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EP 1212 I use a lesson from sports to point to a way to trip yourself up and fall into a trap.

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As a job hunter, (I’m going to use a sports metaphor here from football) there are these things called trap games. What a trap game is a game that when you look at your schedule and you think ahead. You circle that one on your schedule and you go, “I got that one won.”

In job hunting, that's the “applying to the ad where you say to yourself, “I this one like a glove,” or the interview that you are told is a “courtesy interview,” so you don't do anything to prepare.

Trap games invariably involve a tougher contest than people expect. Even if you get the offer, often it is for less money than what you expected because you just didn’t prepare and perform like you needed to.

The one thing that athletes discover time and again is that there are no trap games on schedule. There are no situations that they step into that are (I’ll use slang expression) there are no “gimmes.” There are no things that basically you don't have to perform for.

For you, kind of like in your work if you take everything for granted and you don't try to get better, you fall behind in, right? Well, in job hunting, it's the same thing. There our way too many trap games that can become you being trapped. That's what trap games are all about. You are caught in the trap of expectations that this is good be easy when it isn’t.

So, if you're invited back for a formality interview, you are told that the vice president, the C suite executive, the president of a firm, just wants to meet you as a formality, I assure you know may be the toughest interview, you get because, for them, everything matters.

So, they go through things in meticulous detail in order to ensure that when you're hiring someone in the money is coming out of the budget, you’re not a waste.

So, don't fall for the trap. Don’t get yourself caught up in the trap. Instead, prepare like your life depends on it. Prepare like every game counts.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what 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 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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