:38]

But city, state and zip you need to have on, okay. And the reason is, if you’re applying for something, and you wind up in the applicant tracking system, and they decide to do a search for someone with a particular background, the location field that they’re going to use is your zip code, okay? So they don’t . . .  you’re General Motors, just picking a name, you’re Facebook or Amazon or whomever. They want to hire someone for Long Island City. And they want to find someone local. So you’ve got to have a zip code there, because they don’t want to talk to someone in Detroit. They don’t want to talk to someone to Utah. Great places, but they want someone local. So you’ve got to have a zip code on your resume, just to be found in their systems. And some people make that mistake. Don’t put the address on. I understand identity theft. If someone wants to steal your identity, they can do a Google search for your name, and city, state, zip to get the address. But still don’t make it easy for people, but make it easy for the employer to be able to find you in their systems so that in this way, when they have something that makes sense, they can do direct mail piece to you.  They’ll reach out to you and say, “Hey, new job opened up. We rejected you. We’ve rejected you 20 Times up until this point, but this one looks like it could fit.”


Kenneth Lang  [08:58]

So the question that came up? How do you feel about as a job seeker looking at a review for indeed and Glassdoor to find out about a company’s culture? Or do you think most of them there are just people that are venting and have nothing good to say? I mean, I again, I’m just wondering, what what impact you think that might have?


Jeff Altman  [09:17]

Peter, I’ll tell you, from my vantage point, when I looked at Glassdoor or any other site that claims to have data, I eliminate the extremes, the extreme negativity, the extreme positivity because there could be management trying to cover up for the negativity. And I look for the textured comments between the two that suggest that this is someone who has some reasonable thought that I could pay attention to. So eliminate the extremes, you’ll probably get something useful.


Kenneth Lang  [09:53]

So what are some of the other mistakes that you would would think about, I mean besides obvious things like an email address, and maybe words on a resume like experience, or multitasker or something like that

Standing Out on an Interview

Jeff Altman  [10:11]

God! Multitasker! Ooh. Let me start off with one that people hate to hear because I’m going to make them do work. Every great athlete in the world practices, and every great entertainer in the world rehearses, and job hunters go on interviews, and the first time the words ever come out of their mouth are at the interview and then they wonder why they didn’t get the job. You need to practice your answers to predictable questions. You need to have your stories nailed down, based upon the information that you believe you have about the job. Watch this one. And you need to make sure that that job description is accurate at the beginning of the interview so that way, you can talk about what you’ve done that matters to them and not just talk about what you’ve done. When I talk to HR people, because I’ve got a YouTube channel, at jJobSearchTV.com, and a podcast called No BS Job Search Advice Radio,  I’ve interviewed HR people for the shows, and I’ve said job descriptions are 80% accurate, and most of them will laugh and go “if we’re lucky. they’re 80% accurate.” So they’re running an ad. And I understand why it’s not accurate because of the way that they’re constructed. And I can get to that in a minute. But you guys think it’s an accurate description of what they’re looking for  and it isn’t. Normally, in the typical interview, you wait until the very end, they say, “So, do you have any questions for me?” “tell me about the job.” And it’s too late to do anything with that information, because they’ve already made a decision.


Kenneth Lang  [11:55]

I also think that a lot of people who are interviewing aren[t good interviewers, I think, cuz I’ve been I’ve interviewed people, I think I know what I’m doing. But a couple of times, I was thrown into an interview at the last minute by my manager, I had not even looked at the resume. Lord knows I’m not even sure why I was there. But the job seeker on the other side doesn’t know that. They just assumed here’s a person who’s really has their act together. And I think sometimes we give too much credit to people that are hiring. Not so much recruiters, but hiring.


Jeff Altman  [12:31]

Hiring managers are rarely trained on how to interview. So, right in your case, when you got brought in last minute, your manager was busy, had something else to do, so they said, “Ken, can talk to this person for  me?” Okay. And somebody will just think because they were buying 15,20 minutes of time because they had something else that they had to do last minute. And that’s the normal scenario. Unprepared people who haven’t even been guided very often about what to interview for, how they want this person interviewed for and what they want them evaluated for. That’s about the job we’re replacing Jerry, we’re replacing Jenny, replacing Ramon, Ramesh, whomever. And based upon what you know about those people’s jobs, you’re asked to interview and that’s not necessarily what they want. So, for you as a job Hunter, you have to find out what they’re really looking for at the beginning of the interview so that right away, you can connect the dots for them. As soon as they ask you “tell me about yourself” and “what you’ve been doing professionally” or “Walk me through your background,” you want to be connecting the dots for them and not just talking about what you’ve done  because they don’t care about a lot of that stuff. They just care about what they need.


Kenneth Lang  [13:52]

Well it feels . . .  what’s in it for me? You know, your background, your history is your history. It shows you worked. It shows you’ve done stuff but what does that background going to do for me who’s hiring you if I have a different need?


Jeff Altman  [14:03]

Right it’s a different need. I’m talking about the wrong thing (buzzer noise) trapdoor opens up; chair falls backwards, you’re in there were the alligators. And the interviews really, even if they’re sitting there pretending to listen to you, it’s really over.


Kenneth Lang  [14:20]

I also know that there are times in an interview, and I found this out after I got hired somewhere, that there was a good cop, bad cop thing. There was three good cops, one bad cop and the bad cop was in there just to kind of throw me off. And it was intentional. I found out later on, that this was a bad cop and, once I passed the muster, it was better. But again knowing that now, knowing that when you go in, they’re going to try to trip you up when you do things and you can’t be rattled by that. You just try to make it a conversation as much as possible. But I just think the more I think a lot of it is the narrative right now. I get so tired of hearing a lot of the narratives that are out there. Job seekers can definitely take control of things. I think hiring managers are their own worst enemy. But we have to make sure that we don’t make the mistakes that have been. We’ve been told all the time, you know, and there’s got to be other mistakes as well, that we, we have to let jobseekers know what they should not be doing.


Jeff Altman  [15:30]

And there’s so many of them–not spending any time on LinkedIn, not updating your profile when you’ve accomplished something significant. Being rude to recruiters. I know everyone hates recruiters and with good reason. But they’re an easy gateway to opportunities. And frankly, the person who gets ahead isn’t always the smartest, they don’t always work the hardest. And those are great qualities to have but it isn’t necessarily what gets you ahead. People get ahead by being alert opportunity. And

The Top 10 Salary Negotiation Mistakes

Kenneth Lang  [16:03]

you want to interview the recruiter. I mean, I’ve asked recruiters What is your relationship with the company? Are you a main vendor? I mean, have you placed people before? Are you preferred, because it helps me whether they know whether they’re going to be honest, and I can’t be sure, but I want to kind of interview them as much as possible.


Jeff Altman  [16:24]

And this might be a shock, folks, but just like you, just like the hiring manager, recruiters lie. They exaggerate their experience, just like you do. What it’s like hiring managers do when they’re trying to bring you on board. LinkedIn had this thing recently, where they’re talking about how people are continuously interviewing, and people are jumping quickly from one job to another as though there’s a crime in this. And the statistic is, within six months, 30% of people change jobs. And the reason is pretty simple. Hiring Manager lied.


Kenneth Lang  [17:06]

To answer Sally’s question, they try to trip you up because they want to see how you handle pressure and negative situations. It’s not always going to be a walk in the park that the person I’m referring to specifically. She wanted me to see how I would work with an ornery manager who would question everything that was asked. And she asked me questions that were not true, that were ridiculous. And she just wanted to see how I would handle myself. It wasn’t about the answer. It  was about how I would handle the situation. And I think even when your interviewer, even when we’re chatting, it’s a conversation. And even if it doesn’t lead anywhere, it’s good practice. You know, even if they trip you up, you’ve learned because someone, they’re not your friend. And recruiters also are not your friend. They may want to support you. But their business is to find a person where the hiring manager, whether it’s realistic or not, whether the hiring manager is expectations realistic or not, they have a job to do, and they can’t change that.


Jeff Altman  [18:12]

And you’re not paying them so they don’t work for you. And in the trip up situation, the easiest way I tell people to deal with stress interviews, especially if there’s a watcher or two in the room observing while this person is trying to be difficult, I tell tell folks, the easiest way to deal with that is as you answer questions with a small smile on your face, a twinkle in your eyes to make it seem like this is no big deal. And when they try and squeeze you harder, you let the smile get even bigger. Because what you’re doing is drawing them in,


Kenneth Lang  [18:48]

Especially like a couple of times, someone will quote will have the cell phone go off and they’ll have a call and the first time and the first time it happened, I was really upset. But I found out later on, through talking to people that these are the things that they do to trip you up. How are you going to handle something like this? Are you going to just kind of let it slide off your back or you’re gonna get upset like you’re disrespecting me. And you don’t know sometimes what the method is, but it’s part of the process.


Jeff Altman  [19:15]

There’s so many little things like years ago at one of the banks one of the tricks used to be–I’m going to  illustrate thisp-the interviewer would be talking to you, an he’d turn round (it was always he’d turn around and started looking out the window, turning this back to you. And they just wanted to see whether you got annoyed at them. There used to be a time where people smoked, and they would pull the ashtray close to them so you didn’t have access to it. Anything designed to make you a little uncomfortable, keeping you waiting for a long period of time. We used to do things in person, as we will again at some point later this year, early part of next summer, when in the future, keeping you waiting is another trick that firms used to try and see whether they can throw you off your game and how you recover. There’s just a million things that they do. Can I name some common reasons? Alex, Alex,


Kenneth Lang  [20:18]

Can you name some common reasons? I have my thoughts, I’d be curious to get your thoughts.


Jeff Altman  [20:24]

So the number one thing is, of course, they never practice for the interview. As a result, they make stupid mistakes. They should know better. They may be well qualified based upon the job description, but the job description isn’t accurate. When firms hire competence is only one thing they look for. Self-confidence, character, chemistry, maybe a little bit of charisma because charismatic people tend to always do better than non charismatics, that you seem to care is another thing. And one that I added recently is that your ability to connect with them as a person, helps to have you improve. All of which adds up to they trust the person sitting opposite them. Trust is the major thing that differentiates one person from another. And unfortunately, too many people recite facts. And don’t do enough to create a human interaction that allows people to perform, or the conversation with the interviewer should be fluid. That’s the connection. Don’t give a long list of accomplishments without context. If the phone rings, just resume the conversation. Absolutely true. Yeah,


Kenneth Lang  [21:46]

II think one of the things that was a fault of mine is I spent so much time getting nervous and worrying and overthinking what I was going to say and do. And then I realized at some point that the more I did it, the more stressed out I got. That’s not to say I wasn’t a little bit nervous talking to someone. But I just felt confident in my ability, because I had prepared. And I wasn’t going to let a little things slip me up. But it takes a while to get there. And it’s common. It’s human nature to be concerned about stuff, if you’re out of control. And the challenge is like, like Michelle said, You want to make it a conversation, a fluid conversation as much as possible, because it just two people talking, you know, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

From Paycheck to Purpose

Jeff Altman  [22:32]

And in that conversation, sometimes, you have a bad person on the other side of the desk, or the video camera, who can’t carry the weight. And they act stiff, robotic, making it hard to connect. And that should be irrelevant to you. They could be an analytic personality time. And that becomes a signal that you have to conduct yourself in a particular way, perhaps different than you might normally. And it’s data to file away in your decision making as to whether or not you feel comfortable working for this person, or working for this organization. I don’t presume to know whether I’ll use Michelle is because she was the most recent person to pop up on the screen, whether she has an analytic personality, or more fluid. And she’d be more comfortable with that kind of person. But whatever it is, there’s behavioral cues that people give in the course of the interview that are useful for you in making a decision between one opportunity and another.


Kenneth Lang  [23:35]

So one mistake, and I don’t know that I agree or not. But one thing that has been brought up is, if you’re going to be hiring, if you’re going to be interviewing with someone, you connect with them on LinkedIn before the interview. After I mean again, I’m curious to get your thoughts on that.


Jeff Altman  [23:56]

You know, I don’t think it really matters anymore, not doing it before. It’s not like you’re gonna get anything from that. Doing it after at least there’s a connection in theory based upon the previous conversation. Yes, you can say I’m on your calendar for Tuesday, I thought I would connect and really connect, you know, the real connection takes place after the meeting, where even if they reject you, you have the opportunity to message them from time to time to bring them up to date on what you’ve been doing. To actually establish a relationship with someone that can be meaningful, rather than doing it beforehand, where all you’re doing is say “hey, I’m on your calendar,


Kenneth Lang  [24:42]

I think the other thing people make a mistake about just because you get rejected for a job does not mean the relationship ends and maybe you can be considered for another job or maybe their first choice decides not to get hired. The conversation shouldn’t just end when the interview is over, even if you get a an automated rejection, you want to stay in touch, because you just never know. And people, very few people follow up that way. You know,


Jeff Altman  [25:12]

Very true. And, again, I look at a career as being a long period of time. And thus, you may have been a ship passing in the night right now. But a year from now, you could be someone who’s very desirable to that same manager, or vice versa. And thus, being able to stay in contact, from time to tie, not saying every week, but every six months ish, certainly at Christmas. Reaching out to reconnect with someone has value to people,


Kenneth Lang  [25:48]

I have to tell another true story. Remember, I just told you before about this, the good cop, bad cop with the interview? Well, the bad cop lost her job. And reached out to me for help. And it was a little bit awkward at first, but we just started talking. Because she happened to remember me at the time. And I it makes me laugh in a way. But we’re all human. And what I found out later on, and it wasn’t fair to me is that there was an issue going on at that place. You never know the truth, the whole story. And I talked about being empathetic all the time for that reason, because you just don’t know the backstory. That’s why following up is so important. Following up, it’s so important.


Jeff Altman  [26:40]

It looks like you’re looking at a question coming from someone.


Kenneth Lang  [26:43]

I am David Chapman. I was rejected by an employer in late 1999. But got hired for another role in that company in 2000. stayed with them for 12 years. Bingo! I mean, and I got rejected from a company that I got hired at six years after. Because I applied again. I mean, it happens.


Jeff Altman  [27:04]

I made reference earlier to how employers lie. Everyone is lying. There are three jokes in the recruiting business. Joke number one is happy to have a job applicant is lying to you. And the answer is their lips are moving. How can you tell an institutional customers lying to you guess what their lips are moving? And of course, have you tell recruiters lying to you? Yes, you knew the answer, because everyone’s posturing for advantage. And for me, it took me a while to figure out that employers are exaggerating opportunities. When it came to me that I never had one of my clients ever say to me, “You know, Jeff, I’ve got a problem. You know, we, I just took over this group. And I’ve got 25 people reporting to me who are imbeciles. And my predecessor got fired, and so did hers. I need to hire someone to save my butt. They will put on happy smile button faces and talk about a great opportunity with a terrific team of people. Did I mention, we’re like family around here. And of course, it’s the family that are in the holiday movies, that want to strangle one another. And they never tell you that we’re going to ever tell you what happened to the last three people who sat at the same desk that they’re going to ask you to to sit at.

Changing Careers–Career Metamorphosis


Kenneth Lang  [28:22]

So, that brings up a good question. One of the things I always ask when I’m interviewed is is this a new position? Are you filling an old position? Because sometimes that gives me insight. I mean, if they’re hiring someone who’s been there before for the same job. It’s different than if it’s a new position, because it gives me different questions to ask


Jeff Altman  [28:41]

When it’s when it’s a replacement position. And what happened to my predecessor is absolute. Most of the time, they’ll say, “well, they got a better opportunity to join another firm.” But no one asks the follow up question. What made it a better opportunity? Yeah. Because one thing I know for most of you is unless you’re actively looking for a job, most of you rebuff recruiters. “What made it a better opportunity this time is they listened, went on the four interviews, took the offer and got the heck out of it. So you have to always ask the follow up question. And you can do that with the team as well. Because I presume with an interview, not just simply with a manager, but with people on staff as well.


Kenneth Lang  [29:22]

I know one of the challenges I’ve had over the years is try to get hiring managers engaged in conversations like this. And it’s not a coincidence that they don’t want to. Whether it’s on LinkedIn or conversation like this.


Jeff Altman  [29:36]

Of course, they don’t want to do this because they gotta admit that they don’t know what they’re doing that they lose people, that they’ve got turnover, the turnover can be pretty high. And especially in times like this when they have to face the idea that “hey, we’ve got a big 5% raise coming for you that’s up from two the previous years.” But inflation is at eight and a half percent, which means you have to make 11 just to break even. Because government takes a cut, which is, by the way, one of the other things most of you don’t do. You don’t pay attention to inflation now, and work taxes into the number. So when they talk about the 10% Raise, they’re talking about something that’s a little less than breakeven in the Northeast, and in different parts of the country.


Kenneth Lang  [30:21]

I also think people need to really rethink where they apply, because they’re . . .  everyone applies to the large companies they’ve heard of, but if you go to the smaller companies, companies that are local, you may have a better chance. And then the follow up question I get to that is, where do you find the small companies. No one talks about it. So I say right off the bat, subscribe to business newsletters, go online, read articles about it, you know, do some research, you know, the information is out there, you really want to do as much research as possible for anything.


Jeff Altman  [30:58]

Vendors are very good for that. People who provide services, accountants, like mid sized accounting firms, reaching out to them and talking to the partners and saying, “Look, you may have a client that’s looking for someone like me. I’m going to forward a resume to you. Just keep it. One of the owners may say something to you. Refer me at that point. And if you’re in technology, there are a number of software vendors who sell the products that you may be using, and you talk to the vendor sales rep. And often they’re willing to provide a referral to one of their other clients.

When You’ve Been Made Redundant, Fired, Laid Off, RIF’d

Kenneth Lang  [31:40]

One thing I also started to suggest to people who complain about the automated tracking systems, go to one of their seminars. Go to an iCIMS, or a Taleo seminar on just to learn how the product works. I mean, you may not be able to get specific insight into the company, but you get an idea of what they do. You know, it’s like doing some reverse interviewing. I do that a lot with LinkedIn automation tools. I go to sessions, I want to know how they automate. So I know what not to do. And sometimes, you know, it’s funny, but it’s true. You learn some of the practices, and it gives you a chance to ask questions. jobseekers, don’t go to enough sessions that are really not meant for them. You can go to a recruiter session, you can go to LinkedIn Recruiters, and you can go anywhere and be there. There’s no, they’re not checking any ID at the door.


Jeff Altman  [32:33]

I have an interview coming up in the next two, three weeks with someone who owns an ATS firm who talks about how the service works, what they want to see in it, where they want to see it in the document. And the programming that firms can do to their data dictionary that allows them to see, to identify people. And I’ll just simply say, if you don’t use the same language, as in the job description, you can’t assume that the systems will be programmed to identify your term versus the one that was in the job description. No one has time. And they also want to see it earlier rather than later. They also want to see it in certain fonts versus others. Yeah, on and on and on. Pretend a six year old is reading the resume, right? Will they recognize it?


Kenneth Lang  [33:33]

I gotta look at this. Alex, I would never answer to the question, why this vacancy? Now, if this is about as a hiring manager not answering the question, why this vacancy? I don’t know why. I mean, just because the question’s asked. Yeah, doesn’t mean you have to answer but it’s a valid question to ask from a job seeker perspective. You know, you don’t know why the other person may or may not have left and may have had nothing to do with anything but the question.


Jeff Altman  [34:03]

And from my vantage point, if I were a job hunter, I’d never take the job because you’re holding out something from me that I should know, that would alleviate any concern I have. Because three people have sat at that desk in the last three years. Why can’t I know what the reasons were for someone leaving, unless you’re hiding something from me? In which case you don’t trust me? I can’t trust you.


Kenneth Lang  [34:27]

Well, and that’s true. I think that goes to the conversation. You can ask, I mean, some questions may seem a bit forward. But okay. Like I said, I’m interviewing you. You’re interviewing me.


Jeff Altman  [34:41]

And most employers are asking “Why should we hire you?” They’re asking obnoxious questions designed to put people on the defensive. So, we turn around and say, “Why is this job open?” Suddenly, that’s that’s a taboo subject? Please!


Kenneth Lang  [34:57]

So again, David alludes to ReferenceSolutionsUSA, there’s a great place to find local companies. And I would absolutely look them up, look for people on LinkedIn, connect with them; talk to them, you just never know where a job is going to be and where it’s going to be. And it’s really about getting the experience and getting your foot in the door. And then Dr. Scott, local Chamber of Commerces, etc. I will tell you now, I’m a member of a chamber of commerce up here in northern New Jersey, and most of the small businesses there and I’ve gone to meetings, they’re looking for people. They’re looking for people to do some work. And they’re going to rely on their local Chamber members to help them because you’ve built that relationship.


Jeff Altman  [35:43]

And in some parts of the country, depending upon the kind of work you do, a BNI chapter can be useful, where you contact the chapter president and “so this is what I do. Do you have a member who’s in this field? I could give you a resume. You can just deliver it to them. Doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily hiring. But there are people in insurance, there are people who are in accounting, in engineering and plumbing in Hvac, work, all sorts of different fields, there are mechanics of all sorts. So there’s lots of jobs out there. And to think that LinkedIn or indeed have a monopoly on the listing of all positions, it doesn’t work that way.

Cover Letters That Stand Out

Kenneth Lang  [36:28]

I think one thing we talked about before, just to end things is that people that are just starting out, have just as much discrimination against them probably even more than people of our age. It’s the age old jobs fair thing. You’re a junior person, I want five years experience, as opposed to the senior person that wants five years experience. People don’t know how to write job specs. It’s as simple as that. And you have to get past that, which is easier said than done. And so even when we call this job search mistakes that people are making, the mistakes are happening everywhere. And I think it’s getting past what those mistakes are, and to put yourself in the best light


Jeff Altman  [37:08]

For junior people, and let me just start off with you are discriminated against even more than any old guys. So let’s just start. That’s an American Psychological Association data on that from two years ago. So it’s not old antique information, it’s fairly recent. So your job is to conduct yourself in a way that the not just the boomers, because the boomers are almost out of the loop at this point. But it’s really about Gen X, it’s about the older millennials can relate to you, as a Gen Z member, I know you’re very much like the boomers. You want to work hard and your job matters to you. But play the game for a little while to get across the threshold and get hired.


Kenneth Lang  [37:59]

I definitely think I know the mindset has changed with this generation, they don’t have the same expectations of being at a place for 10 or 15 or 20 years anymore.


Jeff Altman  [38:08]

With good reason!


Kenneth Lang  [38:10]

I’m saying whether it’s because they’ve seen it in their families, or they just have that understanding. So that’s both good and bad. But it’s an understanding part, you know, to know what you’re up against. They have a different mindset. And so I think that’s, that’s not so much a mistake, per se, but it’s a realization, you know, When you go for a job now, at my age, you don’t expect it to be for the rest of your life being 15 or 20 years. So I think there has to be a little bit of a reset. And I know we’ve all talked about that you know what the expectations are?


Jeff Altman  [38:43]

For Gen Z, they’re not going to play the game of filling out the ATS application. They don’t care. What they want to do is find a place where they can be appreciated. And they want to be in an organization where people see them for who they are, are going to support them going forward and help them learn and grow and get ahead. They will work harder than the boomers did when they first entered the market because the Boomers were the hippies.


Kenneth Lang  [39:17]

So Michelle has a question. It says employed 80% before COVID How hass COVID affected that since so many small businesses closed? I mean, I I look at it this way, some business closed, but others opened up. You know, so it may be in a different place. But what do you think?


Jeff Altman  [39:36]

Well, the LinkedIn clientele (I’m going to address this toward LinkedIn) is not the same clientele as a lot of those businesses. So when we’re talking about most of the businesses that closed up, hospitality is a huge area. Jobs that most of you don’t do. So in terms of these, you know, those are really micro businesses.  I think of the SMBs. So if you’ve looked at, for example, I think PwC, Deloitte have lists of small and medium sized businesses, most firms were able to make it through most of the time. In most cases, that’s really the size, we’re not really talking about the small micro businesses that employs 12 people and the bookkeeper sits at the front desk taking calls.

Preparing to Job Search: What Makes Your Heart Sing?

Kenneth Lang  [40:32]

I would say, on top of everything else, everyone on the call, avoid reading the newspapers as much as possible about what the news is coming out now. Not that it’s not as good or bad, but don’t rely . . .  rely on your networks to give you relevant information. Because you know, broad strokes in the media is not always the best way to go.


Kenneth Lang  [40:53]

They talk about the job market as though it’s one big monolith, right? It isn’t?


Kenneth Lang  [41:00]

Definitely. So is there anything else that you wanted to chat about? I want to be respectful of your time today.


Jeff Altman  [41:08]

I’ll just conclude folks by saying the skills needed to find a job are different than those needed to do a job. And it’s an obvious statement, but most people conduct themselves as though if they recite a bunch of facts, they’re going to get hired. As I started off, you know, you’re amateurs around job hunting. I’ve got a lot in the blog, and my website, TheBigGameHunter.us. Go there. Go exploring, there’s just a lot.


Kenneth Lang  [41:35]

Alright. I have to, I have to Cindy. There is some truth to all news that’s out there. But when I hear about the unemployment rate being portrayed the way it is, when I hear about the fact that people can’t, that, that there’s jobs out there, and people can’t find people to be hired. It’s not as simple as a 30 or 60 second news bite.


Jeff Altman  [42:03]

And I’ll give you the thing on the unemployment rate. Unless you’re collecting unemployment, you don’t exist, right. The closer number is the U6 rate, which is the one that includes people looking for work aggressively, and people who are underemployed. And I’ll also say that when they talk about, “hey, we created 200,000 new jobs this month!” A job is a job is a job. It  doesn’t matter if you’re working six hours a week as a IT support person remotely in Dallas, 12 hours in Chicago and 15 hours in DC to the government, that’s three jobs, but only one person. Catch that one.


Kenneth Lang  [42:48]

I think any advice twe’re all giving is based on kind of our knowledge and understanding. I mean, everyone has to kind of do what they think is best in their situation. We are here to help and advise as everyone else is on this call. And I would recommend everyone after the call, you know, comment, follow up with each connect with each other because that’s what this is all about. I want to thank you all very much. Thank you very much, Jeff. I’m actually returning the favor with you tomorrow. So we’ll have another great conversation then.


Jeff Altman  [43:18]

Folks be great. Take care

Answering Behavioral Interview Questions The Right Way


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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 2300 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us

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