Tag Archives: hiring managers

How hiring managers are like dancing dogs

Dogs will dance when there is no music.  Better said: they dance when there is no music that we can hear.  They are able to hear different levels of sound than we can.  One man teaches dogs to dance to music that is beyond the range of human hearing.  Since the dogs turn, jump and “dance” at the same time, it looks like magic.

Managers and CEO’s also dance to music other people cannot always hear. When hiring they have a good idea what they want, but sometimes don’t know how to express it.  Sometimes they are embarrassed to admit what they want. Occasionally they can’t admit it because of laws against discrimination.

I find any discrimination offensive.  The point is not that people discriminate.  People have hidden agendas.  They sometimes discriminate based on sex, age and race. More commonly they discriminate based on education, certifications, accent, tattoos, jewelry, cut of clothes, and haircut.  I’ve seen handwriting and typing skills torpedo several executive jobs. Changing jobs every two years is too much in some industries, and switching every six months can be as bad as felony theft.  Weight can be a killer at some companies.

What you consider unfair judgment is important, but it is not what keeps you from getting a job.  It is what the hiring manager considers excellent judgment that keeps you unemployed.  Whining won’t help.  If there is something about you that doesn’t fit with an environment, you won’t get hired.

If a man is offered a fact that goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. (Bertrand Russell)

If you are having a particularly tough time getting a job, it is time for some tough love.  You need to find someone who will really tell you the way you appear to hiring managers.  What is there about you that turns off employers?  We try to be very clear at AGI if someone is not a fit for a job.  We may not give all the reasons for failure, but we will tell the biggest reasons if the person is listening to us.  Unfortunately our honesty has occasionally meant that a candidate left in tears.  More often we helped people change what they needed to change to get a great job.

I’m in trouble when I say, “Managers are like dancing dogs.” But it is true.  They sometimes dance to music we cannot hear.

Something to do today

Having real trouble finding a job? Is it you or is it just luck?  It could be either.  Find a few people who can be brutally honest to help you find out.  And also remember, it may just be bad luck.

14 ways to job hunt like a kid

Kids can be a practically irresistible force.  I have 10 children.  Usually I can resist them.  Not always.  Here’s how they win.

  1. Be totally, irresistibly and eternally committed to a world changing idea
  2. Jump up and down with enthusiasm
  3. “No” means not now
  4. “Not now” means try again in 5 minutes
  5. Laugh, smile and tickle your dad
  6. Run around and get all the other kids excited out of their minds
  7. Ask dad for help to figure out how to do it
  8. Cry if dad is not listening
  9. See if you can turn it into a school project
  10. Ask mom to talk to dad about it
  11. Bring a partially completed task to dad to be fixed
  12. Change your plans and try again in an hour
  13. A small explosion in the yard will get dad’s attention
  14. Make it a game

Kids win because they are too excited to accept defeat.  They are willing to try every possible way around an obstacle.  When I am the obstacle and they are really really determined, they know they can win. One man described that level of enthusiam and determination this way:

The ability to understand a question from all sides meant one was totally unfit for action.  Fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of the real man.  (Thucydides)

Is there a job you really really want?  Why not job hunt like a kid?

Something to do today

Take a pen and paper and translate each of those 14 things into something you can use for job hunting or working for a promotion in real life.


Tomorrow:     Fingerprint locks and getting hired

Picking up a hundred dollar bill

Get a job by using a cockroach’s friends

To stop a giant cockroach from leaving the earth, one of the heroes in Men In Black steps on some earth sized bugs. They are relatives of the big one.  The giant one comes back down and “engages” the hero.  “Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.”

If you can get a relative, friend or recruiter to help you, you multiply your chances of getting a job instead of a rejection from that hiring manager.

Let’s start the way we did last time.  First, make sure you want the job and that you are a decent fit.  You can only use friends and relatives two or three times.  They are the big guns to use when you really are well qualified and motivated.  If you are not qualified for the job, just send a resume through Monster. That way it only takes you 10 seconds to send it and the computer will delete it for them.  Relatives and friends are too important to over use. A recruiter won’t let you overuse him, so use recruiters as heavily as you can.

Once you identify the job you would be excellent for, you need to figure out a plan of attack.

First: who really respects you that can help?  A recruiter who respects you is a much better reference than a brother who thinks you would bomb.  The person who you know directly will hand your resume to someone you don’t know.  The enthusiasm that is passed on with your resume is the big advantage you get from a friend, relative, or recruiter handing over your resume.

Second:  figure out the final target who will be given your resume. Particularly if your friend works there or is a recruiter, they will have several options.  If possible have them give it directly to the hiring manager or his boss.  If you cannot get it directly to someone making the decision, figure out who else it will be given to.  Just handing your resume to the HR department may do nothing for you in a huge company.

Third: follow up.  If you know the hiring manager or his boss got your resume, give them a quick call to verify they got it and see if they have any questions.  You may only get their secretary, but you can still ask her if she has any questions.  This is where you can reinforce your advantage.  If a recruiter handed in your resume, ask the recruiter to follow up, and then you can follow up with the recruiter to ask what the manager thought.

Using a friend, relative or recruiter can get your resume put on the top of the pile of applicants.  It will not guarantee you a job, but it will sure help you get an interview.

Use friends, relatives, and recruiters when you are prepared and the stakes are high.  That is the best way to get a cockroaches attention.

Something to do today

Networking time.  Identify the 5 companies and jobs you best fit and most want to fill.  Start asking people you know, who they know who works there.  You can invite that stranger to lunch with your friend.  Scary? That’s okay.  Invite them out to lunch anyway. With the friend along it will be more comfortable.


Later: Job hunt like a kid

Fingerprint locks and getting hired

Hiring managers are like giant cockroaches

A giant cockroach steals the hero’s gun and swallows it.  So the hero taunts the cockroach until it eats him.  A few minutes later the cockroach explodes and our hero is standing there holding the huge gun the monster ate a few minutes before.  Men In Black was a lot of fun.  In that case the only way to save the world was to survive in the stomach of a giant bug.

There has to be at least 5 great job hunting analogies there.  Create your own, then read mine.  I bet mine is different.

The giant bug wants nothing more than to get into its spaceship and get away.  Of course the earth will be destroyed if it gets away, but that is not the bug’s problem.  So the two puny humans must do everything they can to keep it from leaving.  They taunt it, harass it, insult it, and step on small earthly cockroaches (relatives and friends) to get it to delay its departure.  They figure out what the bug can’t ignore and get it to come back and deal with them.

Don’t show this to any of my clients please.  They won’t like it, but I have to say this.

Hiring managers really are like giant cockroaches. They just want to hide in their offices and get away from you.  You are a waste of their time unless you tell them something that proves they need you.  They would rather have their receptionist shred your resume than take the time to talk to you.  So take three lessons from the way the Men In Black fought the giant bug:

  1. You have to find the right words
  2. You have to engage them in conversation
  3. A relative or friend may be able to get them to talk to you

Over the next three days I will show you how to do each of these things.  The giant cockroach, I mean the hiring manager, will give you all the hints you need.  I’ll show you what those hints are.

Something to do today

There really are at least 5 other analogies from my opening paragraph.  Have some fun and talk about it with a friend.  Just make sure your  manager is not around.


Later:                    Getting eaten by aliens – the right words

Engage them in conversation

A relative or friend can help