Category Archives: job search strategies


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about saying stupid things in an interview even when they are sincere, honest etc., but still stupid. Well, this week we had a situation that was really difficult and a lot more understandable, but still required as much personal discipline has saying stupid things in an interview.

the issue centers around sharing with people in your company your frustration about your job, and your desire to leave as well as your activity in looking for a new job. We had two candidates come to see us a few weeks ago from the same company. They were both reeling from new management dictatorial style as well as a drastic “realignment” of their pay structure. They were both really pissed off and really ready to leave. Neither one of them could wait for that wonderful day that they can go in and tell their boss to stuff it where the sun don’t shine and walk out.

So, their job search began. We warned both of them that it would be better not to discuss their job search with anyone in the company, including each other. We emphasized that it would be better if they didn’t share where they were getting interviews, or how the interviews were going… Anything! Unfortunately, people don’t always listen to what we say and every day they would talk with each other about the interviews they were getting, how they were going etc. One of them even told one of the companies they were interviewing with about the other one and suggested that the company interview the other candidate also. In spite of our warnings this went on for at least the past two weeks. One of them, after we got the other one an interview with one of our clients, called us and wanted to know why we hadn’t gotten her the same interview as we had gotten her friend. We had been constantly telling them to quit sharing their job search activities with each other.

well, all of a sudden one day at the beginning of the week one of these candidates called and said that her friend in “crime” of looking for a job had all of a sudden clammed up and started avoiding her. She told us that they had not spoken all week and her friend all of a sudden seemed to be a little closer to and warmer to the Nazi they were working for. Now, the second candidate is worried that the first candidate is going to leak the fact that she is looking for a job to the Nazi manager. She is absolutely terrified and has called every day to ask if we had any better advice about what she should do. We advised to just keep her nose to the grindstone and, again, don’t discuss any of her job search with anybody. We will see how things go, but she’s as nervous as she can be.

a number of years ago we had two sales candidates come to see us toogether because both of them were upset with their company and what was going on. We told them the same thing we told these two ladies, to keep their mouth shut and not share with each other their job search activities. Like the ladies, they didn’t listen and were sharing everything about their job search. About a month into their job search, one of the guys got promoted to manager of the area, and the very first thing he did was fire his “buddy” because he knew he was looking for a job and, as he explained to his ex-friend as he was firing him, with his new job he couldn’t afford to have anyone on his team that was looking for a job.

I’m sure you get the message. If you’re looking for a job while you have one, keep your mouth shut. You can’t afford to have anyone at your work spill the beans.



…your linkedin picture

Like most recruiters, I use LinkedIn a lot. I’m continually blown away by the ridiculous pictures that people put on their LinkedIn profile. People seem to forget, or totally ignore that employers looking at your LinkedIn profile are trying to make a business decision about whether or not they ought to interview and hire you. Here are descriptions of some of the pictures that I have seen over the last two days and an interpretation of what a potential employer thinks when he or she sees them:

an artistically drawn caricature of the candidate… What the hiring authority thinks? “Is this guy or gal a cartoon?”

A candidate bouncing her one-year-old on her knee… What the hiring authority thinks? “This gal is gonna want to stay home with her baby rather than be at work.”

A candidate standing with his golf club on the #1 tee, smiling… What the employer thinks? He sure loves golf. Probably be more interested in being on the golf course than at work.

A group of six women “quasi” partying… What the employer thinks? “Well which one is the person I’m trying to review? Looks like they’re having fun. Not very professional. I’ll keep searching.”

A picture of the candidate coaching his kid (or group of kids) in baseball… What the employer thinks? “This guy’s more interested in coaching his kids that he is in working. He’ll probably spend a lot of time doing that instead of working.”

A blonde 30 something year old who’s head looks like an egg with a candy cane like band around her forehead…the caption says: “professional salesperson.” What the employer thinks? “Professional? Are you kidding me!!?”

No picture at all… What the employer thinks? “A) This person doesn’t want to go to the trouble to put a picture on their profile. B) They are ashamed of the way they look, or C) They don’t want to reveal that they’re old. Any or all of the above!”

Well, I’m sure you get the point. At least 10% of the pictures on LinkedIn profiles are going to actually keep the candidate from getting an interview. Think!!!!

…reading and believing your own press clippings

Dan hasn’t looked for a job for 15 years. He’s been with the same firm for that period of time and has risen rather rapidly through the ranks. Along the way, his company gave him all kinds of kudos and recognition and continually told him how great a contribution he made, how wonderful he was and how they couldn’t do without him, blah, blah, blah.

It is true that his performance was excellent and that he had been promoted a number of times. He always had all kinds of people in the company and outside the company telling him how wonderful he was. He reached the level of Regional VP and all of these accolades started going to his head. The first blow to his ego was that he didn’t get as big a raise as he thought he should. The second, and biggest blow, came from the fact that he lost a promotion to one of his peers that he was certain he was going to get. The selection committee wasn’t courteous enough to tell him why he didn’t get promoted, but he felt like his meteoric rise was now slowed, if not stymied. “After all,” he thought (and what he told us) “… I’ve given sweat and blood to this company. I got an MBA. I’ve had fantastic reviews. Everybody tells me I’m wonderful and the company could not get along without me and that other companies would feel very lucky to have me.” (My sense is he imagined this last part more than someone telling him that.)

His family didn’t help either. His father, upon hearing the story of Dan’s plight, agreed that Dan deserved the promotion and that the company wasn’t appreciating him. Dan’s wife totally agreed and kept telling him that he should quit because there were boatloads of organizations that would love to find talent like his.

So, Dan quit. That was six months ago and Dan is still looking for a job. He had absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to find a job. Dan was believing his own press clippings. He thought that since his company thought he was so wonderful and his family just knew he could not only replace his job but find a better one, all he had to do was quit and go look for one.

Dan was saying a lot of what we hear from people all the time, “Every company needs really good people…( especially like me).” They each quit their job thinking that companies are simply going to fall down in front of them to get them on board. They do no research on how many jobs like they’ve been doing exist and what their probability might be of getting a job like that even if they could find the opening. Dan even made the comment that his professors in his graduate program were certain, that with an MBA from their school, he should have no problem finding a new job. Of course, they have absolutely no idea what the job market might be like for what Dan does either. (That’s why they are in academia. Besides, that’s what they’re supposed to tell students who just paid $100,000 to get an MBA from their school.)

Dan had a few interviews, but they were more courtesy interviews from friends, colleagues, etc. He is shocked, depressed and demoralized that he hasn’t easily found a job. The problem Dan has run into is very common. He had absolutely no idea what the market might bear for his experience or background. Just because he had all of these people, his company, his family, his professors etc. telling him how wonderful he was didn’t mean that he was going to find a job. The majority of jobs like Dan is looking for are promoted into from within. It’s rare for companies to hire someone like Dan off the street. It has nothing to do with his ability or his performance. It has to do with the availability or should we say, lack of availability of the kind of job he has done.

The lesson is, don’t believe your own press clippings. Just because all of the people you work with tell you how wonderful you are doesn’t mean that people are going to immediately hire you. Do some “market testing” and find out how easy it’s going to be to find a job. Don’t think that just because you’re so damn good and everybody just knows it, that somebody’s going to instantly hire you.

Dan is now considering going back to work for his old company. He’s going to have to take a position that is one or two levels below where he was before. He’s not sure what he will do. Our recommendation is that he swallow his pride and go back to his old company.  Now, if he wants to look for a job while he’s got one, that’s probably the better idea. Right now, he needs to get back to work.

Don’t believe your own press clippings.



…but i called ’em once

so how often should you call a perspective employer after you have interviewed?

until you get ’em… well, for the most part..

i recommend calling often and not giving up until you get a call back…for at least 10, maybe 12 calls…

most people think, “well, i called ’em..they need to call me back..”…well, they aren’t gonna call you back most of the time…the are busy and hiring wasn’t as high on their priority list as they said it was..

so you think, “well, i don’t want to make ’em mad…bug ’em”..etc. ..well, i ask, “what do you have now?”…nada, zip, nothing…

if you leave a message that you are calling to express your interest in their opportunity and the message is friendly and to the point, you might be suprised at getting called back..

now, after 10 or 12 calls and no email or call back, i’d probably figure the employer moved on somone else..

no big deal..just an “event”…time to move on…

be bold, courageous…keep calling..

…terry mcdonald got a job

…terry…the last guy i worked with on the dr.phil show…see the video on the blog pages…well, he got a job on friday…nine months almost to the day after being out of work..

terry kept trying…went after everything that moved…kept interviewing and inteviwing..setback after setback…but he kept trying …

he simply followed the instructions in the Job Search Solution Program….and kept doing what he needed to do and got a job…OK, less money than he was making a few years ago…but he go a job..

lesson: …it’s out there…the job you need to keep trying and trying and trying…but it’s there

don’t quit…don’t ever quit…

…keeping a journal

really a good idea to keep a journal about your daily activities and how they went…

the writing is great catharsis for your soul …and it is great to be able to go back and see what went on last week…ten years ago…

doesn’t have to be much every day, but it helps one be clear about what is going on


i am continually suprised at how simply afraid people get when they have to find a job…

terry mcdonald…the guy in california that i am helping from the dr.phil show, lost his job in january of ’09..until we were on that show…april…he had only 3 interviews…only three

i asked him about the circumstances and he admitted that it was simply fear…just didn’t know what to do…so much anxiety…

we have him on track now…simply taking massive action..but fear is a very difficult emotion

…changing the titles on your resume

the titles of  “account manager…regional manager…vice president…director..” and we can go on…can all be misleading..

can’t tell you the number of times that one of my candidates is passed up for an interview because the hiring authority misjudges their duties and responsiblities because of the candidate’s title…

any time the word “manager” is in the title you run the risk of being overlooked as an individual contributor because, after all, you have been “managing” other people…

lesson: don’t hesitate to change the titles on your resume if they are not very clear as to what you have done…

don’t give me that, “well, tony, that was (is) my title and i can’t help it if it keeps me from getting an interview”… unless, of course, you don’t want to get many interviews…

i’m not saying to lie..i am saying to make sure the titles on your resume help you get the interviews you need…

..quit rewriting your resume so much

some of my candidates keep rewriting their resume as though they think the think really gets read.

look…the average resume gets read in 10 seconds…the reader wants to know who you worked they know who you worked for…how long you were there and how you performed..

your resume is suppose to get you an interview…not get you hired..sooooo, write a chronological resume …NEVER ANY OTHER KIND BUT CHRONOLOGICAL…make it clear who you worked for, what you did and how successful you were…

quit thinking the resume is going to get you hired…get on the phone and get an interview for yourself…that will get you a job..

….what to expect from your recruiter

most people don’t know what to expect from a recruiter…they will act like they do because the don’t want to appear ignorant…

there are at least 9 or 10 different types of recruiters and they  often function very differently…retained search folks, contingency recruiters, “placers,” internal corporate recruiters…all work quite differently..

often when potential candidates contact or are contacted by a recruiter their expectations are not met because the recruiter failed to set them and the candidate didn’t ask…

read the article on the Babich web site that discusses the different types of rercruiters…those of us with lots of experience always try to expain what we expect from our candidates and what our candidates should expect from us

the imporant lesson is to be sure you aks, “what can i expect from you?”…that way, you won’t be disappointed