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Pay Attention to the Signals in the Job Description and Interview (VIDEO)

Both job descriptions and initial interviews have signals as to what the real need is. Here, I encourage you to listen to and look for the cues in both.


I was coaching someone yesterday who was up for a very senior position and, in the course of the conversation, he reminded me of something in his circumstances that I thought would be helpful to you as well. What he reminded me of was paying attention to language that is used in the job description , or by the questions that are asked by HR that signal certain things that may not be initially obvious to you.

For example, in his case, he was told by HR that the next interview was going to be with someone who wants to 4X growth in his particular business unit. We start to work on how to present his experience along those lines. In the course of his next interview. And thus we came up with describing his background with "aggressive growth." That dealt with percentages, their language used "times." He was involved with 3X growth in his particular situation. Recognize that there are signals that are used in job descriptions or in the questions that HR asks that can be a single to you and how they communicate information that they are looking for.

Another thing that came up in a different conversation was of concern that one firm had about someone where someone perceived that his background was more internally oriented, rather than externally oriented. He was savvy enough to pick up on it. He told them, "I just want to be clear that I've had 5 years of internal experience and of those 5, 3 of them were taking internally developed programs and bringing them to customers and converting them from internal systems to external systems. Thus, of my 20 or 22 years of background, 17 really related to external customers." Notice warm going with this? You always want to be listening for cues that might come from job descriptions and/or interviews that signal the real interest that the firm has.

Job descriptions contain a list of qualifications though firm is looking for. You are trying to find out what you can do for them. You are looking for ways that allow you to demonstrate that you, as a professional, whether your staff level individual or in the C suite, have the capacity to deliver what it is that they want and, as you know, sometimes the job descriptions and interviewing is a little obtuse.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching.

Are you interested in executive job search coaching, leadership coaching or life coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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