Aimée Leduc Shares 7 Detective Tricks to Strengthen Your Job Search Skills

Who better than Aimée Leduc, mystery novelist Cara Black’s resourceful and oh-so-clever sleuth, to help you find one of those sneaky, lurking-in-the-shadows jobs!

On my recent trip out to the Bay Area, I had the pleasure of meeting Cara. We thought it might be fun to combine Aimée’s keen detective skills with the very skills you need to get beyond the most-easily found jobs – to help you find a job you really love.

And so…here’s my interview with Aimée Leduc, along with some job search tips she and I both hope will help:

Ronnie Ann: Welcome Aimée! I’d love you to tell my readers how you became an ace detective in the first place. Jobs sometimes happen in one way, but then morph into other things we might enjoy better if we keep tuned in to what our heart and instincts are saying.

Aimée: Thank you Ronnie Ann. My grandfather, who’d been with the Suréte for years, opened Leduc Detective on rue du Louvre years ago. My father, a former policeman took it over and I inherited the agency after my father’s unexplained death in a Place Vendôme explosion. I’d been helping my father but turned from criminal work to computer security after that. My heart wasn’t in the criminal investigation side. I drafted my friend from the Sorbonne, René Friant, a dwarf and computer hacker extraordinaire and he’s my partner in the business.

Ronnie Ann: Wonderful story. Speaks to the idea that our career is a journey that best unfolds over time. As you know, openings (and clues) can happen at any time.

As a detective, you have to follow every lead – just as with a good job search. Can you think of a time when a lead that seemed kind of weak helped you solve a crime?

Aimée: Every lead, Ronnie Ann is crucial. No matter how small, how unimportant it seems. A lot of investigative work in a crime involves following up and going over every detail no matter how small. In my latest investigation in Murder in the Palais Royal, I discovered an old tin of sweets from Lille (northern France) in a basement and this clue led me to the murderer. I’d like to tell you more but it would give away the story!

Ronnie Ann: Sounds like a sweet clue. 😉 Since strong job search technique requires opening our eyes and ears to all possibilities to uncover new leads, what tips would you offer my readers to help sharpen their senses?

Aimée: Keeping a notebook and jotting things down right away (i.e. a name, a bistro) so later I can refer to it or follow up helps so much.

Ronnie Ann: Yes…anywhere along your job search (or career journey) such as at a party or  even overheard on a bus, you might hear of an interesting organization or the name of a company executive or even a cool project you’d like to connect with. In fact, just recently I heard about a major problem an agency was trying to fix and I jotted down the name of the agency and head of the program in case I want to offer my consulting services.

Aimée: Exactly!

Ronnie Ann: So after taking in the big picture and being open to all possibilities, how do you eventually narrow your focus enough to find your culprit?

Aimée: Putting myself in the culprit’s mind, trying to understand their motive, what they want, what they’re looking for, their goal is essential. René and I, at Leduc Detective, send out proposals to firms offering computer security services. Tailoring our services to their needs. In solving a crime, it’s similar, and figuring out the who and why is essential.

Ronnie Ann: Just like in a job search where we are most effective when we put ourselves in the mind of the employer’s needs and goals – and even their culture.

But sometimes a path doesn’t work out and job seekers can be discouraged. I get e-mails all the time from folks who just can’t stand another day of waiting and another round of rejections. What do you do to keep your spirits up when clue after clue seems to lead nowhere?

Aimée: Laugh. Someone told me I never let up and never dress down. Dogged determination and trying to maintain a joie de vivre is essential.

Ronnie Ann: A great way to find unadvertised jobs (most are) is to find allies in your job search by using networking and informational interviews. And then once you find them, the real key is knowing how to ask good questions. What advice would you give my readers about questioning techniques?

Aimée: Meeting at a bistro, plying your subject with wine always helps. Smile. You’d be amazed that outside of a professional setting (i.e. a boardroom, a police office) a social setting loosens up your suspect/ subject/ prospective employer and the questions come more naturally and can lead to another. I think it’s important for the person asking the questions to observe the body language, the unspoken clues and use that as guideline. In a non-professional setting it’s less direct, less formal and gives a naturalness as opposed to a list of quiz-like questions.

Ronnie Ann: Yes! Keep it conversational and natural – just like in a good interview. Of course job searches, especially in a tough economy, can seem to take forever. What suggestions can you offer my readers to stay determined and pursue their goals relentlessly no matter what obstacles get in their way?

Aimée: Maybe I can liken it to my recent investigation in the Palais Royal. The police suspected I shot my partner, an eyewitness put ‘me’ at the scene, then a mysterious sum of money appeared in our bank account which roused the attention of the financial tax bureau.  Someone was trying to frame me, destroy my business. But who and why? I used all the contacts I had, called in favors and followed every lead because the police wouldn’t…with a combination of this and deductive reasoning I followed every lead I could. No one else could save me but myself. I fought to save my business, my name and also my life.

Ronnie Ann: Great story, Aimée! A job search too can be a fight for your life. I ask that each and every reader let nothing detour you (within legal, moral and ethical boundaries of course 🙂 ) or keep you from finding the right job for you (at least for now) – no matter who or what gets in the way…and no matter what anyone says to you. Definitely turn to allies – but in the end, know that YOU are your own strongest ally!

Finally Aimée…since a large part of detective work and jobs (once we get them) is learning how to communicate with the person we work for and help them understand what we really need from them, what would you like to tell Cara Black that might make your work life better?

Aimée: A new motor scooter, please!

Are you listening Cara? After all she’s been through and the awards she brings you, can you please at the very least give this hard-working woman a new scooter! 😉

Cara Black is a mystery writer who lives in the Bay Area. She’s a San Francisco Library Laureate and three-time Anthony award-nominee for her bestselling Aimée Leduc Investigations series, set in Paris. Her latest book is Murder in the Palais Royal – Aimee Leduc Investigations, No. 10.  For more about her book and tour, you can also check out Cara’s website.

Thanks to Aimée and Cara for submitting to my relentless interrogation. And if any of you can think of some job search detective skills you’d like to add, please feel free to share them with us!


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. What a fun, lovely reminder to always keep our spirits up and to look everywhere for clues. You never know where the next job lead will come from. I’m so glad you had a chance to get together with Cara, Ronnie Ann. We always enjoy seeing her.

  2. Ronnie Ann,
    Your best post yet! (And you’ve had so many good ones.)
    Thank you.

  3. Bravo Ronnie Ann!

    Aimée you’re an inspiration.

    …and I say that as someone else who never leaves home sans pencil and notebook 😉

  4. Truly a clever way of combining fact with fiction with many clues on ways to job search. Enjoyed this post 🙂 Look forward to future creative master pieces.

  5. When I read job blogs I often hear a lot of echo, with multiple bloggers saying more-or-less the same thing. Thanks for writing a unique post!

  6. Well that was a fresh and engaging approach. Thanks Aimée, Cara and Ronnie Ann!

    The takeaway? In the end, I am my strongest ally. 🙂

  7. Thanks everyone. Appreciate your comments and most of all just knowing you’re there. Yup, Perri…in all things, that’s a powerful takeaway.

    ~ Ronnie Ann

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