Episode 23: Stepping Up Your Job Search with Mike Manoske

Looking for a job or a career change may be a stressful process for some people. Fortunately, there’s help. Mike Manoske is a coach who specializes in career coaching and helping people with job searches. He’s had an eclectic career which first started in tech. After realizing that people need more tools and methodologies, he went back to the Hudson Institute of Coaching which started his amazing journey into coaching. Mike talks about his expertise and an exciting program called HireClub of which he’s part of that can be an incredibly powerful resource for anyone searching for a job or a career. He also shares how having a consultative mindset helps a lot in the whole process of coaching.

Listen to the podcast here:

Episode 23: Stepping Up Your Job Search with Mike Manoske

I have the pleasure of speaking with Professional Certified Coach Mike Manoske, who’s an expert in helping people with career and job searches.

I have the pleasure of speaking with Mike Manoske. Mike is going to share with us his expertise in helping individuals with job searches and an exciting program he’s part of that can be an incredibly powerful resource for helping anyone with a job or career search. It’s my pleasure to be speaking with Coach Mike Manoske. Mike is a coach who specializes in helping, amongst many other things, helping people with job searches and career coaching. Mike, first of all, thank you for being with us.

Lisa, thank you. I’m delighted to be here. I appreciate it.

Mike, I thought we’d start by sharing with our readers your journey into coaching. You live this stuff, but every coach I find has had a journey too that’s made them more passionate about coaching, able to understand and connect with their clients. I thought it’d be great for our readers if you can share your journey with us.

My journey is that I’ve had an eclectic career, which I think good coaches almost all have eclectic careers. I was a very successful tech person. I’ve worked in almost every space in tech. Prior to that, I was even in healthcare as an administrator. Many years ago, I made a decision to leave director level roles in some great tech companies and relocated to Silicon Valley. I did, of all things, I became a recruiter, which was extremely unusual to do. Most people at that point in their career, doing what I was doing, that was unusual. I found it to be wonderful. It was a personal decision based on being a single parent, having custody of my son and I thought, “Let me be home more. Let me be more home for him.” What I found was, and I make a joke about it, that I could build all these great teams throughout Silicon Valley and I did not have to manage them. That sounds like a joke, but there’s a lot of truth to it. I’ve hired in Silicon Valley over 1,000 people, myself and my team. I’ve probably done 3,000 or 4,000 interviews, hundreds and hundreds of negotiations. I bring this really great experience set. What happened was all of those I hired a few years later came back and said, “Can you help me in my job search?” I started doing that and I was okay at it. I have pretty high standards for myself. I realized that I needed more tools, more methodologies.

I actually went back to the Hudson Institute of Coaching and went through their program. I’m a PCC through ICF, Professional Certified Coach. Things started taking off. Until about a year ago, I was functioning as a recruiting leader here. I also started working with the Wharton Business School here in San Francisco in their executive MBA program. We’ve developed a program to teach job search. People who are working in a full-time MBA program, obviously the top, if not one of the top programs in the country, and they doing a job search is insane. Yet we see 60% of the students over the course of the time they’re in the program do that. I still do not know how they pull that off. I’m convinced there’s a lot of Red Bull involved. It’s one of those things where you make one decision in your life, you make several more and the next thing you’ve got something special that you do. That’s really been my journey into coaching. I now teach year-round at Wharton. I have a wonderful private practice where we are with people, frankly all over the world, which is just joyful. I’m participating in a job search community called HireClub where I act as Director of Coaching to help people through a community base get through the process.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about the job search program and the community. I know both discovering what you want to do for a living, what would be your passion, what were you ideally designed to do is such a struggle for people. It’s one thing to have those career aspirations. It’s another thing to say, “Now that you’re ready, how do you go about having a very successful job search?” You’ve mentioned that you have a job search program. I was hoping you could share with our readers more specifically what that’s about and some of the techniques and strategies you may be able to offer people.

They’re not that complicated. There are pieces of this. The first one you hit on beautifully, which is what do you want to do next? What does the next cool thing look like and getting some structure around that? A lot of good coaches, that’s our strength is helping people take a rough idea or a foggy idea and turn it into a crystal clear aspiration. That’s classic coaching and a lot of work we do is around that. The next part then is how do you start telling your story into the people you need to talk with? We make branding statements. It’s not elevator pitches, but it’s really a process of taking all the pieces from your professional life, your academic, your personal life, and what do you stand for. What are those things that you have? How are they going to help in the next place you work at?

Interviewing is storytelling. Click To Tweet

A much more complete picture it seems.

Exactly, but without having to write Gone With the Wind. How do you compartmentalize that because that brand statement becomes your foundation? It’s going to be used in your resume. It’s going to be used in your LinkedIn profile. You’re going to adjust these obviously. By the way, one small note, your LinkedIn profile is now more valuable than your resume. As you interview, as you have a dialogue with people, those are the two starting points. Clarity and then also your brand statement. The adventure really begins where you start going, “Now that I know what I want, now that I know how you describe myself, I’ve got to go find some people to talk to.” That’s where we say, “Sure, go apply for some roles, but do you know what? We’d rather have you also go out and build business relationships.”

I do not like the term networking because it’s so transactional. It’s amazing what happens if you go out into a community and say, “I’m going to reach out to somebody who’s a friend of a friend.” I’m going to suggest that, “You’ve got expertise in. I’ll invent something here. You’re somebody in finance who’s done some good work with nonprofit organizations. I’m really interested in that space. Could I spend ten or fifteen minutes? I have some specific questions to ask. I won’t be intrusive. I’ll completely work around your schedule. I would love to hear your thoughts.” Miracles happen at that point. I have decades of stories around people that have done that and had phenomenal results.

I love the concept of just building a relationship.

Let me back up and tell you that we recognize how important this was because we kept seeing our students, I kept seeing my clients having these amazing wins by simply doing a reach out like that. We decided we’re going to do a focused seminar on this. I spent a few months working on this and I could not find content that I just thought was anywhere near good. I finally found some stuff. There were some professors at Wharton doing some work. It was great. It’s built around the concept of weak ties. I won’t get too geeky on this. There’s stuff on my website and other places I point people to, but it’s not your primary network. It’s not the primary universe of people you have. It’s the people they know that can give you a better picture of work opportunities, better pictures of industry. The second thing that they can give you is also a better picture of you because they don’t see you with the positive bias that maybe your friends have. They can give you a more realistic view.

They can be more objective.

That’s spot on, a better word. What was amazing was our programs, when we teach them at Wharton, there are 100 students in the Executive MBA program here in San Francisco in each class. Half of them showed up for this over lunch, which we were floored. That was pretty cool. We work with about 25 or so, but half the class showed up for this, which tells you they recognize the value of this. They also don’t want to do it the way that you hear commonly done. I think that’s important is the way to be able to reach out genuinely, to create a relationship, to give back to that person, even after you’ve talked with them is critical.

To create some of those connections, to find those, are you just talking to people that you already know or can you also tap into some of your LinkedIn connections?

GYTM 23 | Job Search

Job Search: Your brand statement becomes your foundation. It’s going to be used in your resume or your LinkedIn profile.


I’m a huge user of LinkedIn. A lot of the programs that we do, we show people how to do that. It’s not that complicated. I wish I could do this with you for four hours, but the idea of starting with people you know to get comfortable with the methodology. As you know from all the work you do, is ask people to take that extra step, that little stretch and just do a series of little compound stretches to get good at this.

Is it something like in terms of coaching people on doing that, is there typically an outline on how to do that, some key strategies? Are you trying to focus on just connecting with the person, what should you be asking for, what are you doing?

There are some key strategies and let me lay them out. I’ll also share with you that I’m a Forbes writer. I have Forbes content written about this that I’ll make sure is on my site. The key part of this is, and I literally have an article on Forbes that said don’t network, build relationships, it focuses on explaining why you want to reach out, a very brief explanation of who you are, which is your branding statement. Handle the logistics easily. Make it simple for these people. When you sit down with them, walk in and really ask about them. Shift the focus away from here. I’ve got to explain myself. I’ve got to do a tap dance. I’m in a piano recital to genuinely go, “You’ve done some cool stuff. How did you get there?”

Have them tell their story.

To me, one of the most powerful questions you can ask is, “What do you see are the challenges and opportunities in your industry, in your role or in your company?” To me that starts to open up the dialogue about, “They can probably help with that question to guide you.” This company that they work at need some help in an area that I’ve done before.

You see the part you might be able to play.

What people always tell me is it just feels so awkward. Yet 30% of the people you reach out to, if you do it in a genuine way, it’s outlined there both on my site and in Forbes, 30% to 40% people reply. That’s a pretty hard number. They know why you’re reaching out. Let’s face it, if you’ve done it politely, they’ll get it. I’ve had people walk into situations. A client of mine reached out to somebody she went to college with. They were really grateful and excited to see her. As she was walking in the building, she gets a text from that person saying, “Would you mind if my vice president met you?” She was like, “Okay. I’m getting on the elevator.” She gets up there and her friend meets her and then says, “By the way, this is my vice president.” One minute of greeting and goes, “We’re looking for somebody like you.” She’s been in the building for ten minutes. People understand this, but they also appreciate it when you do it the way we’re talking about doing it.

I typically find that people welcome the opportunity to mentor someone to be helpful.

You ask five people questions, you'll get ten answers. Hopefully you'll find truth in there that works for you. Click To Tweet

The word helpful is so important there because you’re really not reaching out saying, “I’m in a terrible state. I need your help. You’ve got to rescue me.” No. “I’m a professional, you’re a professional. I value who you are. I’d love your insights. By the way, what can I do to help you? What can I bring back from my search and my learning that would be helpful?” This can go on.

One of the things that I made a note of was that a lot of it has to do with what energy you’re bringing to the table. You’re right, you don’t want to come in with that desperation, anxiety energy. I think when you have people go through this branding statement, it must ground them in who they are, what their strengths are, what they could bring to the table.

Lisa, you’re really hitting on something important there. The idea of that branding statement is to clear some of the fog away and to clear some of the fear away. We all know job search is lonely or it can be lonely and job search is very much a non-normal state. If somebody says no to you, it can make you feel worse than it normally would. It can magnify these types of situations. This grounds you. I can’t tell you how important that is. The other thing is if you walk in there saying, “I’m not here just to take. I’m here to give.” If they’re having an issue that this person brings up that I have some knowledge about, I’m going to tell them, I’m going to share that with them. I want to give back too. You go in with that attitude, I call it a consulting framework, it’s pretty awesome.

In terms of coaching people that deal with some of those, if the job search doesn’t go, you’re dealing with rejection or that isolation, that loneliness. What strategies do you have to help them deal with maybe some of the insecurities and anxieties that do come up?

I’m glad we went here because this is a big daunting area. I am a huge believer in creating a community and in fighting the isolation. For example, I have people that have literally started doing nonprofit work. I have a guy who lost his job. It didn’t go well. Nothing he did. It’s the economics of the company failed dramatically. He started to get really down. We went out and we built a project for him to go reach out to a bunch of nonprofits to help them with their marketing. He was stunned at how many nonprofits said, “You’ll help?” He’s just finishing. Interestingly enough, his interviews have gotten better. He’s progressing. He’ll tell you he started to gain a bit of confidence from knowing he could help somebody.

As your gifts and talents are being utilized, your confidence has to be going up.

GYTM 23 | Job Search

Job Search: When you reach out to people and do it in a genuine way, 30% to 40% of people reply.


Let’s face it, if you’ve left something quickly or if it’s just been something where it slowly happened, you may have some PTSD going on. You’ve seen that in your practice, I’m sure where a bad work event creates some really significant issues.

It changes. If it’s changed your core beliefs about yourself, you mean that that’s what’s going to keep getting in your way. Giving him that project of going and speaking to the nonprofits, it’s like that experiential data that you have is one of the key ways of shifting those socio-subconscious beliefs. I tell people the subconscious mind loves experiential data.

The other side of my practice is that once you get that great job, I want to make sure you do well at it. There’s a lot of career success coaching because of it all too. A lot of that is when somebody says, “I think I made a mistake.” My answer is, “What does the data tell you about that?”

What can you learn from that?

If you’re telling me, “I really screwed up,” and my common statement is, “Tell me what screwed up means. What is the basis for your assessment of that?” I’ll literally say, “Is there raw data or is there actual data that says there was a mistake made on your part?”

Is that statement evidence-based or not?

The automation that's coming into resume submittals has made it possible for people that are not even close to being qualified to submit. Click To Tweet

I love the way you said that, but that’s exactly the case. Is this the emotions talking or is there evidence to back it up? I think that’s really important.

In terms of the stages of the program, would you like to do that exploration when we get to a more specified goal? We make the brand statement and then we start building relationships. Is there a next step?

The next step is interviewing, which is storytelling. When you narrow all this down, it’s storytelling, but it’s storytelling around just two pieces. We’ve made interviewing and dialogue complicated. There are only two things that are going on when you’re telling your story and your interviewing. Number one is are you competent to do the job and are you a team fit? That’s it. That’s the entire range of what an interview process is about. Let me also add something, and this is where there’s a power dynamic that we lose sight of the economy now. I don’t care what you do for a living, there are not enough people in many cases to do the work. They’re interviewing you because they have a need. Given that, here’s what’s really important. You have equal right to understand those, so you need to determine if the organization that I’m talking with and the people in the organization are competent. Can they support me in doing what I need to do? Are they capable? Number two, are these people I want to spend eight, ten hours a day with?

It’s a mutual learning process.

That’s a critical piece for people to keep aware of. There’s been this viewpoint that interviewing is a piano recital. You’ve got to hit every note correctly or you fail. I’m saying it’s a conversation. I’m saying as a candidate, you have to make an assessment just as much as they do. When you walk in with that mindset, it peels back some of that anxiety.

It’s different because like the piano recital, you’ve got to perform. You’ve got to hit all the right notes, the exact answer for each question versus you’re going in there, you’re having a mutual conversation. Do you want to get to know them and what they’re looking for, what they need, what people are on the team, and allowing them to get to know you?

As you were explaining that, you hit on it perfectly because the only way you’re going to find that out is if you’re asking questions too. One of the things, and I’m doing a lot of coaching around this, is to not walk in with a candidate mindset, but to walk in with a consultative mindset. In other words, a consultant walks in, and this is in therapy getting coaching, we ask a lot of questions. That’s the basis for how we understand things. Consultants are the same way. If you walk in going, “They’re telling me that they have this real need to get this certain project done or to bring this new product up or to do these certain tasks. Why? What’s driving that? Do I understand that? Do they understand it? How do they articulate it?” All of a sudden, you’re going to share information, “I have done that. Here’s how I did it. Does that help? Is that what you guys are looking for?” versus reciting your resume.

I love the consultative mindset. I could imagine if I had someone that came into my office with that mindset, they would be so much more engaged. It’s like you’re saying, “This person’s ready to jump in and see what we can do together. What can we create together here?”

GYTM 23 | Job Search

Job Search: Asking a lot of questions is the basis for how we understand things.


It’s funny, as you’re talking about it, Lisa, notice that it’s not a big shift here. I’m engaged and I’m not here for a piano recital. I want to demonstrate that I’m pretty sure I can do what you need me to do or I can do the vast majority of what you need me to do. Let’s make sure. Let me demonstrate it. Let me make sure that I frame the information and I give you the right way. I’ve got to ask you some questions to understand that.

Some of those are just a few key differences. It taps into a very different part of your mind.

We’ve been tapping into this, the work is automation mindset. I’m trying to get people in and through Wharton and through all of my practice to start thinking of this as if you’re going to spend your time at this, it should be rewarding. It’s not going to be 100% rewarding. If you’re going to invest this time, understand what are the nuances of the role you’re talking about, the organization. That’s critical.

I love the program you’ve got set up here. I can see how those little shifts can put people in such a different place and I can see how it would dramatically increase their ability to be successful in a job search. Mike, tell me more about the community you’ve set up.

The community was set up by a gentleman named Ketan Anjaria. He started here in the Bay Area. Ketan had gone through job searches three or four times and recognized in his life that it was brutal. He’s a combination engineer and a creative, which is an unusual background. He can think both ways, which is good and bad and he’ll agree to that. He recognized as he was going through this, the loneliness and the lack of realistic feedback he was getting. Being the type of person he is, he went out and started a small community on Facebook called HireClub. Our club is now over 30,000 people. It has a website. He formalized coaching into the program. I’ve been in dialogue with him. I will be blunt, I was a little skeptical when he started this. I was like, “I think I want to have a career in job search coaching going on.” He said, “Sure.” I wasn’t sure what the community would look like. I had been ecstatic. I work with about twenty people alone in the community. Between that, Wharton and my private practice, that’s really all I can do.

I’ve got to tell you that they’re amazing. In HireClub, by the way, if you want to join, you’re more than welcome. There will be some questions to ask. It is now considered a private group. It’s a few real quick questions to understand. For example, three times a day somebody will post it up going, “I’ve got this question about this interview process,” or “I’ve got this question about my negotiations.” A guy posted a note about negotiations. It had 35 replies in an hour. It is amazing. What’s interesting is because of the size of this community and its acceptance, there are hiring managers on there, there are recruiters on there. There are probably at least two dozen recruiters that I’m aware of. You’re getting some really great real-world feedback. Is the feedback always the same? No. Is the feedback at times contradictory? It is, but people will talk about it. It’s incredibly healthy.

They’re having a healthy discussion about it.

That’s the joy in it. You ask a question, you ask five people questions, you’ll get ten answers. Hopefully, you’ll find truth in there that works for you. That’s usually what happens.

When you meet special people, you have to acknowledge them and be thankful they're in your life. Click To Tweet

It seems like a very engaged group, though.

Thirty thousand people, they’re really good. The other thing is that there’s a lot of monitoring that goes on around making sure that people are there to contribute, not to spam. Also, that if somebody is showing obnoxious traits, they’re asked to stop that. It’s very well monitored.

When you say HireClub, is it certain people looking for certain types of jobs?

It’s everything. HireClub is a part of what I do. The whole idea is creating a community around a lonely process. If you think about what you do in your practice, what most coaches do is we’re really helping people through a lonely process. Change is lonely.

I find when I work with people looking for jobs, it’s like depending on the situation, but a lot of times you’re sending out resumes and you don’t hear anything.

The recruiter in me starts to come out with that. I’m frustrated by that as well because I was always driven, me and my teams, we wanted to get back to people. This is not an excuse, but this is reality. All of the automation that’s coming into job submittals, resume submittals has made it possible for people that are not qualified or even close to being qualified to submit. I’ve been pulsing a lot of recruiters. We’ll always do that. Recruiters are spending a massive amount of time just cleaning databases up and getting down to the core candidates. There’s this comment that machines and artificial intelligence are doing all of this. Artificial intelligence is not saying yes and no. They’re grading, but recruiters have to go back and look.

It’s the sheer numbers that they’re dealing with.

By the way, I’m not defending my fellow recruiters. What I’m saying is that’s the reality. We have to get better at that. Ghosting people is not the right way to do it.

GYTM 23 | Job Search

Job Search: Loneliness comes from the fact that if you’re working and doing a job search, there isn’t a lot of people you can tell.


It’s certainly discouraging and feeds into that loneliness. A community like the HireClub would be a wonderful asset for anyone looking in the job search process.

I think it points out to something that, I know you do this all the time. It’s universal the idea of, “Okay, don’t isolate.” If there’s one central message that when you’re in transition for anything, isolation is the worst thing you can do.

A lot of times these people, you’re doing this from home. Maybe a spouse or significant other is out working. You’re in the house all day by yourself. I tell people even just going to a coffee shop, get yourself out of your home, at least be around people.

The other thing that’s interesting is the loneliness also comes from the fact that if you’re working and doing a job search, there aren’t a lot of people you can tell. All of a sudden, your behavior’s changing at work. All of a sudden, you have a lot of dental appointments. How many fillings can you have in a 30-day period of time? There’s a lot of that that goes on too and that’s discomforting. Having a process, having a community or at least a baseline of people that are able to keep you in check a little bit and give you some outlets.

A little support and encouragement too. Thank you so much, Mike. This has been wonderful. First of all, thank you for the work you’re doing in helping people with this process of not only the job search process, but also identifying careers where they can get a better sense of meaning and purpose. To utilize their strengths and talents to make a more positive contribution to the world here.

There are two people that have been inflection points in my life around this. One is a gentleman named Steve Hernandez. Steve runs the career development program at Wharton San Francisco. We met and we realized we had such a similar philosophy. He’s invited me to be a deep participant in this program. Steve Hernandez directs career development at Wharton. Many of the programs I described were really Steve’s idea and I’m honored that Steve brought me in to partner with him. When you meet special people like that, you have to acknowledge them and just be thankful they’re in your life. I want to make sure people hear that about Steve.

Thank you. Is there another person you had mentioned?

The gentleman who founded HireClub, Ketan Anjaria. Truly, you get people like him and Steve doing things like this and they’re affecting a lot of people in a really positive way.

Mike, we’re here at The Coaching Connector. We’re more than happy to spread the word to as many people as possible about the work you’re doing, the work Steve and Ketan are doing here. Mike, what is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

My website is Mikecoach.com. I got lucky in the URL. It explains my practice. There are easy ways to get in touch with me and right down to even accessing my calendar if they need to.

Thank you so much. Mike also has a profile on The Coaching Connector, which is www.TheCoachingConnector.com. Be sure to check him out there as well. Thank you so much, Mike. This has been wonderful. I’m excited about spreading the word about what you’re doing and connecting some of the people, my clients and people I know to your work.

I say the same. I think the work you’re doing for the coaches is just critical, so needed. Thank you for that too.

Important Links:

 About Mike Manoske

GYTM 23 | Job SearchMike Manoske is a Professional Certified Coach who assists in the Career Success programs at the Wharton Executive MBA Program in San Francisco. He works with individuals struggling with job or career search, and leadership.






  • Lentino, L.M. (2014). Constructive thinking how to grow beyond your mind. Sudbury, MA: Grow Beyond Your Mind.

Limits of Liability / Warranty Disclaimer

Web Analytics