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63 Questions to test your mastery of lesson 239

The recruiter’s dilemma

What is employer branding?

How dangerous can competent recruiters be to their competitors?

What is the difference between headhunting, recruiting & executive search?

What is a ‘conflict of interest’ clause?

“Recruiters are assessed by _____ and _____. The better the recruiter, the stronger their compensation package position.”

What are 3 basic reasons why recruiters don’t respond to job-seekers?
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____

“It’s about _____ at _____ to get _____ you need to _____.”

Why is recruiting during difficult economic times harder than recruiting during good times?

What is the difference between sourcing and assessing candidates? Which is more important? Why?

As a recruitment sourcing tool, what is the difference between Facebook, TikTok & LinkedIn? Which one is a better tool?

When sourcing, what are the two online recruiting profiles recruiters find?
1. _____
2. _____

What is the benefit of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn… making people’s online information free and accessible? Who benefits? How?

What is the relationship between talent mapping and workforce planning?

What is the difference between single-loop and double-loop learning? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?

What is scenario planning?

What is the relationship between supply and demand forecasting?

“If your talent sourcing searches _____, chances are you’re _____.”

What is the foundational reason why do people go to social media platforms?

What is more important to most people on LinkedIn, networking or finding jobs? How does this affect their online CV and profile content?

According to a 2014 LinkedIn Trends Survey, _____ of active users are dissatisfied with their job.

Which candidates do recruiters prefer: actively-seeking, passively-seeking, or non-seeking? Why?

Why is it so hard for recruiters to find highly-qualified professionals?

What is better than having more data than your competitors?

Why do recruiters tend to prefer people searching to published job descriptions? Why do advertisers prefer published job descriptions to people searching?

What are Boolean search operators?

What is an:
1. explicit search?
2. implicit search?
3. semantic search?
4. indirect search?
5. maximum inclusion search?
6. iterative search?
7. probabilistic search?
8. social graph search?

Why might a company use non-traditional job titles such as Chief Fun Officer?

What is the difference between “manage” and “oversee” from the recruiter’s perspective?

What is deductive reasoning? Inductive reasoning?

What are communication scripts and why are they important?

What is the ‘bait-and-switch’ technique? Is it a good strategy? Why or why not?

The job-seeker’s dilemma

What is an:
1. A-list professional?
2. B-list professional?
3. C-list professional?
4. “Perfect” employee?
5. “Right” employee?
6. “Good” employee?
7. “Exotic” employee?
8. “Expatriated” employee?
9. “Cheap” employee?
10. “Temporary” employee?

What is the theory of assortive mating (ladder theory)?

What are some problems associated with:

moving up the ladder?

being at the bottom of the ladder?

What must you do before asking for help?

Your competitive advantage lies in _____.”

What are some important reasons why job seekers will not discover job opportunities and networks online?

What is better than having more data than your competitors?

“You don’t get what you _____, you get what you _____.”

What is emotional intelligence?

What does “off the record” mean? If someone asks you to go “off the record?” When should you? Why?

What are the three imperatives to success:
1. _____ you know
2. _____you know
3. Your ability to _____ and _____

How do applicant tracking systems (ATS) analyze your CV/resume?

What are the 5 basic steps to creating an ATS-friendly CV?
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____
4. _____
5. _____

What are 3 categories your skills ability fall into?
1. _____
2. _____
3. critical _____

What are the 9 credibility markers imperative to all communication?
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____
4. _____
5. _____
6. _____
8. _____
9. _____

How should you structure your CV content?

What is keyword stuffing?

Why should you be cautious about CV templates & companies who offer them to you?

On your CV, which comes first in order of importance: content or form? Why?

What are the 3 strategic objectives of your LinkedIn profile and online presence?
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____

With every communication – verbal and non-verbal – always assume _____.

Why should you always begin each meeting by verifying the amount of time the other party has available to meet?

What does it mean to “diagnose before you prescribe?”

What is illusory superiority?

Why do interviewers frequently begin questions with “In your own words…?”

For leaders, what critical task directly affects your career progression?

What are the 5 basic leadership styles?
1. _____
2. _____
3. _____
4. _____
5. _____

Why do people tend to be in a constant state of mild agitation?

Do people default to making decisions emotionally or rationally? Why?

What is a working interview?

What are the differences between benefits & features? Which are more persuasive? Why?

“A-list professionals are so in tune with their company & industry that _____.”

“Always make people ___ & ___ for having met you.”

17 videos. 148+ links. 292+ takeaways from this 10 hr training lesson:

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Below are 10 hours of high-quality, curated content gleaned from professional recruiters and head hunters blended with my personal experience as a talent development specialist training over 15,000 professionals and university students, neatly bundled up and in one place.]


  1. The recruiter’s power & dilemma
  2. How Human Resources assess employees & candidates
  3. How recruiters find the ‘right’ talent
  4. How to get your profile & CV in front of recruiters
  5. How to find job openings and key hiring decision-makers
  6. How recruiters ‘flip’ leaders and potential candidates

Recruiter Power


Executive recruiters play chess with the corporate world. Recruiters are the people employers want on their team; they are the people job seekers want to attract.

A competent, calculated recruiter could steal your best talent, tearing your empire to the ground.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 77: Attracting and selecting the best candidates, Armin Trost points out that:

  • Executive searches involve secretly contracting a headhunter to fill a specific high-level position or to replace an existing executive without their knowledge. Not only do headhunters help you steal the best talent from your competitors and other leading companies, ‘off limit companies’ and conflict-of-interest clauses prevent that headhunter from stealing your best people from you; a modern-day equivalent of paying the mafia not to set your business on fire.
  • A-list Players are the best, B-list Players are average, and C-list Players are below-average. In terms of professional networking, A-list Players tend to know and associate with other A-list Players. Strong people know other strong people. Humans try to build relationships with people who are more or less equal to ourselves.

Recall also in Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez, Tai goes into greater detail on the ladder theory (or assortative mating): the evolutionary theory that personality, physical attraction, success, nearly all attributes… fall on a scale between 1 and 10, and that in the majority of cases individuals seek to attract and associate with other individuals who are either of equal or greater status. Thus:

Assortative Mating & competition from The Lessons of History, described by Tai Lopez
  • 1s and 10s differ tremendously in their behavioral patterns and thought processes. It thus follows that there are certain codes of conduct that must be followed relative to the people you are in company with. To the curious and astute learner, these patterns and processes of your target demographic can and must be copied.
  • People with a perceived ranking of 3 compete for the company of people with the perceived rank of 4, 5, and if possible 6. Most 5s won’t compete for the company of 10s because of the idea of energy conservation – having to put an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and money meeting, seducing, and then keeping a 10 over time against all other competitors.
  • With each person competing for equals and those one or two ranks above them, the math simply does not add up: your ‘ideal’ romantic partners and ‘ideal’ business partners and investors don’t respond to you when you contact them, and all the people you’d rather not spend your time with are competing for your time and attention.
  • The average business owner (5s) earning around $43K annually is competing for the attention of the CEOs and investors (9-10s) with $450K annual income or more is next to impossible.]

A-list Players are the best, B-list Players are average, and C-list Players are below-average.

LinkedIn's Recruiter platform response rate

Recruiters are usually assessed by the quality of candidates they recruit, but also the response rate of the candidates they contact. Typically, below 13% is bad. 15-20% is average. 30% is above average.

The higher the recruiter’s response rate, the stronger the recruiter’s compensation negotiation position.

You have career goals; so do recruiters.

Basic principles according to Hitch: Expert in Seduction: No recruiter wakes up saying “God I hope I fail at my job and get fired!” They might:

  • Ignore your emails with ‘CV attached,’ or say
  • “They’re currently not hiring,” or say
  • “Thanks for applying, we’ll be in touch,” or
  • “I’m really busy right now. I’ll get back to you”

The recruiter is lying to you. Lying. What they are really saying is “I will not help you.” or “Try harder, stupid.” Of course the recruiter’s going to lie to you:

  • They’re busy and have aggressive performance objectives to reach, just like you do
  • They don’t know you and can’t solve everyone’s problems
  • They’re nice and don’t want to hurt your feelings

A ‘super recruiter’ is defined by Shane McCusker as a recruiter who easily makes 10x the placements because they are professional; they know when and how to pick up the telephone and talk to somebody. They know what to say and how to say it. They can uncover how likely a person is to leave their current job, and what other opportunities they presently have. They can identify the real A-list players and key decision-makers…

It’s about asking the right questions at the right time to get the correct information you need to be more persuasive.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: According to Legal Recruitment, “one of the hardest jobs within a company is recruiting and hiring the right people. Recruiting in tough economic times can be considerably harder than when times are good. In a downturn, the amount of resumes from C List candidates massively increases, whereas the amount of resumes from the A List will remain the same.”

Typically, in tough economic times, both the lowest performing (C list) and the highest paid (A list) tend to be at the greatest risk of losing their job.]

“Top talent are the top 10% of your workforce. They work harder, they work smarter, and they make their leaders look good. They make you look good.

The problem is that 46% of all new hires turn out to be mis-hires within 18 months.”
David Patterson, SAP Recruiter

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In my interview with Derek Sivers, he says you have to make your own success first, before you ask the industry for help. You have to show that you’re going to be successful with or without their help. Show that you have momentum, and if they want to accelerate it or amplify it they can, but it will cost them to ride your coat-tails.

If you don’t do this, then even in the best-case scenario, where someone at the company really believes in you, you’ll have no negotiating leverage, and will get the worst deal possible. If you’re just starting out, don’t ask the industry for help yet.

Make something happen by yourself first, so you have a success story to tell and momentum to show.]

Your competitive advantage lies in your knowing how to find information and opportunities others cannot.

Intelligent recruiters separate the tasks of:

  • Sourcing is the process of identifying and talent mapping potential candidates for a role. This involves creating a pool of potential candidates of varying degrees of skill sets, experience, education and personality profile (A-list and B-list). (See below)
  • Assessing is the process of creating an ordered hierarchy of those candidates you have sourced, generally from most qualified to least qualified (From A-list first to B-list last).

Facebook and other social media sites are great places to source and assess the personality profile of candidates. LinkedIn is a great place to source and assess the professional profile of those candidates. When sourcing candidates, recruiters should exploit all social media websites to build a quality talent map.

Online, recruiters use a basic 2-step recruitment approach:

  1. Text rich profiles. Begin people searching using keyword rich queries first to talent map the ambitious, highly-competitive professionals who know how the online recruiting game is played, and thus likely come with a high price tag.
  2. Text poor profiles. Next, use keyword poor queries to find lesser known yet equally qualified professionals who probably don’t get contacted and recruited as often. In this search you strategically exclude the obvious keywords to find hidden professionals who are equally qualified for the job, but aren’t ‘playing the online recruitment game.’

Candidate assessment


Depending on the company, the industry, the job, the environment, the economic situation, the budget, the time of year, the direct supervisor… recruiters may be looking for:

  • A-list employees are among the top 10% high-potential, high-performing talents and leaders who are priceless, highly-productive assets (as much as 3x more productive than their B-list colleagues) to their current employer. It would be devastating to their employer were they to leave.
  • B-list employees are the average to slightly above-average talent who contribute to the company. They can be a great asset if put in the right environment and under the right leadership, and it would be unfortunate to see them leave, but they can be replaced relatively easy; especially if the company has a deep talent pipeline.
  • C-list employees are the below-average performers who comprise the majority of the workforce. They cost their employer more than they are paid.
  • The ‘perfect’ employee, or a unicorn employee, could be a professional “who possesses a unique set of qualities that make them extremely rare and valuable. They are hard to find, but once hired, they offer up enormous benefits in the workplace.”
  • The ‘potential’ employee would include current employees or potential recruits who could quickly fill critical roles within the company should they become vacant. Human Resources refers to this as a talent pipeline or talent pool.
  • The ‘right’ employee could be a professional who fits with the company, team, and client-base, whether or not they are properly ‘qualified’ and fully autonomous.
  • A ‘good’ employee could be a professional who has sufficient experience to do the job, even though they may require training and time to integrate into their new role.
  • An ‘exotic’ employee could be professionals with a diverse, non-linear experience. This employee’s fresh perspective could be innovative and disruptive.
  • An ‘expatriated’ employee could be professionals who have left their home country to live/work in a foreign country. Their multi-cultural background could lead to new markets and a deeper relationship with existing markets. ‘Brain drain,’ or human capital flight, happens when highly-qualified professionals receive training and experience in their home country, only to be seduced by another country to live and work.
  • A ‘cheap’ employee could be new to inexperienced professionals who have enough experience to be sufficiently autonomous, but can be paid at the lower end of the pay grade. A ‘cheap’ employee could also be a temporary replacement during a company transition.
  • A ‘temporary’ replacement could be a professional willing to fill someone’s role during a company transition or while the employee is on a leave of absence.

Find talent

Now that we have a basic idea of how recruiters assess candidates, let’s look at how they search to find the ‘best’ candidate fit for their circumstances.


Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and future versions of leading online businesses will continually make accessing people and information as easy as possible.

For these online business leaders, the easier it is for users to put information online and to search, the more money they can expect to make.

For Human Resources, talent mapping is a “technique that identifies and charts individuals’ skills and abilities, assesses their performance and potential, and matches them with workforce planning strategies to balance an organization’s talent and needs. Talent mapping enables an organization to determine hiring strategies: including internal promotions, likely short- and long-term hiring needs, and development of existing talent to meet future staffing needs.”

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Workforce planning is “the process of ensuring an organisation has current and future access to the human capital it needs to perform effectively. Workplace planning involves identifying current and future personnel needs and exploring the most appropriate and cost-effective methods to recruit and retain these individuals. There is also an element of continual analysis of workforce effectiveness and implementing the necessary measures, such as learning and development initiatives, to ensure the workforce remains efficient.”

Workforce Planning Flowchart: Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resources Mgmt Practice (13th Edition); Pg 218-221
Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resources Mgmt Practice (13th Edition); Pg 218-221

Workforce planning flowchart explanations taken from Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resources Management Practice (13th Edition); Pg 218-221:

  1. Business plan. “Business plan provides basis for workforce planning insofar as intentions of and scale of those activities.”
  2. Forecast of activity levels. “Future activity levels flow from the business plan, which will have implications for the demand for talent.”
  3. Scenario planning. “Assessment/prediction of environmental changes that may have to be dealt with in the future.” (Ex. PESTLE approach)
  4. Data collection using qualitative internal and external data and quantitative internal and external data
  5. Analysis of all previous information brought together as foundation for demand & supply forecasts.
  6. Demand forecast. “Estimating future workforce plus skills & competencies via (crude) managerial judgment, ratio-trend analysis…”
  7. Supply forecast. Identify internal & external workforce available + their skills, competencies & potential. Likewise potential losses
  8. Future forecast. Use demand & supply forecast to identify deficits & surpluses in workforce, skills & competencies
  9. Action planning. “Short & flexible planning options about workforce requirements in times of rapid change”
  10. Implement. Challenge of implementing flexible approach with quick responses & feedback to cope with unforeseeable changes.
  11. Monitor & evaluate. “Utilize feedback, monitor progress carefully, evaluate effects and, as required, amend action plan.”]

It can take months or years to talent map your city of 100,000+ relevant professionals. The trick is to slowly and deliberately map by combining exclusion searching with asking the right questions (discussed below).

If your searches repeatedly cover the same jobs or profiles, chances are you’re missing out on great opportunities.

Depending on the job and industry, most recruiters tend to rely on the popular professional platforms such as LinkedIn and job boards, and avoid social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, however consumer behavior has been trending in precisely the opposite direction: Facebook, Whats App, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have been increasing in terms of monthly active users. LinkedIn is actually at the lower end of active users.

Why are recruiters looking for candidates in the location that ranks among the least active monthly users?

To understand how recruiters find and attract the right people, you must first understand why people choose to use certain social media platforms, and why they choose to write certain things on their CV, and why they even create online profiles – and why many leave their profiles incomplete in the first place.

The average person joins LinkedIn not to find a job, but for networking and because of fear of missing out (FOMO).

But 85% of those on LinkedIn are ‘open to new opportunities’ if presented with one.

Because the average person prefers to network professionally rather than ‘find a job,’ instead of treating their profile like an online, searchable CV, they usually put the bare minimum information about themselves as possible.

For average recruiters, online recruiting is a disaster. For intelligent recruiters, online recruiting is an extreme competitive advantage!

Some important takeaways from a 2014 Linkedin Trends Survey involving 18,000 professionals from 26 countries:

  • 85% are open to being contacted with networking and recruitment opportunities, even though they don’t expressly use LinkedIn to be recruited
  • 80% of passive, periodic users are satisfied with their job, meaning they’re likely not actively seeking employment and are only interested in networking
  • 48% of active users are dissatisfied with their job, therefore especially open to being contacted by recruiters
  • The important reasons professionals consider a new job are:
    • Greater opportunities for advancement
    • Better compensation & benefits
    • More challenging work & learning opportunities
    • Better fit for skill set
  • 56% are concerned about a company’s reputation as a great place to work
  • To stay on top of their careers:
    • 47% rely on professional networking
    • 46% keep their CV & online profiles up to date
    • 44% research ways to update skills and improve career path
    • 40% research companies that interest them
    • 25% considered starting their own business or going freelance

Linkedin’s Recruiter tool offers recruiters several notable features job seekers should be aware of:

  • Total candidates show how many profiles match the recruiter’s search criteria based on keywords, location, education…
  • Candidates likely to respond to you based on their past messaging history and engagement enables the recruiter to focus on profiles that offer the greatest ROI. Recall from above that recruiters are evaluated on response rate.
  • Candidates open to new opportunities based on whether or not they stated they’re “open to hearing from recruiters.” Recruiters may likely begin with these profiles because they offer the greatest ROI. Therefore job seekers should ensure their profile is up-to-date.
  • Past candidates who’ve already applied to other job announcements, who are following the recruiter on LinkedIn, or who have publicly engaged with the recruiter’s posts and updates.
Screenshot taken from LinkedIn Recruiter’s tool in 2018

Candidate saving & assessment options:

  • Candidates are ranked from most relevant to least relevant, with 25 candidates per page. Within two clicks recruiters can ‘clipboard’ the entire page of prospects. This is why job seekers must know precisely what they want and how recruiters search, and then being ranked among the first 25-50 ‘most-relevant’ candidates according to the recruiter’s search string to increase visibility.
  • Within four clicks recruiters can send a pre-written message to all potential candidates. The better the message template, the better the candidate response rate. (See below for recruiter templates)
  • Recruiters can further filter candidates based on those who:
    • Were contacted
    • Haven’t yet been contacted
    • Have replied with interest
    • Have replied and declined
    • Should be saved for future offers
    • Should be interviewed
    • Should not be contacted
    • Should not be offered the job
    • Should never be considered as a future applicant

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 77: Attracting and selecting the best candidatesArmin Trost further points out that in terms of employment, people move in and out of three categories:

  1. Actively-seeking – desperately wanting to find a (new) job
  2. Passively-seeking – already employed and not actively seeking but open to opportunities that are presented to them
  3. Non-seeking – are happy with current situation

Institutions are required to be active because the most talented, well-qualified and motivated job candidates are rather passive in the sense that he or she isn’t attending career fairs, browsing job ads, or actively looking for a job.

Of course every human connection is useful, but recall that the candidates you want aren’t actively seeking a new job. Therefore for your company, the ROI of career fairs where you pay to set up a booth, display job positions, collect CVs and even conduct on-the-spot interviews is more in public relations and brand exposure than actually finding qualified candidates.]

You may run a highly-targeted people search yet miss out on 80% of the people you were looking for.

Until you understand the reasons why people use LinkedIn, you won’t be able to understand why people write what they write in their profile. As a recruiter, if you’re searching for a particular professional with a certain set of skills, you can search all you want, but because the professional isn’t using your keywords, you’ll never find them.

Highly-qualified professionals in highly-sought after industries in particular often intentionally hide to avoid being constantly contacted by recruiters.

Some people – accidentally or intentionally – misspell important keywords. For example, in my professional network alone:

  • 97,000 people have misspelled ‘internship’ as ‘intership
  • 59,000 people have misspelled ‘chief’ as ‘cheif
  • 2,000 people are ‘loking‘ for a job or internship
  • 292,000 people use the ‘MFG‘ abbreviation for ‘manufacturing’
  • 516,000 people use ‘SW‘ as an abbreviation for ‘software’

The ‘right’ talent doesn’t always use the right keywords, and they won’t always use the job titles you think they should.

The Iceberg metaphor applied to online search results

As a job seeker, it’s likely you’ll never discover 65% of the incredible opportunities and networks online because you’re asking the wrong question and/or you’re sorting your search results according to ‘most qualified’ to ‘least qualified’.

According to Glenn Cathey, Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition and author of the Boolean Black Belt blog, having more data than all of your competitors gives you an advantage, but the greatest advantage you can have over others comes from your ability to know how to ask the right questions. The internet enables you to sift through unlimited amounts of information and give you precisely what you’d like to know. You just need to know how to think creatively, think critically, and ask the right question.

Most people don’t ask very sophisticated questions. Most people don’t even ask the right question.

What are you doing that other people are not? The most common answer to this question is “Nothing.” Meaning you’ve no competitive advantage. You’re using the same resources and doing the same things as everyone else, however somehow expecting to be seen as meaningfully different.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: A few relevant quotes I’ve found across the internet:

“There is no one-size-fits-all template for a resume (CV) that will guarantee a job interview or offer. But there is one major message that every resume should illustrate: ‘This is how I made things better for my employers.’
CNBC.com |How to write a perfect CV by Gary Burnison

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

“In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”
Chester L. Karrass

“You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you take.”
Peaky Blinders S5E3: Lizzie Stark & Linda Shelby]

People search is the most common reason professionals use LinkedIn. So wouldn’t you want to be good at it? As a job seeker, wouldn’t you actually want to be found before your competitors?

With job announcements, recruiters cannot control who applies. They may want a specific profile, but instead receive hundreds of other, less desirable profiles, costing them time and money. A well designed people profile search, however, controls which profiles appear; saving them time and money.

Intelligent people searching tactics can be a more time efficient and cost effective way of building a database of desirable profiles.

Below is a list of online search strategies recruiters use to source quality candidates. Copy/Paste the search queries below into LinkedIn and Google for yourself and see if you appear among the first 50 profiles:


1. Explicit Search involves searching for exact phrases and keywords. This style is the the easiest and therefore most commonly used technique.

Mexican restaurant near me

…launches Google maps and uncovers popular restaurants in your proximity.

Web Developer New York City

…uncovers billions of pages, jobs posts and blog posts on web development (mostly irrelevant). So you’ll have to be more strategic with how you search.

Because Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keyword searches are so easy to use and commonly understood by job seekers, and because keyword searches can uncover enough qualified candidates to recruit, over the short-term they offer the greatest return on investment (ROI). It is for this reason keyword searching is how many recruiters spend most of their time, at least as a starting point before narrowing down using probabilistic searches (covered here).

If you use the same search query as everyone else, you’ll get the same results as everyone else, which leads to heavy competition, which leads to a price war.

Recruiters may filter candidates by:

  • City search, such as web developers residing in Paris, France
  • Proximity search, such as all web developers residing in Paris area, France AND suburbs (within a 56km radius of Paris)
Recruiter’s PerspectiveJob Seeker’s Perspective
For temporary recruits and low-level jobs, or when faced with time and budget constraints, recruiters can quickly and cheaply source basic candidates for low-level jobs.Job seekers residing too far outside of Paris should consider updating their physical location to Paris to ensure they aren’t excluded from a city search.

On the other hand, job seekers living in between Paris, Chartres, Dreux and Évreux however willing to work in any city may prefer listing their actual location to ensure they aren’t excluded from all cities.

2. Implicit Search involves avoiding profiles which use the most popular keywords to uncover other qualified, lesser known professionals. This can be done by actively excluding popular keywords.

web developer Paris -coach -professeur -enseignant

…should uncover web developers in Paris who do not refer to themselves as a ‘coach,’ ‘professor,’ or ‘teacher.’

You could also search for local companies who employ professionals who have the keywords ‘accountant’ AND ‘SAP’ anywhere in their profile. Having identified companies who use SAP software, you can now narrow your search to all employees who work for those targeted companies. If Company X uses SAP software, and John is an accountant for Company X; then by default accountant John must have experience with SAP software.

site:linkedin.com ("accountant" OR "comptable" OR "contadora" OR "contadora" OR "buchhalter" OR "buchhalter") Paris -job -jobs

…uncovers Paris-based male and female accountants in English, French, Spanish, and German, respectively; according to Google translate.

(seeking OR seeker OR "looking for" OR "in search of" OR "open to" OR "new job" OR "actively pursuing" OR "new opportunity" OR "new opportunities" OR "available for")

…uncovers professionals who have directly expressed interest in being contacted for employment opportunities using one of the terms in the query.

Recall that professionals fall into one of three categories:

  1. Actively-seeking – those desperately wanting to find a (new) job, and who may not be the candidates you want to attract
  2. Passively-seeking – those already employed and not actively seeking but open to opportunities that are presented to them. Those talented, well-qualified and motivated job candidates you want to find but who aren’t actively looking for a job
  3. Non-seeking – are happy with current situation
Recruiter’s PerspectiveJob Seeker’s Perspective
Top candidates frequently contacted by recruiters will quickly ignore long emails that don’t demonstrate relevance to their career goals, so recruiters must be brief and know their target audiences’ problems and pains to get a response.Despite role similarities, job titles may be unique to each company: Chief Happiness Officer, Chief Heart Officer, Chief, Inclusion Officer, Chief Fun Officer… these unpopular keywords will exclude you from recruiter job title for popular keyword searches.

Employers may strategically create unpopular job titles to protect their employees from recruiters. Therefore job seekers should prioritize keywords over ‘official’ job titles.

3. Natural Language/Semantic Search involves searching for exact phrases and keywords people would use in normal conversation.

In written form, professionals may say “I enjoy designing websites”, “I design web sites, “I’ve coded websites”, or “I create sites”. With this knowledge, you can now use a mutually inclusive search:

("designing websites" OR "designed websites" OR "design websites" OR "code websites" OR "coded websites" OR "create sites" OR "created websites")

…uncovers profiles with the same responsibility but explain it using different verb tenses and keywords.

("website" OR "websites" OR "site") (design OR code OR create) 

…uncovers an even wider range of web designer profiles.

The problem now becomes distinguishing qualified professionals from the unqualified who know how to use keywords to beat the applicant tracking system you’re using to recruit.

And as with the explicit search, if you’re using the same keywords as everyone else, you’ll get the same results as everyone else, which leads to heavy competition, which leads to a price war.

Recruiter’s PerspectiveJob Seeker’s Perspective
Each hierarchy and role have their own common vocabulary. Most job descriptions involve nouns and verbs (in the present or past tense).

Line managers typically use verbs such as ‘manage’ or ‘coordinate’ while C suite executives ‘oversee’ or ‘lead’.

Using the right verb can exclude unqualified profiles.
For professionals looking to upgrade from middle-management to executive, your professional network, your choice of words, the type of accomplishments you’ve attained and how you describe your objectives in the context of the company is crucial to making the jump.

4. Indirect Search involves searching criteria that are not directly related to a professional’s background, however is indirectly connected, and requires deductive reasoning.

For example:

("Stanford University" OR "University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)" OR "Northwestern University (Kellogg)" OR "University of Chicago (Booth)" OR "Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)" OR "Harvard University") Graduate 

…uncovers MBA alumni from the top 6 business schools in the US in 2020, according to US News Education, which you can then use to identify the current employer of those recent graduates with less than 2 years experience. Knowing some companies favor graduates from ‘top business schools,’ you could then target the alumni’s colleagues who aren’t from a ‘top school’ and offer them promotion opportunities they perhaps wouldn’t receive in their current position.

("NuStream Marketing" OR "Colormatics" OR "Glue Advertising" OR "Vivial" OR "Adaptly" OR "Aumcore" OR "Avex Designs" OR "Bold Worldwide" OR "Boucher + Co.")

…uncovers professionals who are working, or who have worked at one of the top 10 advertising agencies in New York City in 2020, according to expertise.com. Creatives with 3 years experience and no promotional opportunities in sight may be prime to bring their reputation and expertise to your smaller agency.

Maximum inclusion

By searching with the top 100 female names in the US born in the 1980s, you would uncover female professional executives currently in their late 30s- mid-40s with well over 10 years experience, according to the US Social Security Administration.

5. Maximum Inclusion involves combining as many criteria as possible to gather as many potential candidates as possible. Because there are so many ways to explain and define something, you won’t be able to type in one search request and receive every possible combination. The idea is to start large and then narrow your search as you identify patterns.

For example there are many ways of describing the title and roles of a sales person, therefore recruiters need to include as many of those keywords as they can, so:

("sales manager" OR "sales specialist" OR "sales rep")

…would result in a list of profiles who work in sales containing the keyword combinations.

Analyst (business OR system OR systems)

would result in a list of profiles containing the keywords “business analyst”, “system analyst”, or “systems analyst.”

Recruiter’s PerspectiveJob Seeker’s Perspective
As previously mentioned, recruiters are very busy and often working under deadline and with limited budget, so they may be required to choose from a candidate pool of the most easily accessible. The more candidate pools you can get yourself into, and the higher you can rank in those pools, the more recruiters you’re likely to meet. Getting noticed by recruiters is not about you, it’s about the recruiter. You need to step into their shoes, predict what they would search for, and then strategically place yourself in their path. This requires emotional intelligence.

This is particularly true if you’ve not yet reached the point where recruiters are regularly contacting you.

6. Iterative Search builds upon the previous search strategies, and involves using a learn-as-you-go process to understand the diverse words and expressions professionals use to describe their job and industry. Because there are so many different ways to define and explain something, you may need to conduct multiple searches, starting with a vague, universal keyword to identify the most commonly used keywords to narrow down your search.

For example, if you’re looking for a professional with ‘cloud’ experience, you could start by searching:

site:linkedin.com IT cloud

… to uncover IT professionals who refer to cloud strategy, cloud reference architecture, cloud oriented architecture, cloud service, hybrid cloud solutions, cross-cloud development, cloud foundry, cloud taxonomies (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, STaaS), vCloud…

With these keyword combinations, you can further hone your search:

("cloud" OR "cross-cloud" OR "vcloud" OR "hybrid cloud")(strategy OR architecture OR development OR foundry or taxonomies)

7. Probabilistic Search (progression) involves identifying the relationship between various profiles; starting with a perfect ‘unicorn’ profile and strategically removing keywords and working backwards until you find “near unicorn” level profiles. For example, job descriptions usually include a list of ‘required’ and ‘desired’ skills. So a recruiter may be searching for:

  • a French or fluent French-speaking accountant
  • AND with mastery in Excel
  • AND with working experience in insurance
  • AND at one of the top 5 accounting firms
  • AND residing in New York City area

Or in search terms:

(Français OR French)(Microsoft Office Pack OR Excel OR XLS OR Spreadsheet OR Spreadsheets OR tableur or tableau)("Big 5" OR "Big 4" OR " Accenture" OR "Deloitte" OR "Ernst" OR "E&Y" OR Pwc OR "Price Waterhouse" OR "KPMG") insurance (Tomcat OR Weblogic OR SQL)(process OR processes)(NYC OR "New York City" OR Jersey)

This ‘unicorn’ profile may not uncover any relevant profiles, however it becomes a good starting point to work backwards from. From here you could:

  • Broaden your search to the top 10 companies
  • Broaden your location to include the US and Canada
  • Exclude particular experience attributes

The below query search excludes profiles with experience in insurance (indicated by the NOT operator “-“):

(Français OR French) (Microsoft Office Pack OR Excel OR XLS OR Spreadsheet OR Spreadsheets)("Big 5" OR "Big 4" OR " Accenture" OR "Deloitte" OR "Ernst" OR "E&Y" OR Pwc OR "Price Waterhouse" OR "KPMG") -insurance (Tomcat OR Weblogic OR SQL)(process OR processes)

It is also likely your ‘unicorn’ profile exists, they just didn’t pout all of the keywords on their CV – intentionally or accidentally. Which means finding them requires patience.

Alternatively, knowing that many highly-qualified professionals don’t place all the keywords on their profile, you could try a reverse probabilistic search progression by starting from the least qualified and working your way toward your ‘unicorn’ profile.

Social graph

Because lazy or time and budget constrained recruiters rarely start from the bottom of the pile, doing so could uncover highly-qualified, yet invisible professionals.

8. Social Graph searching involves identifying professionals based on those they know and associate with. This can be more efficient on social sites like Facebook. Assuming high-quality professionals surround themselves with other high-quality professionals:

  • You could search friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends. In LinkedIn terminology (1st connections, 2nd connections, 3rd connections…)
  • You can browse a person’s ‘liked’ posts, ‘shared’ posts, and posts ‘commented on’ to learn more about what their interests are and who they choose to connect with and follow
  • Facebook users may be more likely to connect with fellow university graduates than LinkedIn users. In fact, with Facebook you may even be able to identify a person’s living address by identifying their neighbors’ social profiles, or even the landlord they are paying their rent to
  • Facebook can show you which profiles attended particular events, which coffee shops a person frequents, where they have been based on photos they’ve been tagged or mentioned in
  • LinkedIn is designed around career advice and content. Facebook is designed around social life and hobbies; an equally relevant part of a job candidate’s professional profile
  • LinkedIn can uncover candidates who have ‘worked with’ Photoshop or InDesign. Facebook can uncover candidates who ‘like’ Photoshop or InDesign.

So a recruiter could begin by assessing professionals on Facebook, and then find and approach them on LinkedIn or through their website.

Be careful though, as many people incorrectly believe information they share on ‘Facebook’ as private, even though the information they share is free and available to the world.

Recruiter’s PerspectiveJob Seeker’s Perspective
Recruiters assume you’re presenting your best version of yourself during the recruiting process, so may rely on online searches to create a more accurate image of you.

Just because a recruiter doesn’t disclose they uncovered information about you online doesn’t mean they didn’t. Assume they’ve already seen all of your online profiles, and so be intelligent in what you do online.
As explained by Daphné Claude, The idea of ‘off the record’ doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone.

Why post something online if you don’t want others to find it? You either don’t say anything or you say it.

Offline recruitment

Offline recruitment strategies

The purpose of online search is about spotting opportunities to have conversations with people, and especially with people you never would have otherwise met.

Most recruiters spend their time in front of a computer building and searching databases of candidates. Sometimes, offline professional networking events can be the best way to meet and get recommendations for top talent because top talent tend to know and associate with other top talent, particularly offline where human interaction is more sincere.

For example, IT specialists work alongside other IT specialists, but they also interface with many different departments within the company. In fact, as complicated as IT can be, if non-technically savvy professionals speak highly of and recommend an IT colleague, that’s the sign of a versatile, patient IT professional.

Get visibility

Knowing what you now know about online search capabilities, you should be able to strategically choose your offline social events.


[JOSHUA’S NOTE: It’s important to note that although applying for jobs online is important, there is a difference between working hard and working smart.

According to Business Insider:

  • “As much as 80% of jobs are not advertised, and are filled through professional networking.
  • Referrals make up 40% of new hires, yet only 7% of job applicants get a referral from a person already working within the hiring company.
  • Most people spend 70% or 80% of their time surfing the net looking for employment.”]

According to The Google Résumé by Gayle McDowell, some ‘ideal’ entry-level credibility markers to include on your CV & professional profile that give you a competitive advantage include:

  • From childhood, mastering relevant extracurricular activities that build your skillsets, responsibility, network and maturity such as self-defense, a musical instrument, team sports…
  • Also from childhood, access to a network of senior professionals and mentors to expose you to intensive, one-on-one counseling that develops your thinking and decision-making processes, communication and negotiation strategies. Later in life this network of top performers opens you up to scholarships (free money) and internship and job opportunities you may not have otherwise known existed and qualified for
  • Throughout high school, successful completion of several large projects, thus setting you up early to be more experienced and responsible than your classmates
  • Also during high school, relevant entry-level job upon reaching the minimum working age (For the US: minimum 16 years old. For the UK: 13 for part-time and 16 for full-time. For France: 18 years old), further compounding your experience, technical credibility, maturity, professional network, and financial independence

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: As discussed in Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez the 2 imperatives to success are ‘Who you know’ and ‘What you know.’ Five critical takeaways from this section include:

  • ‘Knowing’ ‘quality’ versus ‘quantity. In this highly competitive, globalized world, you will always be in competition with professionals much more competent than you. In order to stand out from the average professional and be respected, you need to narrow and deepen your expertise and become respected in your field
  • Your ability to sell and negotiate: to get strangers to trust you enough to open up about their personal needs & wants, and then accept your solution and give you what you want for it. Without sales, negotiation & persuasion, all your other tools are essentially useless
  • “Your network is your net worth…Your net worth is the average net worth of the five people you spend the most of your time with.”
    – Tai Lopez
  • Stop giving your time away to people who aren’t offering you anything in return. Yes, people have ups and downs, and you should treat others as you’d like to be treated, but surrounding yourself with people to take and take and drain your energy and resources is not putting yourself in a position to strengthen yourself, which is imperative if you are going to be able to help others.
  • Spend as much time as you possibly can in-person with professionals who are 20 years ahead of where you are in your career right now. Aim to have at least 15 of these people in your close contact list.]

Career step

Assuming you and your parents haven’t had the luck and foresight to carefully construct your ‘unicorn’, A-list professional experience since birth, you’ll be working with certain limitations and weaknesses that will need to be improved, explained away, or avoided.

2. Identify your realistic but ambitious next career step:

Are you seeking to negotiate a raise and more responsibility in your current role or a promotion with more compensation? With your current employer or a new one?

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 189: Conducting effective negotiations when you HAVE TO have the deal, Lesson 224. How to negotiate when you’re the weaker party and Lesson 169. How to better negotiate your job offer and compensation package that you should never put yourself in a position where you ‘have to’ have the deal because it gives you no leverage; no negotiation strength. Before making any requests or demands, always make sure you have several fall back options available to you, so if the other party refuses to work with you or gives you an ultimatum, you can afford to leave.]

The next section shows you step-by-step how to attract recruiters.

Target jobs

A. Collect several target job descriptions

The best way to not ‘have to’ accept your employer’s refusal to negotiate with you is by having other job offers. Popular job search websites include Google Jobs, Facebook, Linkedin Jobs, Jobs R Mine, Neuvoo, Jobilize, Super Jobs, Indeed, Monster.

Critical keywords

B. Sift through your target job descriptions and remove all irrelevant words, leaving a list of ONLY relevant and imperative keywords

On the back-end, most applicant tracking systems (ATS) are designed to scrape all readable text from of your CV and cover letter and compare the relevance of that text to the target job description. Advanced ATS can factor in:

  • Number of keywords matches. The more keywords your CV and cover letter contain relative to the job description, the higher your ranking
  • Keyword density. The more relevant keywords, and the less irrelevant words on your CV and cover letter, the higher your ranking
  • Measurable results. The more numbers (50,000€, 20%…) you use on your CV, the higher your ranking
  • Job title match. The more similar your prior job titles relative to the job description, the higher your ranking
  • External links. The more links to your LinkedIn profile, your portfolio, email address, your employer’s website, the higher your ranking
  • Readability. Appropriate use of bold and italics to increase readability increases your ranking
  • Personality. The more ‘optimistic’ and ‘positive’ your word choice, the higher your ranking
Screenshot of Jobscan.co homepage – 9 June 2020

Popular CV scanners such as Jobscan.co, Carmen and Resumeble offer basic analysis of your CV and compare it to your target job descriptions to give you an idea of how high you would rank were you to apply for the job. With your current job relevance rating established, you can now begin optimizing your CV.

A real world example would be:

Original target job description (340 total words)
Senior Manager, HR Business PartnerNew York City
Job Poster: Elliott Scott HR

A fast-growing Consumer Tech firm is hiring a Senior Manager, HR Business Partner to lead their people department. If you have an ambitious outlook, a passion for innovation, and unique personal brand, this could be the next opportunity for you!
Dynamic, global organization
Strategic, consultative role

In this role, you will use your HR expertise to proactively partner with business stakeholders and provide strategic consultation in the implementation of HR programs and initiatives. You will guide and support the division through business expansion, focusing on employee relations, employee engagement, compliance, workforce planning, recruitment, benefits & compensation, leadership development and other talent management processes.

We are looking for someone with a strong, business partnering background who has worked in fast-paced, high-growth tech organisations. Experience with tech start-up organizations and strength in data and analytics will be viewed most favorably. A high level of business acumen and agility is also required; excellent communication skills and a proactive attitude is a must. The successful candidate with have the depth of HR experience needed to better serve the business and at the same time, be willing to roll up their sleeves in order to do the operational and implementation aspects of the role. In addition, we are also looking for:
• A minimum of 6-8 years’ business partnering experience
• A Bachelor’s degree
Master’s degree in HR or relevant HR certifications is preferred
Comprehensive experience leading a small to mid-sized team
• Previous experience working in a regional scope
Exceptional change management and interpersonal skills

For further details please contact —— on —–@———.com. Job Code ——
Bundled inside this job description…

There are 58 relevant keywords :
fast-growing, people department, ambitious outlook, passion for innovation, unique personal brand, strategic, consultative role, provide, implementation, initiatives, guide and support, business expansion, employee relations, employee engagement, strong, fast-paced, tech start-up organizations, high level, agility, excellent, proactive attitude, depth of HR experience, serve the business, roll up their sleeves, relevant, comprehensive experience, regional scope, exceptional

and 60 imperative keywords :
Senior Manager, HR Business Partner, New York City, Consumer Tech, leading, Dynamic, global organization, expertise, business stakeholders, strategic consultation, HR programs, compliance, workforce planning, recruitment, benefits & compensation, leadership development, talent management processes, high-growth tech organisations, data and analytics, business acumen, communication, operational, implementation aspects, 6-8 years’ business partnering experience, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, HR certifications, small to mid-sized team, change management, interpersonal

To overcome the applicant tracking system and be offered a job interview, you’ll need to include as many of the above keywords in your CV and cover letter (in context; discussed later) as possible.
Job description taken from a Google Job Boards announcement on 1 May 2020

A real world example would be:

Assess strengths

5. Assess your strengths, weaknesses and critical weaknesses

With your list of relevant and imperative keywords, you’re now able to assess your credentials for your target job.

Your hard and soft skills can be sorted into 3 basic categories:

  1. Your strengths that give you a competitive advantage over other candidates. Recall in Lesson 116. How to win without pitching and Lesson 188. How to build a career without burning bridges that you should be known and respected in your industry and professional network based on 5-7 relevant skills. Likewise, your strengths could also include benefits that make the recruiter’s job easier:
    • Having a double French/US nationality means you can legally and immediately start working in the US and Europe; an enormous advantage over foreigners requiring visas and expatriation
    • Being fully fluent in 3 key languages: English, Spanish and Arabic means you can communicate with the majority of professionals and could save on translation services
    • Being a 25 year old with a double masters in Engineering and IT and a CCNA license makes you largely more qualified than most other university graduates
    • Being well connected professionally means you can use your network to improve your employer’s reputation, find new clients and attract new recruits
    • Being an ‘influencer’ on a relevant social media platform means you can promote the employer and attract new business opportunities
  2. Your few weaknesses that slow down your productivity – and perhaps even your colleagues dislike about you, but don’t hinder you from doing your job. Nobody is perfect, and lifelong learning and improvement is imperative to remaining competitive. What matters is that your strengths are so great that others around you are willing to tolerate your weaknesses.

    Recall in Lesson 195. How to overcome weaknesses and Lesson 212. Why being ‘lucky’ is a crutch, and that you should be known for several key skill sets, and then diversity based on those strengths. Also, weaknesses you can either be overcome through hard work and dedication, or nullified based on the jobs you apply for:
    • Have you had 6 jobs in the last 9 years? Rather than use a chronological-based CV and apply to companies who would judge you as a weak employee, design a skills-based CV to highlight your expertise and accomplishments, and apply for startups and companies who value non-linear, exotic profiles
  3. Your critical weaknesses simply disqualify you from a job. They are job requirements that cannot be avoided, and the amount of time it would take to to improve them to an operational weakness could have been better invested turning weaknesses into strengths:
    • With an organized language learning method, it can take up to 2 years to reach full-professional fluency in a language, and up to 10 years to speak and write flawlessly. With the same 10 year investment, it would be more advantageous to speak 6 languages fluently than 2 languages perfectly.
    • Rather than move to the United States and seek employment and a visa, taking the risk of financial ruin and being arrested by immigration, finding employment with an international company in your home country and applying for transfer to the US after a few years would be a better investment in your time

Keywords accomplishments

A-list professionals build their reputation based upon strengths, minimize their weaknesses and avoid their critical weaknesses.

6. Build your CV around keywords & accomplishments

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Credibility markers are evidence that you are an A-list professional. They appear in every form of communication you send into the world – verbally and non-verbally. 8 professional credibility markers include:

A-list credibility markersHow & why you display it
Your level of expertiseAre you a 2nd year university student seeking a 3 month internship? A certified IT expert open to new projects?

Recruiters tend to compare what they think they need with what you claim to offer, and when your level of expertise is not evident, recruiters use their own judgment and are more likely to assume you’re not experienced enough, and disqualify you.

Therefore your level of experience must be immediate and obvious to the person you’re trying to persuade.
SEO Keyword OptimizedKeywords are explained in detail above, and it also demonstrates your level of expertise. Understanding the keywords and being able to competently speak on them is an indication of expertise.

And because applicant tracking systems are usually your first barrier to entry, keywords determine whether the system ranks you among the top 10% most qualified.

How can you claim to be experienced if you can’t confidently speak on your subject matter with your target audience?

For more, refer to Lesson 229. Becoming a strategic advisor to your clients.
Your target audienceWhat industries or companies do you want to work in? Who are the gate keepers; the key decision-makers who have the authority to give you what you want? What is your relationship with these key decision-makers, and how can you improve it?

Critical job seeking gate keepers:
– The applicant tracking system analyzing your CV.
– The HR recruiter who usually makes the final hiring decision.
– The direct superior who can use their influence and negotiate in your favor.
– Your professional network who can sell you to the gate keepers above…
How you help your target audienceOnce you understand who your target audience is, you can now assess the pains and problems they have that you can solve for them.

Why should they hire you over the other qualified candidates?

In addition to keywords (above) your CV must be an itemized list of how well you’ve solved their problems for previous employers.

How thoroughly you make your target audience’s live easier is typically a strong indication of your level of expertise.

HR recruiters will likely not have an intimate knowledge of the keywords nor software used in the job. Their primary concern is hiring quality candidates and maintaining low employee turnover so they can negotiate higher compensation packages and career opportunities for themselves.

Your direct hiring manager will likely have intimate knowledge of the job and technical keywords and software used.

Your team of colleagues will have intimate knowledge of the technical vocabulary, software used, and a vested interest in hiring someone who fits in well with the team.
How your target audience benefitsHow convincingly you demonstrate your benefits is yet another strong indication of your level of expertise.

Showing how you help your target audience is the minimum to being identified as an B-list.

A-list professionals combine their previous achievements, case stories, and storytelling to reassure the gate keeper hiring you is an intelligent hiring investment.
Concise & memorableThis is where your storytelling really comes in. A boring list of facts, numbers and accomplishments may get you a telephone screening and even a face-to-face interview, but you will not stand out and be remembered positively.

In fact, an unremarkable personality can even damage your credibility. Especially when you’re in competition with 100 of other qualified professionals.
Call-to-actionBy telling your target audience precisely what you want and how to contact you – your goal, you leave no doubt in their mind whether or not you’re open to being headhunted.

University students should make your objectives clear and transparent, both on your CV and on your LinkedIn headline. (discussed below)

Currently employed professionals likely won’t want your employer to know you’re looking for work, so your profile should highlight your achievements and hint at the unstated message of “I’m good at what I do, so feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more.”

Structure your CV as an outline for your job interview.

  • What do I want the decision-maker to think as they read my CV?
  • How do I want them to describe me to their colleagues?
  • What questions do I want them to ask me during the interview?

Your work experience must not be a simple list of job responsibilities copy/pasted from the job description directly onto your CV. It must be a list of accomplishments and how you helped improve your employer’s competitive advantage, advantages the recruiter believes you can also provide for them. Include as many quantifiable credibility markers as you can fit into your CV. For example (The following examples are taken from Katie Simon’s and Ramit Sethi’s graduate CVs):

A blend of hard and soft skills for your professional experience section (The following examples are taken from Katie Simon’s graduate CV). Count how many of 7 A-list credibility markers (listed above) she incorporated:

Bullet points = ‘How I improve my employer’s competitive advantage’ points.

Job description on CVHow HR would describe you
– Created advanced Excel formulas (VLOOKUP, pivot tables, IF statements)Analytical, specialized, competent, mathematical…
– Increased site traffic and conversion KPI’s by 35% with targeted SEO strategiesSEO-savvy, persuasive, effective communicator…
– Wrote and published 4 articles per week (twice employee average) totaling 45 posts, which have received 200K+ viewsTime efficient, self-starter, storyteller, independent, ambitious, SEO-savvy, good communicator…
– Trained colleagues in WordPress shortcuts to increase team productivityTrainer, coach, patient, independent, proactive, team player…
– Managed email marketing campaigns for 10K+ subscribersResponsible, effective writer…
– Increased Facebook following by 45% and Instagram engagement by 300%SEO-savvy, effective communicator, storyteller, strategic…
– Published 5 press releases which appeared in 6 industry leading websitesPersuasive, effective communicator, productive…
– Direct report to CMO and General ManagerResponsible, professional, reliable, ambitous, well-networked…

Each sentence on your CV should communicate multiple messages; collectively your CV should tell a range of stories about you.

Choose your job titles strategically. Some companies invent odd job titles as a way of ‘showing their company’s personality’ or by strategically lowering your ranking in applicant tracking systems so fewer companies find and recruit you.

Each job title is:

  • Familiar information. Most people are familiar with and understand the purpose of a graphic designer. Most people probably know at least one graphic designer.
  • New information about you. Your list of accomplishments, years experience, client base, and job responsibilities augment the job title and establish your level of effectiveness as a graphic designer.

A blend of hard and soft skills for your education section on your CV:

Education job descriptionHow HR would describe you
– Conducted in-depth research on social influence and persuasionAnalytical, specializing, persuasive, emotionally intelligent
– Interviewed CEOs and other leaders across industriesProfessional, well-networked, mature, diverse, good communicator…
– BA in Business Administration and minor in psychology.
– Coursework included social influence, entrepreneurship, negotiation, theology and copyright law. Projects available on my website
Philosophical, good people skills, persuasive, legally-minded, analytical, entrepreneurial and managerial skills…
– Internship in Small Business Management in Argentina.
– Coursework included entrepreneurship, Spanish and competitive intelligence
Culturally-aware, strategic, Spanish-speaking, analytical…
– Co-designed social media curriculum and created a 2 hour online training which has been viewed 15,000+ timesCoach, trainer, analytical, good presentation skills, effective communicator, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, innovative…

Each sentence on your CV should communicate multiple messages; collectively your CV should tell a range of stories about you.

Skills for your ‘projects,’ ‘hobbies’ or ‘additional information’ section:

More about me descriptionHow HR would describe you
– XYZ Scholarship recipient: Selected from over 1000 applicants to receive full funding (all educational expenses) until achievement of educational goalsWell-networked, hard-working, high-potential, high-performer, intelligent, debt-free, competitive…
– Member of Classics Challenge cycling group: Weekly solo and group rides of 100-211 kilometres per monthDedicated, athletic, perseverant, hard working, autonomous and team player…
– Expatriates in Paris member: Monthly social gatherings from 20+ culturesCulturally-diverse, friendly, sociable…

Each sentence on your CV should communicate multiple messages; collectively your CV should tell a range of stories about you.

But beware: keyword stuffing is “when someone attempts to manipulate their position in the search results by concentrating relevant keywords. Search engines can tell when keywords are abnormally distributed throughout the text or in a website’s meta tags. If the same keywords follow one another too closely, the search engine will downgrade the website and it will then appear lower down in search results.”

Personality storytelling

Your online profile & CV should balance keywords with your accomplishments in an entertaining storyline that reads the way humans naturally write.

7. Inject personality & storytelling into your CV

Computers like keywords and facts, and humans like stories. Your ability to fit all relevant keywords onto your CV and in a story form humans respond to is what will distinguish you from competitors. Remember: a list of facts, numbers and accomplishments appears boring, fake, will not stand out and be remembered, and may damage their estimation of your personality.

If a recruiter had 10 seconds to skim through your CV and then describe you in 2 sentences, what would they say about you?

Would you stand out from the 100+ other candidates?

Because you only have 1-2 pages maximum to summarize your entire life and added value, every word on your CV must serve a strategic purpose, and it must add value. Your CV should be so refined that were you to remove just one word, your entire CV would fall apart.

Because your CV is so short, it must be a living document: a portal linking to elsewhere on the internet so recruiters can click to learn more about you.

Including nonessential elements and mediocre achievements on your CV sends the message that you’ve nothing better to say about yourself.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Comedians, politicians, speakers; pretty much anyone who is able to entertain, inform and inspire others without relying on a PowerPoint or a flipchart are masters at story telling:

Great stories are language distilled into it’s most potent form.

You must walk the line between giving new information and augmenting information you’ve already given.

Favor simple sentences with emotional words and numbers. To see how these storytelling strategies are used to sell millions of Euros of rap records, check out Lesson 207. Critical Thinking: A Panoply Examining The Anatomy & Strategy of a Rap Beat Masterpiece.]

CV negotiation

Your CV as a compensation negotiation tool

A strategically crafted CV not only gets you to the top of the candidate pool to be interviewed, it positions you as an A-list candidate, which establishes your value and gives you a position of power when the time comes to negotiate your salary and compensation package.

ATS friendly

“Anybody can write about what they did. Very few can write about the results they achieved.” – Ramit Sethi

Choose an applicant tracking friendly CV template to build your keywords, accomplishments and story upon

Your CV is a combination of:

  • Content. The keywords, figures and narrative you use to describe your what you offer your potential employer
  • Form. The design, formatting and organization of your content to ensure all of your text is correctly displayed and readable to both applicant tracking software and human recruiters.

A-list candidates consistently contacted by recruiters have gotten of these elements correct. You could be the recruiter’s “ideal” candidate, but if your CV is incorrectly formatted, the applicant tracking system cannot read or understand it, and so recruiters never find you. Recruiter candidate search strategies are covered above.

“CVs need to be formatted in a particular way. Over 70% of CVs contain some formatting error when being put into an applicant tracking system… which means nobody is ever going to see those CVs.” – Preptel

Common applicant tracking system (ATS) formatting errors:

  1. ATS identify and analyze text. Images, graphs, scales and tables may not be included in the keyword analysis
  2. ATS read the main body. Text placed in header and footer sections may not be included in the keyword analysis
  3. ATS recognize traditional typography. Untraditional, custom-made and exotic typography may not be included in the keyword analysis, or may include useless characters
  4. ATS read text written directly on the document. Text placed in ‘text boxes’ on top of or behind the document may not be included in the keyword analysis

For more examples check out Jobscan.co’s What happens when you use tables and Top Resume’s What is an ATS resume? If you’re in the creative or IT fields and you’re judged according to your porfolio, consider creating your own website showcasing your work and link to it on your CV.

Many job seekers identify successful copy other professionals without first determining whether or not

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: What’s important to note here is that just because a CV format and design appears popular in a Google search or is recommended among your current professional network does not mean it is effective.

Take for example this mock CV of Sheryl Sandberg created by EnhanCV which allegedly “has been seen over 1,000,000 times” and is highly-recommended by serial entrepreneur Marc Cuban during an interview in CNBC. It is highly-likely neither Sheryl nor Marc will be applying for jobs through traditional search methods – nor given their status will they likely be directly involved in the hiring process. Having already established their value and credibility, they will not need an applicant tracking system friendly CV.

In fact, CNBC challenges the effectiveness EnhanCV template as:

  • Easy for a human to read, but not applicant tracking system friendly
  • The photo headshot could potentially lead to discrimination
  • Certain sections in the template (‘A day in the life of’ and pholosophy’) could be better used highlighting achievements and strengths.

The purpose, then, of EnhanCV’s “Sheryl Sandberg CV” is to promote EnhanCV to the detriment of job seekers who use their template against applicant tracking systems.

CV sections

In Lesson 237. 20-hours with Tai Lopez explains you should be careful whose advice you trust. One way already successful professionals defend their position is by dissuading and sabotaging gullible competitors by intentionally teaching them all the wrong things. Convincing people that the color of your purchase button can make or break your online business is a great way of ensuring you have fewer competitors, as they spend all of their time and money building ‘websites that convert’ rather than focusing on the true most important thing: a quality product.]

7. Organize & format your ATS-friendly CV section by section

Screenshot taken 5 May 2020

Jobscan, My Perfect Resume, VisualCV, Resumonk, Craftresumes, Zety and Linkedin offer ATS-friendly CV templates to download and build from.

First invest the time getting your CV content correct, then place that content into a properly formatted document.

The top third of your CV should be a quick overview and teaser for your CV. In less than 5 seconds the recruiter should be able to accurately identify your credibility markers as well as your job search objectives:

  • What type of job are you targeting?
  • Why are you qualified for that type of job?

Mandatory sections include ‘Education’ and ‘Professional Experience’. Strategic sections you should consider adding into your CV include:

  • Replacing your ‘Hobbies’ section with ‘Projects’ allows you to list your hobbies from a professional angle. Your group memberships are now seen as professional and social networking
  • An ‘Additional information’ section can be a catch all for any other hobbies, accreditations, memberships or information that doesn’t logically fit into the other sections
  • A ‘Skills’ or ‘Areas of expertise’ section gives the recruiter an easy-to-read bulleted-list of your related domain of knowledge to see whether or not you’re a good for the job, team or project

This may vary according to the culture in which you’re looking for work, however generally experience and accomplishments carry more weight than education. This is why LinkedIn’s profile layout places experience over education. However there are three strategic reasons why you might put your education at the top of your CV:

  • For some reason the recruiter specifically requests this
  • Your educational background is stronger than your work experience, which may be the case with recent university graduates who didn’t manage their internships strategically
  • You’re contacting your university alumni for job opportunities and you want them to immediately see you went to the same university

Improve CV

Your CV border should be no less than half an inch (1.27 centimetres). Too narrow of a border can lead to printing errors.

6. Rescan CV & continue improving as you job search

Jobscan.co homepage screenshot
Screenshot of Jobscan.co homepage – 9 June 2020

When faced with rejection – or worse no response from your job application, you’ve four options:

  1. Change nothing and continue sending your CV to recruiters until recruiters contact you
  2. Modify your CV keywords & formatting to improve your applicant tracking system ranking until recruiters contact you
  3. Reassess your approach by targeting opportunities and professional networks where you have a competitive advantage
  4. Change your goal/objective and identify new opportunities and professional networks where you have a competitive advantage

Notice up to this point no human has yet reviewed your CV or cover letter. Automating the preliminary recruiting process offers recruiters several strategic advantages:

  1. HR can now to focus on more important job responsibilities
  2. The ATS creates barriers to entry, so only the strongest, most cunning and intelligent candidates show up on top
  3. The employer is now protected against claims of discrimination

Online profiles

Your applicant tracking friendly CV and cover letter should get you to the top of the candidate pool for a human to read. Your next barrier to entry is convincing the recruiter to call you for an interview.

8. Integrate your optimized CV into your online profiles

A highly-efficient CV sitting in your personal computer is only useful when you emailed to someone able to help you, otherwise it serves no value. As discussed above, recruiters are actively seeking highly-qualified professionals, and the best way to get yourself in front of recruiters is to use the internet algorithms to your advantage.

Fortunately, the same content you put on your CV can be placed online.

Always make the most use of every inch of real-estate you have available to you. Everything must have a purpose.

1. Optimize your online professional profile’s value

Now that you’ve identified (POINT A) your current station in life and (POINT B) your target job, you’ll need to blend your CV with your online professional profiles to maximize your visibility.

Imagine in addition to your job responsibilities your LinkedIn profile also brought in 3 new clients worth 80,000€ in sales and 2 quality recruits.

Wouldn’t you be in a strong position to negotiate a pay raise at your next annual performance review?

As a loyal employee, your primary goal is to promote your employer’s reputation towards its clients as well as potential recruits. A benefit of promoting your current employer is deepening your professional network and attracting recruiters who recognize the value you could bring to their company. To accomplish this your profile mustn’t read like a resume; it must read like a sales letter.

Don’t say what everybody else is saying. Conformity is not how you stand out.

LinkedIn headline

2. Optimize your professional headline

On LinkedIn, your photo, headline and ‘about me’ section are critical elements that appear:

  • In search results on LinkedIn AND on Google
  • In the ‘above the fold’ of your profile page
  • In every LinkedIn message you send

Recall the 9 credibility markers mentioned above, your headline is 1 sentence which must include as many credibility markers as possible.

Below are 2 different headlines I extracted from the same profile. As a recruiter, which would you be more likely to select:

Same profile, two headlines. Which candidate is more attractive to recruiters?
Same profile, two headlines. Which candidate is more attractive to recruiters?
Same profile, two headlines. Which candidate is more attractive to recruiters?
If you saw this profile headline, would you want to learn more?
Same profile, two headlines. Which candidate is more attractive to recruiters?
Same profile, two headlines. Which candidate is more attractive to recruiters?

Summary section

2. Your profile ‘about me’ summary & past work experiences

Your ‘about me’ summary section is limited to 2000 characters, and should be a sales pitch to your target audience with a blend of relevant keywords and your accomplishments (credibility markers), and it should read like a sales page, not like an autobiography or a CV/Resume.

Essentially, this the content in your CV should be adapted into this section.

Accomplishments credentials

Your ‘past experience’ section is not as important as your ‘about me’ section in terms of keyword search appearance in Google (as of this 10 June 2020), but should also blend relevant keywords and accomplishments.

3. Your accomplishments, credentials & ongoing education

To firmly establish your reputation and stay relevant, ongoing education and talent development must be an imperative for you.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In Lesson 116, Blair Enns argues you should be twice as smart today as you were a year or two ago, no matter how long you’ve been in the business. If you’re not, it’s not because you’re stupid, it’s more likely that you’re just too broadly focused.

LinkedIn’s premium account gives you access to Lynda.com which offers curated training in nearly every topic, and as you complete those training, they are integrated into your LinkedIn profile.

Professional recommendations

For a list of other online learning platforms, refer to Lesson 237 with Nathaniel Drew.]

4. Collect quality, professional recommendations

Everything on your CV and online profiles is content you have written about yourself, thus by default cannot be fully trusted. Official recommendations from professionals you’ve worked with, on the other hand, carry much more weight and integrity. From university student doing internships up until your reputation, accomplishments and non-verbal communication speak for themselves, you must make it a habit of collecting 1-2 formal recommendations per year and keeping this section relevant.

What does a quality professional recommendation look like?
At minimum it:

Copy templates

  • Incorporates the 9 credibility markers mentioned above
  • Highlights the strengths of both parties
  • When possible it gives numbers and figures
  • Emphasizes the skills and competences you want to be known for over the long-term

9. Copy successful CV & LinkedIn templates that inspire you

Using the same recruiter search strategies discussed above, identify and connect with A-list professionals in your target industry, recruiters and headhunters and uncover professionals and job opportunities you otherwise would never had known existed.

There are over 4,400 professional resume writers on LinkedIn. Pay them to create your own personalized resume, or reverse-engineer their own CV and professional profiles to to see how they do their job.

For entrepreneurs and freelance, you can also propose your services via LinkedIn (service launched July 2019) to increase exposure and client-base.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: After reverse-engineering the online profiles of top 20 of the professional resume writers, one thing they all have in common is they are using the strategies outlined in this lesson.]

Search on Google:

HR director New York City (CV OR Resume) template


filetype:pdf HR Director (NYC OR New York City) (CV OR Resume) -job -jobs

…and you’ll uncover millions of relevant but indiscriminately organized documents and images of CV templates with design and job descriptions you can use in crafting your own CV.

By removing (CV or Resume) in the search string above and using the Google Advanced Search or Yandex (A Russian search engine which uses facial recognition software) image face filter to search:

HR Director (NYC OR New York City) -job -jobs

…you’ll uncover headshots of HR Directors, which will lead to news articles, websites, CVs and resumes, and other locations to find professionals in your line of work.

However there are successful and unsuccessful CV design and description models.

There are job seekers who spend 40-hours a week applying for 100 jobs in order to get one job interview, and there are professionals who regularly receive 3-5 job offers every week without having to apply.

Whatever it is the latter professionals are doing correctly, wouldn’t it be worth going straight to the top and finding their CV/LinkedIn profile and reverse-engineering it?

Employer branding is “the company’s reputation and popularity from a potential employer’s perspective and describes the values the company gives to its employees. Employer Branding is the process of creating and maintaining your company’s Employer Brand.”

A major reason the top 10 companies in an industry are top 10 is because they attract top talent, which leads to a competitive advantage. Meaning any professional employed at a top 10 company was able to demonstrate their value through their CV, and online profiles, and their professional network. So it only follows that by reverse-engineering the CV and online profiles of the employees at the top 10 companies in your target industry, you’ll have a far greater chance of creating a CV that attracts attention.

Search on Google:

site:linkedin.com HR Director (NYC OR New York City)

Hidden jobs

…and you’ll uncover thousands of professional profiles working in your target job, as well as their current and past employers. The fact that this professional’s profile is on the top 5 pages of Google means their profile was intentionally constructed for visibility, and thus should be worth connecting with and reverse-engineering.


Assuming you’ve targeted your ideal job, employer and industry, and you’ve crafted your online profile and CV to establish your reputation & authority as an A-list, must-have, high-potential, high-performing top talent. If you are still not attracting recruiters and getting responses to your job applications, it could be that:

  • You’ve applying for jobs you appear to be over-qualified for
  • You’re in competition with other equally talented professionals who are perhaps better professionally networked than you
  • You’re not differentiating yourself with your personality, or perhaps the personality you’re portraying is not the personality recruiters are looking for
  • You’re highly qualified, but perhaps you’re missing the mark by not identifying and meeting the real needs of the recruiters you’re contacting

It’s more than about ‘being a candidate,’ ‘sending your CV,’ or ‘trying to get a job.’

When you see a job announcement, it is because the hiring company has a need or objective, and they are investing their time, money and resources trying to meet that need.

As a top performing professional, connecting with the key decision makers is making their job easier.

The key decision-makers you’ll want to connect with include at minimum the direct hiring manager and the employer’s Human Resources recruiter. Secondary connections include the employees working with the direct hiring manager. Browsing their LinkedIn profiles gives you a sense of the type of profiles the hiring company looks for, and being connected to them gives you added credibility later on in the recruiting process.

Before applying for a job you want to give yourself the best odds of getting an interview. There are multiple ways of finding relevant people and getting their direct email or phone number, however perhaps the most simplest is via the company’s ‘about us’, ‘meet the team’, or ‘who we are’ web page as well as a social link to their LinkedIn company page. Otherwise you should be able to find the company using LinkedIn’s search box.

Screenshots taken 6 May 2020

Before sending any connection requests, ensure your LinkedIn profile correctly portrays you as a high-potential, high-performing top candidate, otherwise you risk being denied with the connection request, and further disqualified if the hiring manager remembers denying you as they read your CV.

Also, when requesting a connection with professionals, be sure they are the type of person open to connecting with strangers. Receiving too many connection rejections ‘red flags’ your profile, and you risk being penalized or having your account suspended.

When connecting with people, less is more. Quality over quantity.

Recruiter interviews

Unless you have a directly relevant and important reason for sending a long message, generally the longer your introductory emails, cover letter or CV, the less likely they are to want to connect with you, and even more likely they are to actually read it.


By building rapport: your ability to establish a “close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.” When being interviewed, you’re not ‘trying to get the job,’ you’re having a conversation about your career, how you position yourself, your weaknesses, your goals, even perhaps your unhappiness with your current station. There is risk involved: economically and psychologically (losing face by being rejected).

Even before COVID-19, A-list professionals were comfortable with Zoom, Google Hangout and online calls. Post COVID-19, if you’re not skilled in persuading during online meetings, this skill must be your immediate priority.

For every meeting – critical and unimportant – consider recording and analyzing your calls because over time you’ll notice communication scripts that work and don’t, and you’ll be able to improve your communication script. Software such as Trint, Amber Script or Hone It enable you to convert voice to text. Doing so:

  • Allows you to share the candidate’s interview with other decision-makers involved in the hiring process
  • Allows you to go back and analyze your performance to identify how to improve your communication skills
  • Protects yourself should a person ever claim you said something you didn’t

As a professional, always communication with the assumption the other parties are recording your conversation.

Control conversation

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 25. Daphne Claude explains with regard to ‘off the record,’ Why say something to the journalist if you don’t want him to use it? You either don’t say anything or you say it.]

STEP 1: Control the conversation & set it up in your favor

Successful, ambitious, A-list professionals tend to prefer the company of like-minded professionals. They also tend to be very busy, which is why they take who they spend their time with seriously. They’ve worked hard and sacrificed to establish their reputation – be it online through their website and media exposure, and/or offline with their colleagues, superiors, clients…

Even before contacting an A-list professional, you should have already done the same. Meaning:

  • You’re not going into a job interview trying to convince the recruiter to give you a job, you’re meeting a recruiter to decide whether or not they offer you an ideal professional environment and career opportunities for mutual-advantage
  • A quality recruiter isn’t contacting you as hoping they can convince you to agree to work with them, they are contacting you to see if an opportunity would be a good fit for you. Again, a mutually-advantaged relationship

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: For more on conducting mutually-beneficial negotiations, check out:

Secondly, although A-list professionals are comfortable with and able to effectively manage ambiguity, unplanned events, and last minute changes, they’re able to do this because they organize, plan and automate as much of their lives as they can. For this reason when planning a meeting with an A-list professional:

  • Confirm the precise date, time, and location (office, online url, password, etc). Once committed, their failing to follow through may be an indication of their real level of investment
  • Verify beforehand precisely how much time they have dedicated (30 minutes, 50 minutes…), and when the meeting begins confirm you still have this time dedicated so your meeting isn’t cut off with unfinished business. It’s better to postpone your meeting than it is to not have enough time to thoroughly cover all topics necessary to decide committing to a mutually-advantageous relationship
  • Include an agenda of topics to cover and questions to answer so they have adequate time to prepare
  • List what documents each party needs to bring or be familiar with to save time and help in preparation
  • Lead the meeting with an ‘upfront contract’ to keep the meeting transparent the dialogue productive, and all parties committed
  • List meeting objectives and outcome so person has an optimistic sense of accomplishment after having met with you

Establishing a mutually-beneficial, peer-to-peer relationship is your priority. And because you’re talking in the context of improving their career, they’ll open up and give you deep, intimate answers.

Communication scripts

Answers you can use to improve your communication script.

STEP 2: Work from a successful communication ‘script

Communication scripts are psychologically constructed and field-tested phrases and strategies that have proven to provide the most ROI. Everyone has their own script they work from – your script you have constructed over a lifetime of trying to negotiate and convince people to do things for you.

A-list people’s communication scripts are better than others, which is why they tend to be happier and more successful in life.

The problem with scripts is while they look good and persuasive written down on paper, you can never 100% predict how the other party will respond. Scripts that do not adapt to your audience and allow for deviation are not successful scripts.

Successful scripts are frameworks, nuanced and adaptable through experience while accomplishing very specific objectives.

Successful scripts begin by asking quality questions – and being comfortable with silence as they think and answer your questions – to uncover the real pains and problems the other party is facing. However, you must know when to stop asking questions and move into solving the problem. Too many questions can backfire, and annoy the other party.

Some of your best scripts will be written by the people you talk to.

You just have to know how to shut up & listen.

Avoid manipulative scripts that can do more damage than good. One popular manipulative recruiting script is the ‘bait and switch’ tactic, which is to begin a conversation with one objective: to compliment the person, to request an interview for a project you’re working on, etc. and then try to manipulatively transition the conversation into your originally intended objective: to be hired by the company, to convince the professional to leave their employer for another, to commit acts of industrial espionage, etc.

Although the ‘bait and switch’ is popular, anytime a person feels manipulated, or that you are sincere, your credibility diminishes and they no longer trust you or what you offer.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In Lesson 139: The Next Black, Nancy Tilbury points out that as you specialize you learn really great tricks (or ‘scripts’), and those tricks turn into a methodology. That methodology determines your authenticity and what makes your work special.

Qualify recruit

Also, recall in Lesson 116. How to win new clients without pitching that as a professional you must “diagnose before you prescribe.” You must ask the right questions to uncover the real problems before telling the person how you would solve them.]

STEP 3: Approach the conversation as a ‘mock interview’ to establish control while qualifying them with interview questions

Illusory superiority, or the superiority bias, is the tendency for people to “overestimate one’s desirable qualities, and underestimate undesirable qualities, relative to other people.” In other words, they tend to believe they are better than they actually are, and that others are not as good as they actually are. Everyone is vulnerable to this bias, and most people unfortunately are not even aware of it. This is in part because while you’ve 10 years experience in your particular field, to a hiring manager who reviews 100s of job candidates each week, you’re not special; you’re just as qualified as everyone else.

To overcome this bias, recruiters challenge your ability to explain and defend your credibility:

  • Most of the time candidates respond with useless, generic answers you’d find on anybody’s boring CV: “I’ve a proven track record of meeting and exceeding expectations… blah, blah…”
  • These generic types of answers could be:
    • A potential red flag the candidate may not be as good as they claim to be, which means you need to further probe into their accomplishments and certifications to either get quality answers
    • That the person is naturally good at what they do and can’t necessarily explain why what they do works, which means you must tease the information out of them
  • If the person hits a wall and cannot rebound from your follow-up questions, their ensuing frustration of not being able to answer your questions with A-list responses signals to them they are in danger of not qualifying for the job opportunity

If during the recruiting interview the candidate consistently can’t adequately answer your questions, you may need to save their candidacy for future positions, or delete the applicant from your talent pool altogether.

The candidate’s interview weaknesses are something they’ll have to deal to progress into the next step in their career, and that’s not necessarily the recruiter’s problem to solve.

When you’ve decided not to proceed with the recruitment process, consider a soft close approach: thank them for their time, recap some important pieces of improvements they could make that you’ve uncovered during your conversation, and say “We’ve both learned a lot from our conversation, and I’ve learned a lot about you. Would it make sense to book future call where we could dig deeper into your pain points and you can pick my brain into what solutions we offer? Otherwise perhaps I can offer a few ideas to point you in the right direction.”

It’s a small world and you never know when and how a person can have influence over your life, so never end recruiting calls on bad terms. Doing so may come back to haunt you.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In the 2011 film “Margin Call” Peter Sullivan discovers the firm’s about to go bankrupt and a meeting is held to review Peter’s report.

Notice in the scene not a single question is asked about the legitimacy of the report; all questions were more prudently directed at establishing the credibility of Peter Sullivan: his background, his ability to competently articulate and answer questions, his level of confidence… Once Peter Sullivan’s legitimacy had been established, the report was then brought to the members of the board.]

Some people like to ‘chat.’ So you’ll need to be strong enough to direct the conversation should the meeting derail due with interesting but superfluous information.

For this reason your first few minutes with them should set the tone of a mutually-beneficial, peer-to-peer relationship, but that it is you who is in charge. After all, it is you the recruiter who has the solution to their pains and problems. And in order to determine your best approach to solving their problems, you must politely but professionally ask a few qualifying questions:

Q1: “So why did you take time out of your day to contact me? And what are you looking to accomplish?”

This is a great opening question because it immediately establishes your control of the discussion and gets to the heart of why you’re speaking with this person.

  • If they’ve already done their homework and know precisely why they’re contacting you, then you can quickly move to solving their pains and problems.
  • If they can’t articulate why they’re contacting you, then you can ask them the necessary questions to determine what their needs, pains and problems are, and how you would help them.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez that he used the same framing strategy when qualifying the people who contacted him.]

Q2: “In your own words, tell me what you do.”

Even if you’ve sufficiently researched the other party, asking this question ‘in your own words’ helps you:

  • Uncover details that didn’t appear on t heir CV and in your research
  • Tests assumptions you’ve made about the other person
  • Let’s you see how they see their role
  • Gives you an idea of how they think, communicate, and deal with being challenged
  • Potentially uncover ‘career wounds’ they’ve experienced, which is why they have chosen to contact you

Other deeper-meaning, qualifying opening questions that reveal their pains and problems and lead you towards your transition into solving their pains and problems:

  • Q1: “Why did you take time out of your day to contact me? And what are you hoping to accomplish?”
  • Q2: “In your own words, tell me what you do.”
  • Q3: “What’s your leadership philosophy?”
  • Q4: “How would you describe your management style (which is different than your leadership style)?”
  • Q5: “How do you measure success?”
  • Q6: “Do you have a mentor? Do you mentor others?”
  • Q7: “What do your first 90 days look like?”
  • Q8: “What (types of) companies are you interested in, and why?”
  • Q9: “How did you get to where you are at now? Tell me about the momentum behind your career.”
  • Q10: “What makes you unique; the top of the class?”

Provided the candidate has passed this step by sufficiently answering your challenge questions set – and time permitting – transition deeper into the conversation.

TRANSITION #1 into deeper-probing pains and problems:

You might begin this transition with an explanation:

“Your answers sound great. So let me ask you this:

Once you reach the point where as a leader you have authority to hire, who you choose to hire directly affects your career progression…”

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Leadership styles can be largely divided into 5 types:

Leadership styles are discussed in greater detail in the paper Determents of Leadership Style in Big Five Personality Dimensions; Hassan, Asad, Hoshino; 2016]

“…and the best litmus test for any leader is their ability to attract talent and hire; to build great teams. So now let me ask you…”

  • Q11: “Tell me about your hiring record. How would you describe your last 10 hires? Mis-hires?”
  • Q12: “Have you ever identified a broken hiring process? How did you handle it?”
  • Q13: “What are some of your biggest hiring frustrations you’ve identified?”

“Your answers sound great. Now let me ask you this…”

TRANSITION #2 into the soft close if candidate has passed your tests.

Absorb emotions

Provided the candidate has passed this step and established themselves as an top talent, ‘close’ them – or ‘flip’ them: offer them the opportunity to work with you.

STEP 4. Absorb the person’s emotional state with each transition.

Provided you’re a top recruiter using all of the search and qualification techniques mentioned above, candidates usually fit neatly into a bell curve. Out of 20 candidates a recruiter contacts:

  • 18 will be relatively the same in terms of qualifications, experience, and skill sets
  • 1 may interview very well and be hired but ‘wash out’ after a couple of months (from the recruiter’s perspective, preferably before their trail period runs its course)
  • 1 may be that unicorn, perfect candidate

Everyone has a pain or problem they want to get rid of; and if a person contacts you it is because based on the information available to them at that time they believe you offer the best solution. This is why they’ve chosen to contact you.

[JOSHUA’S NOTE: For more on why recruiters contact you, check out Lesson 169. How to negotiate your compensation package.]

Projects, deadlines, budget constraints, work-life balance… professionals tend to be in a constant state of mild agitation.

People make decisions emotionally (not rationally) and to avoid pain and problems, which is why every communication you send must identify your target audience’s pain points and show how you relieve those pains and problems.

A working interview is “an opportunity to have an applicant prove their job skills to you by having them perform the duties of the job alongside their supervisor and future co-workers is also an opportunity to ensure that they are a good fit for the organization.”

Your 10 years of experience means absolutely nothing if during that time you haven’t figured out the solutions to problems your industry faces.

And your 10 years of experience means absolutely nothing if other professionals don’t trust you and./or don’t like working with you.

Every product/service has benefits and features. Features tell about the product/service, but benefits actually sell the product/service. What makes benefits so powerful is that to actually be ‘beneficial’ they must solve a pain or a problem the client experiences. Those pains and problems must be relevant to the client you’re pitching to, otherwise there’s no benefit.

First identify client’s pain; and only then discuss benefits and solutions.

In difficult times (such as the recent Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic), employers are more open to changing jobs and employers before their current employer lets them go. In fact, top talent are so in tune with their company and industry that they see trouble coming and make their move long before the rest of the population is aware of it.

Top candidates are always in high demand, and they have career objectives and ambitions. They are thus always open to anyone who can help them make their next professional move.

Always make people happier and smarter for having met you.

2 réponses à “10 Hours with Recruiters: Upgrade Your CV Template, Find Hidden Job Offers & 10x Response Rates”

  1. […] We live on a broken planet who aren’t necessarily lazy, they just don’t know how to improve and optimize because they have never been taught. So it is hard for them to find high-quality, highly-productive, above-average performers because they are in such high demand and because there are so few of them. Distinguish yourself as one of those rare professionals, and you’ll have no trouble standing out. Smart companies who have difficulty attracting and hiring these rare people grow your own high-performers internally. And of course, very shortly thereafter headhunters will start circling your business. […]

  2. […] lesson builds upon the strategies and learning outcomes in Lesson 239. 6 Hours with Recruiters: Upgrade Your CV, Find Hidden Job Offers & 10x Response Rate…. If you have applied to 20+ jobs and have not been contacted to set up a job interview, or if you […]