Ask The Headhunter: Over 50? Show How You’ll Do the Job

BY Nick Corcodilos  May 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM EST

Have you ever been skeptical of headhunter Nick Corcodilos’ unconventional advice? One job seeker decided to put some Ask The Headhunter methods to the test and the results were extremely successful. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979, and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

Nick Corcodilos: Once in a while, I like to publish a success story from a reader. It helps people see that others are using the methods we discuss — and that the approach works. Here’s one that just came in.

Andy H.: I just wanted to tell you that I got a new job. Though I got this job by responding to a posting on LinkedIn, I used some of your methods during the process. (See “The Basics.”)

This employer required a personality test, a cognitive test, a panel interview during which I had to figure out a problem, and a puzzle test. I also had one extra interview with the vice president. Your typical HR-centric process.

So, what did I do to follow your advice? I made a package, which I sent to the VP, showing how I would do the job.

  • I created an outline of how I would approach the job.
  • I defined a process called a “Business Intelligence Baseline” that I would do on my first weeks on the job.
  • I enclosed a sample of a similar project I had done for another employer.
  • I also included a quick summary of a conference I went to on Big Data, because I knew that this firm was looking to get into Big Data.

I was offered the job with a slight raise and twice as much vacation time as my previous employer. (I should have gotten your salary book to help me with negotiations!)

I don’t think this is my “it” job. It is a “for now” job.

Meanwhile, I am going to start networking and doing the other things you recommend. (See “I don’t know anybody.”) I like the point you make in [the PDF book] How Can I Change Careers? that a person should be doing this all the time. When I need to move on, I will be ready.

To put this all in context, I was laid off from my job on March 22. I contacted these people on April 9, and got a formal offer on April 30. I just want to thank you so much. I will continue to follow you online and via subscription. I am not expecting a response. I just want you to know that on this pass I was only a fair disciple of your methods. I promise next time I will do better. Thanks again.

P.S. Sept.14 is my 59th birthday!

Nick Corcodilos: Your story needs no reply and no advice from me. Just a hearty congratulations!

Readers sometimes ask me for a ‘template” they can use to implement the job hunting methods we discuss in this column. You’re 58 — theoretically almost unemployable. (Isn’t it bizarre that extensive experience and acumen brand people as unhireable?) Your template works because you delivered a clear plan to the employer about how you’d do the job. While age discrimination is very real, so is the promise of doing a great job. Sometimes, to help employers look past the grey (and their silly preconceived notions), you have to show them the green: How you will contribute more to their bottom line. And you’ve clearly done that. Thanks for sharing your experience.

(If you’re running into problematic employment tests, please see Erica Klein’s excellent article, “Employment Tests: Get an edge.”)

I’d love to hear from job hunters who use approaches similar to this reader’s. The steps closely follow what we discuss on Ask The Headhunter. This individual showed how he’d do the job! Please post your comments below — Is this approach really so difficult?


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions