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Lately, I’ve seen something new. Or, maybe it’s just resurfacing. Hiring managers are asking job seekers about their hobbies. But, they’re not asking in the normal friendly way. They’re not simply trying to get to know the job seeker better.

No. Now, they’re asking about hobbies because they want to let the job seeker know what they can and cannot do in their personal time while they’re working for the company. Have you heard of this? It’s quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine.

We all have a certain amount of free time. Most of us have a few hours here and there at night or on the weekend. We may choose to have a big family that we spend time with. We may do volunteer work. We may garden. We may run an eBay store. Or, we may have some other side hobby that generates a few dollars here and there. You get the idea.

The problem is, the hiring manager is trying to put limits around what the employee can do with their personal time.

It would be inappropriate for an employer to ask an employee not to have children because children are a distraction. Don’t you agree? In the same way, it is inappropriate for an employer to ask an employee not to pursue certain hobbies.

Instead, ask the employee how they will excel at their job. Ask them what they plan to do to be the best in their field. Find out what the employee will be doing during work hours to help contribute to the success of the company. Find out about their past track record.

The one time where it makes sense to worry about an employee’s hobbies is this. The hobby should not be pursued during work hours. It should not be done on a work computer, or at a work location. It should not compete with the company’s business. It should not require the use of confidential company information. And, the hobby should follow local laws. These all make sense. Your hobby shouldn’t directly hurt the business or use the business’ resources.

Aside from these things, hobbies are just that – hobbies. Whether yours is to have a big family or to run an eBay store, what’s done off the clock is nobody’s business but yours.

If an employee is underperforming, the deficit should be addressed, not the hobby. It’s the employee’s responsibility to manage their personal time in the way that they choose. The employee should not be forced to choose their job over the rest of their life. Both work time and personal time are important pieces of our individual lives. Having hobbies outside of work most likely makes us happier and even more productive during work hours.

If you’re hiring, only ask questions about hobbies if you truly want to learn about the job seeker. But, beware –personal information can create bias in your process.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland

178 | Gutsy Job Seeking | Kate White, Author & Former Cosmopolitan Editor-In-Chief, New York, NY

Episode 178 is live! This week, we talk with Kate White in New York, NY.

Kate is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve murder mysteries AND multiple career books, including I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask for the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, and The Gutsy Girl Handbook: Your Manifesto for Success.

On today’s episode, Kate shares:

  • What she learned from her career as Editor-In-Chief at Cosmopolitan magazine
  • Her advice for media and journalism job seekers
  • Brave job search strategies for job seekers
  • Tips on your appearance during an interview
  • What she learned about asking for a higher salary that will help you in your job search

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Kate’s work, visit her website at  You can also follow her on Twitter at @katemwhite. You can find her books on Amazon.

Thank YOU for listening! If you’ve enjoyed the show today, don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts! When you subscribe, it helps to make the show easier for other job seekers to find it!

Indeed Unveils New Products for 2018

I recently had the opportunity to attend Indeed Interactive, in Austin, Texas. is the world’s largest job website. It’s like the Google of job searches. Indeed Interactive is the annual conference where thousands of human resources professionals come together to learn about the latest updates to the website and to job seeking this year.

Indeed’s biggest announcement for 2018 was Indeed Assessments. In short, it will allow employers to add testing to their hiring process. So, in addition your application, resume, and job interviews, you may also be asked to take a quiz at some point along the way.

This testing technology was born out of a 2017 acquisition of a company called Interviewed. The technology can be used to screen candidates for a number of different jobs and departments, from technology to sales and customer service.

The purpose of the assessments is to try to make the hiring process more fair. Raj Mukherjee, SVP of Product at Indeed said, “Assessments helps to democratize hiring by giving job seekers an equal opportunity to showcase their qualifications when applying for jobs, so they are able to find the right opportunities faster and easier.”

This logic makes sense. When it comes to jobs, that’s one of the top goals of the internet: to level the playing field of hiring a bit. Never before have we had so much information at our finger tips. Job seekers can find out just how much companies are paying. They can look at employer reviews before they ever step in the door. And, they can connect with company employees through various networking websites.

In fact, Indeed also expanded their company pages this year. Job seekers will now be able to learn more about their prospective employers before applying. Paul Wolfe, SVP of Human Resources at Indeed shared that, “online company reviews are second only to salary information when considering a job offer.” It’s also important to note that Indeed does not allow companies to edit their reviews – even the negative ones. This helps you to ensure that you’re getting the honest scoop on the company before you decide whether or not you want to work there.

Hiring is a complex process. The decision to hire you is typically based on a number of factors, including the content of your resume, how well you interview, and now, how well you’re able to showcase your skills on an exam.

But, as you’re searching, you should remember this. Job searching is a two way street. It’s great for a company to want to hire you for a particular role. But, the job should be right for you too. While the company is evaluating you through job interviews and assessments, evaluate them right back through online company reviews and pay data. The very best fit is one that works well for both sides. Lining up the interests of both sides is part of searching for greatness.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

Conquering the Tech Interview with Confidence

I often get questions about what it’s like to interview for a technology job. In particular, job seekers ask what it’s like to interview to be a computer programmer. In fact, my most popular podcast episode ever was with a former Google recruiter, Gayle Laakmann, who described how to prepare for a coding interview.

Years ago, after my bachelor of computer and systems engineering, I competed in a few technical interviews. In the most memorable interview, I was asked to create a complete website. This was before the days of Squarespace and WordPress. The site had to be hand coded, and frankly, it took forever. I learned in this interview that employers have high expectations of computer programmers.

Perhaps they have good reason to give extensive interviews. It’s been said that a great coder can produce ten times as much code as a bad coder. And, it’s hard to get rid of a full time employee after they’re hired. Plus, unlike many other jobs, you really can give a developer a skills test. There are few other jobs where the interview process can give such clear and accurate feedback. On top of everything else, developers aren’t cheap. A company wants to be sure they know what they’re getting in advance.

A job seeker recently shared their coding interview experience with me, in hopes that it might help other developers. They had an initial interview at a company that was looking for experience with a particular programming language. Quickly, the candidate shared that they have not used this programming language in a number of years. They were assured that it would be no problem. The fundamentals were much more important.

During the second round of interviews, the same candidate was asked to complete a test. The test was using a technology that they weren’t familiar with. They were able to do research on their own, but it wasn’t enough. As you can imagine, the candidate walked away feeling unhappy with the experience.

Similar to the “build a website” homework that I had, this homework was meant to push the candidate’s limits. As frustrating as the experience can be, companies use these techniques to vet out potential employees. And, in some cases, the company does this to their own detriment. They can easily burn through candidates and come up with no one to hire.

As a candidate, one takeaway is this. Interviewing is a two way street. I often compare it to dating. Since when do we go on a first date and hope the person will marry us, before we’ve even ordered drinks? Interviewing is no different. Prepare and do your best. But, take the time to pay attention to how the hiring manager treats you. Look for a mutual match. If you don’t find a good fit, keep moving on. Just like with dating, if you stay with someone who’s a bad fit, you may miss out on the right opportunity.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland


Secrets Recruiters Won’t Tell You

Applying for a job seems like a fair process. You apply online, and if you’re a good fit for the job, the company will give you a call. You’ll go in person for an interview and show your expertise. Then, the company will carefully decide who the most qualified person is.

When you don’t land the job, despite being extremely qualified, it can leave you wondering what you’re doing wrong. “Why didn’t the company hire me? What could I have done differently?”

The issue is, not everything is really as it seems in the world of hiring. There are a number of things the recruiter won’t (and often can’t) reveal to you when you’re interviewing for a job.

  1. The hiring manager has a preselected candidate. Sometimes this person is internal, and sometimes they come from the outside. It’s not uncommon for the hiring manager to have someone picked out before you get there. But, the company continues with your interview. This is often because they need to meet their internal process requirements around hiring.
  2. The position has been put on hold. I have seen this more times than I care to count. A company is midway through the hiring process. They have already started interviewing candidates. Then, something happens to put the brakes on the entire thing. Perhaps, they have run out of funding, and a hiring freeze has gone into effect. Or, it’s possible that the hiring manager has moved to another department, or has left the company completely. The big boss doesn’t want to move forward until a new hiring manager is in place, so they can make the final call.
  3. The company is reworking the role. If a role is new, it’s possible that after the hiring manager conducted a few interviews, they realized that their expectations were a little off. Perhaps they want to find someone with a slightly different skillset. Or, they may have realized that the talent they’ve interviewed is a bit outside of their price range. Whatever the reason, they’ve pulled the job posting down and are going through the process to come up with a new, refined role.
  4. The organization moves slowly. This one is always a big surprise. Perhaps you had a great interview and were told you would hear something within a week. Then, nothing happened. You assumed the job was completely lost until a few months later, someone from the company calls for a follow up interview.

Your best chance of landing a job is to practice and prepare. But, if you don’t receive a job offer, don’t assume it is 100% your fault. The company has a number of things going on behind the scenes that will impact whether or not you’re hired. Unfortunately, they will rarely disclose these issues to you.

Rather than focusing on failures, use them as practice to prepare for the next big interview!

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

The New World of Social Media

Social media used to be so fun. We could all stay connected with friends and family, for long periods of time and around the world. It felt like social media was expanding our friend circles. For example, I have reconnected with friends that date back to kindergarten. Before the internet, this would have been much more difficult.

Fast forward to today. If you’re like me, you may feel at a bit of a loss about the purpose of social media anymore. Sharing a photo of the wonderful food you ate last night feels insignificant. We’ve also learned that posting beautiful family photos or vacation pictures may come across as bragging. Many folks feel negative after seeing their friends doing so well – even if their online personas are a bit of a show.

If what we were posting is so insignificant, perhaps we should be posting about something important? There’s so much to pick from in today’s news. Is that what we should be posting about? Should we use our online voices to be heard?

I’m honestly not sure. If you’re like me, you can probably see the argument for both sides. On one hand, it’s important to speak up for what’s right. It’s important to share your views and try to make a difference. On the other, I wonder how much social media is helping our cause, and how much it’s alienating us from others.

Someone recently said to me, “Wow, I had no idea how many of my friends I don’t like. When they start posting their political views on Facebook and I don’t agree with them, I know we can no longer be friends.”

In a certain regard, this is sad. The more we divide ourselves by our beliefs, the less we are willing to talk through important ideas together. As children, we made friends based on who share the same hobbies, not who voted for the same person.

This recent string of bad news has left many people struggling to define the role of social media. When social media first started, it was a relatively positive experience filled with cats and babies and vacation photos. Now, it’s all a bit different.

At the end of the day, we each have to decide how we want to use our social media. Whether it’s sharing family photos or discussing politics, the decision about what to share is a personal choice.

With that said, one thing is for sure. If you’re looking for a new job, your future boss is likely looking at your social media. We may assume they are just looking at our resume, but it is rarely the case. They will Google your name, and will go straight for your social media profiles.

Managers are people too. They have unfair biases that come into play. When you decide what to share and how to use your voice, just remember – the world is watching.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at