Do you feel like everything you know about job hunting and hiring is wrong? Welcome to Ask The Headhunter, where we’re going to poke and prod at our assumptions about job hunting, hiring, and success at work.

For over 12 years I’ve answered thousands of questions from readers on Ask The Headhunter, hoping to deliver a few drops of good advice on these topics. It’s been an easy gig for two reasons. First, the world’s Employment System is so much muck and mire that a little clear thinking and common sense go a long way. Second, my readers teach me and themselves more than I ever could. I try to help boil it down.

Pure and simple, success in any job means you’ve got to identify and meet an objective. (If there isn’t a clear objective, the job is broken.) But, objectives get buried in jargon and they get lost in the muck and methods of hiring. I’m impatient when confronted with muck. So, I’ll reveal my trick — I stir the pot hard till the crud comes to the top. The fun part is skimming it off (and splattering it around a bit), and then we can see what’s underneath. What’s down there is almost always this: What’s the work we need to do so we can produce profit — for the employer and the worker?

Maybe you just want a job; to pay the mortgage; to get along. Maybe you don’t want to get fired. Maybe you think profit is somebody else’s job, because nobody pays you enough to worry about it.

Or, maybe you want to turn your industry on its head with your great ideas, and you expect recognition and money. Profit. Yah, your paycheck should have some profit in it, too. If the work you do isn’t profitable to you, something’s wrong. Something’s broken. I’m convinced it’s the Employment System, because the way we hire and look for work usually promotes mediocrity and develops despair. Bummer. Sorry about that. My first post — and I’ve already splattered some crud around.

So, strap on a rubber apron, and start stirring. Why does HR dump jobs into the Monster pit? How can managers recruit without resumes? Do all headhunters really suck? How can you get past the Top 10 Stupid Interview Questions? Is there a way to get a raise without begging? We’ll cover all this, and, like Vladimir Nabokov claimed about his best book, “much, much more.”

  1. Hello Nick,

    Thanks for leaving the link on the old blog… wherever it was (it’s already gone from my RSS links).

    I’ll look forward to hearing more good things from you in the weeks to come.

    And for anybody bored enough to read this comment, listen to this guy… I half-listened to him and got a great job. Wonder where I’d be if I listened better? :)

    Best regards,
    Tom Brownsword

  2. Nick:

    What happened to the discussion board that was over at Motley Fool? Is there a link for it?

  3. Jill,

    The board on the Motley Fool is still there for the time being. But after 10 years of answering every question posted there, I had to cut back in order to produce other content, like my newsletter, the blog, and content licensed by other publishers. I haven’t been participating in the discussion there — just not enough time!

    The blog has prompted me to start a new ATH discussion board… I’m working on it. Because it will be integrated with the newsletter and blog, it will be much more manageable for me. Please keep an eye out! I miss the discussion!

  4. Unfortunately, the TMF/ATH is not what it used to be. Hopefully, your new board will suffice as a substitute.

    Also — your last post on the InfoWorld Blogs never got published. Or, if it did, it was removed before I could read it. The link now goes to Bob Lewis’ Advice Line (which, while that may be an excellent alternative, I already have him in my RSS reader, so I’m not getting anything new). Could you repost it here?

  5. Hey, Phil,

    Thanks for the InfoWorld memories. How long ago was that? ;-) I’ll see if I can’t post the last IW column here… it was a pretty good one! I appreciate your coming over!

  6. Great stuff!

  7. Nick,

    I am not a wheelchair bound person but I have a parlayed arm that I carry in a sling and a mild short term recall due to a major accident at the end of 1991. Since then I have been employed for all except 2 years as an energy analyst but I am now unemployed and job seeking. I have several questions but will start by asking just one.

    We are told so much to submit online and wait for response from HR what is your take on that?

    Thank you,