No B.S. Coaching Advice

Stupid Hiring Mistakes: Focusing on the Wrong Thing | No BS Hiring Advice

I’ve spoken to too many managers over the years who make this mistake by being baffled with BS, rather than focusing on what they need.


I want to talk with those of you who are in a position where you’re involved with hiring, and try to head you off from one of the common mistakes that hiring professionals make. I’ll say, it happens more with a hiring manager. That could be a manager level and above where you’re easily distractible, and you get fixated on things that are completely irrelevant to the job that you’re trying to fill. Let me give you an example.

Have you ever seen the the cartoon. It’s like a one panel, cartoon with a cat talking to another cat, and they’re having a conversation. Suddenly, the speaking cat goes “Whoa, bird!” That’s because it’s easily distracted to notice the bird.

Well, many of you are not much different than Tthat cat. The way that it shows up is that you’ve developed the specification for the role. You have done that, by the way?Even if you’ve taken the old one that existed at HR, you’ve tweaked it to really  communicate what it is that you want. So, once you have that document, you’ve got your roadmap for what it is that you’re looking for.

Often, what happens is that hiring managers are distracted by a great presentation. Someone talks about what they’ve done, not necessarily what they’ve done that matters to this job, but they talk more broadly about everything that they’ve done. They’ve got a great presentation. Suddenly you finish the interview with a smile on your face going, “that was really an impressive person,” and realize you haven’t asked half of the questions to measure whether or not they’re qualified for your job.

By the way, you do have standards questions you ask every candidate. You’re not winging it, are you? “Winging it is like the death for hiring managers because this is one of the ways that you get lost, and you get influenced by candidates with a great presentation. Or as we used to say, in the old days, “a terrific rap” about themselves. But they’re not necessarily demonstrating how they fit your role.

My encouragement to you is, number one, even if you’re using that standard description from HR that was used to fill this job the last five years, tailor it a little bit to fit what you’re looking for now. From there, develop standard questions that you, or people on your staff should be asking, in order to make sure that bias doesn’t enter the equation. And you can determine whether or not someone’s actually qualified to do your job.

As you’re interviewing people and asking the same questions repetitively of each person, notice where they try and take you off on a different tangent and, shall we say, mesmerize you with BS. And remember, this is No BS Hiring Advice. They try and give you a certain line of BS. that’s designed to say, “don’t worry about the . . .  just watch the hand. Watch my hand here for a second. Don’t worry about that thing that I have about 10 minutes of experience with. Watch the hand and avoid getting distracted. Be single minded in evaluating and assessing people for their qualifications for the role. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted.



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 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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