I see you’ve been doing this — headhunting and advising people — a long time. Your methods about how to land a good job seem to make sense, but can you share details of any job-search success stories from job seekers who use what you teach? It would make me more comfortable about trying some of this!

Nick’s Reply

Thanks for asking! I’ve been saving your question for this first edition of 2024.

job-search success storiesI used to publish job-search success stories from people who have used Ask The Headhunter methods from the website, the free newsletter, my books, and my Talk to Nick service. Perhaps I should start sharing them again.

Readers’ job-search success stories

I hope someone’s tips or story inspires you to try the job search methods we discuss on Ask The Headhunter!

“I used Ask the Headhunter to guide me to a carefully targeted company nine years ago where they created a position to solve problems I helped them identify. Thank you. I am a big fan and have given the book to my own kids. One of my regrets is that I did not read it earlier in my career.

“What really helped me the most was the idea that getting hired is not about me but it is completely about the work. I turned the interview into a work session where I asked permission to use a whiteboard and mapped out solutions their problems. I remember that you recommended to pretend you were already on payroll.” – Carlos A. Santayana, Global Head of Training & Director of International HR

“Hello Nick, I got fired in 2014 after new management took over the company. I had been there for 28 years, half my life. I felt terrible and embarrassed about it until I read your article. Now I don’t feel bad about it at all. Thank you for this article and helping me get out of the dumps.” – Jackie Larkins

Nick’s advice helped me get my last two projects even though I have grey hair. I’m now at a great company that values experience. Thanks Nick!” – William R. Husa

“I’ve been following your blog and advice for years. (Who says 58-year-olds can’t get a job?) When I was laid off from a big pharma company, I panicked naturally from the pressure of needing to meet my financial responsibilities. However, I took a breath, adjusted my thinking and went to work on my next opportunity. Using your advice and methods, I did land my next and current position that I have been in for 2 years. During the search process, each company that I identified and researched and presented to offered me a position. The first one I accepted was my right now job. Then I found the “it” job that I have now. For those non-believers, your methods work. I even used your How to Work with Headhunters for one position. Keep up the good work. My next job will be joining you on the beach!

“PS: I’m celebrating the 31st anniversary of my 25th birthday! – Josie

“I am a 63-year-old woman, nothing special, with an MA in Liberal Arts and 20 years of progressive experience in business. I was suddenly downsized from a job I loved and intended to retire from. After nine months of researching companies, training myself in The 4 Questions, learning The Basics, and working hard to do the job to win the job, I have — again, at age 63 — been hired into a Fortune 500 company.

“I say I am ‘nothing special’ because your readers should know anyone can do it. Often when I hear some phenomenal success story I look for the silver spoon or the uncle who was in on the ground floor, but I did this myself, with a little encouragement and a lot of help from your advice. Glad I discovered you. I will continue to read your e-mail newsletter and pass along your tips to my job-searching friends. There are plenty of them out there. Thanks.” – Stephanie Hunter

“I am an American who has been living in Belgium for the last 27 years. I normally never write to any of the websites I trawl for nuggets of wisdom.  But your thoughts in the article Everything You Know About Job Hunting Is Wrong was the most important, eye-opening, and mind-expanding piece I have ever read on the subject of job hunting. Please keep up the excellent work. You are a natural resource of extreme value to job hunters everywhere. Thanks again.” – Arthur Rubinstein

“The hiring manager more or less offered me the position on the spot and indicated a salary range that is roughly 40-50% more than I make now. Your two biggest lessons (at least for me) at work in the flesh: (1) Never divulge my current salary, and (2) Talk about what I will do, not what I’ve done. They oughta make you a Cornell professor! I can already see that the one hour you spent with us will have as much impact on my MBA ROI as any class that I have taken in the program, if not more so.” – Rich Mok, Cornell Executive MBA Program

“I was in a toxic company, but I left when I couldn’t stand it anymore. Your website has been an absolute godsend (yes, I even bought a copy of your book) and I’m happy to report that I’ve already drawn up a list of companies I want to work for (bless you for The Library Vacation™). I did an information interview (and an e-mail interview as well — I live in Canada, the interviewee lived in Florida) with a person who had the job I wanted to do. Now I’m researching the problems each company faces and finding the “wow” factor (and having fun doing this as well).

“Thanks again for a wonderful website and for inspiring everyone to seek out their perfect job. I’ve already told everyone about your website and book. I hope you enjoy the royalties! (Your article about the Liberal Arts was an eye opener. I never knew we could do so much in the business world!)” – Nick Tang

“I went to five interviews after poring over The Basics for a week. I got four offers. I think you are some sort of modern prophet. Thank you very much for your insights.” – Travis Clark

“I would like to say thank you for your book regarding keeping your salary private. I recently won a job that paid 58% more than my current salary without having to reveal it. I followed your instructions to the letter saying that, ‘I want my salary based on my merits, abilities and skills. My current salary is something that is personal and confidential…’

“It worked perfectly. Best advice I’ve read in years.” – Tom Stevens

“I started what I thought would be 30 minutes of reading on, and four hours and 17 pages of notes later I just finished. It is very insightful reading.

“I am 60 and basically think I am unemployable at this point. While I am working on fixing that mindset, I have found that I have many skills that are of value. I retired from executive management too early and have regretted too much time on my hands. There are some things I can do with the insight I have learned from you — namely get out and use my skill in ways that most others won’t. Thanks for the articles. I am buying up the book after dinner tonight. Thanks for your help.” – Jim Pike

“I didn’t buy the book. I used what I read on your web site and I got a great job… I tried your $30,000 strategy approach in an interview on Monday. The person I was speaking with told me that ‘the company expects to lose money in the first year of this project.” I replied, “I refuse to lose money on any project. We either make a profit or we cut the costs.’

“I didn’t tell them what I did last year. I told them what I could do for them today. I asked for the top of the salary range and I got the job. I went in with a winning attitude and I got the job! You the MAN! YOU THE MAN!!!! I OWE you!” – J. Gardner

“If you recall I am an MD who was in touch with you during my job search efforts in finding a position as an Investment Banker. Irv Pfeiffer at Kellogg had put me on to your book.

“My interview preparation was focused on “Doing the Job During the Interview” as per the advice in your book. This was probably the best advice anyone gave me. My focus was on practically demonstrating the value I would bring to my new employer from Day 1. For me to do this required a different and more rigorous time of preparation for weeks ahead of time. I shudder to think what the results would have been in this very competitive environment had I not gotten or followed your advice.

“After a very active six month process, I was successful in landing a position as Vice President in Healthcare Investment Banking with a major regional bank. This was particularly rewarding considering this is my first job in this particular industry because I was able to leverage my expertise as a physician and healthcare executive. I have now been in this position for nearly a year and am loving it. Thanks for your kindness and help.” – Artaj Singh

Many thanks to all for their kind permission to publish their job-search success stories and tips above. Needless to say, I’m tickled by every one. I hope you enjoyed them!

Do you have job-search success stories of your own to share?

Maybe your success was based on something you learned on Ask The Headhunter, but it doesn’t have to be — it may be something you learned somewhere else or something you invented yourself! The point here is to share what worked and helped you land a job!

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  1. As a recruiter, my favorite candidate interview success story modeled your guidance, without the candidate reading it or me giving it.

    Before interviewing at a computer products company for a customer service manager role, the candidate thought of several scenarios users would have, and then would call their customer service line with his “issue.” He took notes of experiences he liked, and didn’t like, and put together a written description of each encounter.

    During the interview, at an appropriate time he pulled out his findings. Soon enough, he was being asked if he could spend more time there. Eventually the VP of sales was added to the end of his interview schedule. The only thing that delayed his getting an offer was they wanted to bring him in again so more people, CEO included, “could see this guy.”

  2. Hi Nick, this is a story of how your advice was the first step in a chain of happy events. In 2010, my daughter was an advertising major at a big NC public university, sporting an academic record that was nothing special. She applied for a highly competitive position on the prestigious campus newspaper’s ad sales team. I directed her to your website, which I had been following for years, and helped her prepare for the interview using your advice. She was praised by the interviewer for her smart questions and problem-focused approach, got the job, and was put on the biggest sales route (earning a nice tidy sum from commissions). Because she got that job and gained ad experience, she was selected to be one of 10 ad majors for a school-paid trip to NYC to meet advertising alumni. Because she met alumni and was following your advice, she got a job at a major international NYC ad agency where one of the alumni worked. Because she worked there, she met and eventually married my son-in-law… and this past year they gave birth to my first grandchild. Isn’t it amazing how that first interview led to a cascade of success and good fortune!? Thank you for sharing your wisdom and advice with the world.

    • @Marcia: Wow! This is a first! “Ask The Headhunter yields job which leads to baby!”