Lessons in Background Checking and US Presidential Elections

Let me be clear–this is not a political article but an opportunity to take lessons from Presidential elections and apply them to job hunting.


In 2008, two candidates faced very different outcomes when their backgrounds were checked by the news.

Governor Sarah Palin did not have a thorough background check when she was interviewed by

representatives of Senator John McCain before selecting her to run with the Senator as his Vice Presidential nominee.

Thus, after she left the adoration of the convention and started to interview with the press, we all discovered that she had a fatal flaw (lack of knowledge) that made her unworthy in many of our minds to be Vice President.

Senator Obama faced a very different background check. Generally, the mass media liked the Senator and, dare I say, favored him for President. Thus, they chose to ignore how Obama lied about Senator Clinton’s positions on health care reform and Nafta, his view of opponents as people who clung to their Bibles and guns, his relationship with Bill Ayres and Tony Rezko. They let him slide on other points that seemed inconsistent with things he said.

Why? he was generally well liked.

Today, Governor Romney is being assaulted with attacks that have nothing to do with his positions on issues but based upon his employment at Bain Capital.

Was he involved with outsourcing jobs by Bain portfolio companies? When did he leave Bain? Why did the paperwork filed with the SEC still refer to him as CEO when he was running the Olympics? Was he really running the Olympics?

To me, these are nonsensical distractions that have been answered (He was not involved with outsourcing, he left in 1999, he was on leave from Bain, someone else ran the firm and he never returned to Bain after the Olympics [corroborated by a major Obama fundraiser who works for Bain]; and yes he ran the Olympics).

No matter, the mass media is off and running on these non-issues because the Governor is just not as likable as the President (By the way, on a separate subject, tell me 5 things the President will try to do if re-elected. I’ll spot you one thing–raise taxes on certain people; tell me four more).

Thus the sharp lesson to learn is to work on your likability. You won’t simply be hired based upon objective criteria like skills but whether someone likes you, too. The likability factor allows people to overlook “sins” or flaws in your experience

© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2012

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

Job hunting is a rigged game with you the mark.

You will and will be in and day you and I and will and is in an and in and in and you and is in and he and or the you and you will be in a in the bar a

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with 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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