Nick offers two fundamental audio lessons in how to get a job, in the November 24, 2020 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter.

Audio Ask The Headhunter

get a jobWelcome to this special audio edition of Ask The Headhunter. I was recently part of a panel of headhunters taking questions from job seekers in a virtual gathering. We covered some important basic lessons about how to get a job.

Apart from having a lot of fun, we tackled what I refer to as in-your-face questions — the kind that most “experts” prefer to avoid because there are no canned answers.

Rather than the traditional Q&A column this week, my advice is in audio format. These are just two excerpts from a two-hour event. Total listening time: 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

I hope you enjoy this shift in format. Based on your feedback, we may try more audio!


Sixty to seventy percent of jobs are supposedly found and filled through people that know us. Networking sounds good but few people enjoy it or do it well because it’s, well, icky. How can I network without feeling dirty?

Nick’s Reply

If networking feels icky, you’re not doing it right. Networking should feel like making friends and talking shop. Length: 2:05




Natural Networking: An end to stupid networking

How Can I Change Careers? (PDF book): “A Good Network Is a Circle of Friends”


I’ve heard on business news reports that companies are not filling jobs because they are more profitable with a lower headcount. Do you find this to be true and how can I convince them to hire me anyway?

Nick’s Reply

It’s important to understand why companies avoid hiring when they can, and why they might hire you even if they have no job openings. It’s all about profit — and learning how to get in the door. Length: 3:30




How to get to the hiring manager

Get In The Door (way ahead of your competition) (PDF book)

Got an in-your-face question about networking, interviewing and how to get a job? Let’s talk about it! Got a comment about the advice I gave in the two audio excerpts? Let’s talk about it!

Did you enjoy the audio format this week?

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  1. First, these two points are solid, actionable, and important ideas for every job seeker (my side of the desk).

    Second, I prefer reading to listening, so there’s probably no way I could get through the first chapter of an audiobook, let alone the whole thing, but, for a clip of around 5 minutes or less, audio works for me … although I’d still prefer to read it instead of listening to it.

    I should also say I have a hearing impairment; I can hear volume with no problem, but without the ability to see a person’s mouth when they’re speaking, comprehension is just not there. Others may have visual impairments that hinder reading. And so, and I hate to mention it but you did bring it up :) there’s always the option of both written and spoken posts.

    • I agree 1000% per cent. Please let us read, my audio comprehension, especially over a low quality internet connection, is abysmal.

      I didn’t even try to listen.

  2. @Chris: This is just what I’m looking for. Thanks for your frank comments!

  3. @Nick: Your points were short, direct, and good advice (you’re the only one who made them–none of the career advisors I ever spoke with suggested them, and this is something college students, graduates, and others should hear).

    My preference is for reading and written transcripts, but that’s just me. I often use a local library’s computer, and that means being respectful of other patrons and library staff (so no audio).

    • @Marybeth: Thanks for your input on audio and for the plug for public libraries, which many people rely on for Internet access. Recently our county commissioners (who fund our libraries) opined that the libraries “don’t need to be open so many hours because everyone has Internet at home now!” The public whacked them for their ivory-tower ignorance. I understand why you can’t listen to audio at the library!

      • Our various library branches and the main building all sell earplugs (I think around $1 a set) and enforce (I mean really enforce) a “no audio” policy … that is, if you’re listening to something, you MUST be using earplugs (or a headset you brought in with you). Our buildings are literally overrun with kids, who play games and typically compete with 2 or 3 other computer terminals, and without earplugs it would be total chaos (and I’m sure the same with adults listening to books).

  4. Great as always, Nick! Any chanxe you can share the link to the whole event, not just 2 clips?


    • @VV: I don’t have rights to the entire event, but I plan to publish more clips of me holding forth. Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. I like the text you usually do, as I can refer back to it, say to pick up a point. In an audio I’ll have to find it again. And audio doesn’t stick like written anyway.
    that said, I’m also big on audios as I can multitask with them.
    A combo might be a good approach. i.e insert applicable audios within or end of a writeup.

    As to the points…Networking I think you hit to core of what networking is an isn’t. Particularly the isn’t. So many people especially introverts (I confess being one) have this mental image of “working a room”. Given a choice they’d rather fling themselves down the flight of stairs into the conference, than flit around the room.

    As to perking up the bottom line. there’s no such thing as original thought. An applicant may not think they know enough about the details of a manager’s business to offer the kind of impact that points to the bottom line, but they very likely do. If a job seeker has a good success story in their back pocket, it’s highly probable it mostly applies in another space. And can be laid out on a white board. And it’s likely a hiring manager can connect the dots to their operation. Take that story with you, that alone is enough to try to get to a hiring manager.

    And I’m glad to see that you didn’t dwell just on dollars, but noted efficiencies. The old formula time = money still works fine in expressing one’s value or potential contributions. It’s sometimes hard to directly connect what one does to the $ impact on the bottom line as you have to know the bottom line.

    Sales professionals can (or claim to anyway) bolt their stories right to the bottom line. So revenue discussions get a lot of attention and glory. Cost savings works too, but somehow no one gets as excited about saving money as making it.

    And saving time only seems interesting to management when they’re running out of it. But time savings
    have the advantage of usually being stunningly obvious and no less valuable. And make for great shop talk.

    Let me give an example. Back in the day I managed a writing team, inclusive of publication. This was a software development world and about the last thing to be done before a release could be made was have the user manuals in place ready to go. And time had to be bolted on the end of the schedule to finish it up.

    This is not a biggy now, but back in the was physical documentation produced by a print shop. My
    Docs Manager, was fairly new to management. (forget me, it was one of several functions I managed, but knew squat about producing docs). She took a fresh look, wondered why we didn’t send digital files to publishers, (rather than hardcopy proofs) found one who could work that way and set it up.

    the point being she shaved 4 weeks off the schedule. And told the responsible development manager he
    had 4 more weeks. I digress, but in the software world just about no one ever hit targets, didn’t have
    issues nearing release time and was sucking wind to hit their goals. He thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Can you put a $ figure on it? Theoretically she introduced an efficiency that cut time to market and a means to start the revenue flow earlier. In reality in this case, it didn’t get to market
    earlier..just on time.

    But that was a stunningly obvious value add & greatly appreciated. In that world real men cut code and
    the writers were kindly permitted to bask in their sunlight. So I had that manager send me a memo noting the accomplishment, which I appended to her performance appraisal to my boss, turning it into attention getting & well deservied praise and one Hell of a raise.

    This did not just help that project. It was forever. She changed the development process from that point onward. And this is something she could take to any potential boss, as a demonstration that she had value adding expertise, backed up by documentation…and me if she asked.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful post. One of the points you made sticks with me. You wrote: “And saving time only seems interesting to management when they’re running out of it. But time savings
      have the advantage of usually being stunningly obvious and no less valuable. And make for great shop talk.” But you also asked later “Can you put a dollar value on (this accomplishment)?

      I see this often, usually when a client invents a new procedure that saves time. One way I try to establish the value of the time saved is by calculating the amount of time saved per procedure x the number of procedures carried out in that office on an average day x the number of working days in a year. Sometimes the total hours saved can number in the hundreds.

      • thanks for the thanks. If you can develop a run rate (average cost of labor) you can take those hours saved & translate it into cost reduction or cost avoidance and then speak management language ….$

  6. Nick, I would not be able to “refer” back to audio very well, written words are much easier to “refer” back to for research purposes, for example.

  7. thanks for the thanks. If you can develop a run rate (average cost of labor) you can take those hours saved & translate it into cost reduction or cost avoidance and then speak management language ….$