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Dealing with the Pace and Pressure of Recruitment


Recruiters must learn to be tough to deal with the pace and pressures of their role, says Ali Shalfrooshan. Resilience is essential in the recruitment industry; the work is fast paced, pressurised and constantly changing. The relentless requirement to deliver the right people with the right skills at the right time can feel overwhelming. Recruiters need to be thick skinned and be able to survive and thrive in any situation; they need to be resilient.

First, it’s important to recognise that resilience is not an immutable trait that you have or don’t have — it is a way of thinking that you can improve. Everyone has shown resilience at some point in their career. It is not just about dealing with insurmountable challenges — it is also about dealing with the daily pressures and setbacks littered through our working lives. Whatever natural level of resilience you may have, you can make yourself more effective at dealing with challenge and change by optimising the way you think and reflect on your experiences. Over the years, we have helped many people in a wide range of industry sectors to become more resilient, from graduates to board directors. Although there are some major differences between these people, some very consistent skills underpin resilience.

Based on our experience, here are some of the most simple and useful ways you can adopt to become more resilient;

Understand your resilience

The first step is understanding how you are resilient. This can be done through self-reflection — thinking about the challenges you have faced before and how you dealt with them. You could ask for feedback from colleagues or friends, but make sure you find someone who knows you well and is willing to be candid. You may wish to use more structured methods, such as psychometric resilience questionnaires, 360-degree feedback or personal development programmes.

Step outside your comfort zone

Taking on challenges that you feel less comfortable with is often the best way to develop your level of resilience and, ultimately, your confidence in dealing with demanding situations. If you fail to push boundaries, take risks and accept the possibility of making mistakes, you’re unlikely to react well to challenges when they arise. It’s possible to learn just as much, if not more, from mistakes than successes, so force yourself out of your comfort zone and give yourself new experiences. Each time you push yourself, you will feel more confident and you will be more likely to take new challenges head on.

Learn to be optimistic

Despite popular belief, optimism is not a fixed trait: you can develop it. One way to do this is to reframe how you perceive success and failure. When things go wrong, optimists will view this as just a temporary problem that can be fixed, rather than a bigger issue that is their own fault. If you allow yourself to become fixated on a mistake rather than learning and moving on from it, this will have a knock-on effect in other aspects of your work. By taking more of the optimistic approach, you will be able to see the positives in any situation and react in a way that is more conducive to solving the problem at hand.

Regulate your emotions

Maintaining focus and a calm presence in challenging situations or high-pressure roles is important in terms of thinking with clarity, building team dynamics and presenting in a professional manner. Therefore, the ability to manage your emotions is critical. Simple breathing and imagery techniques can be useful in helping to reduce physical responses to stressful environments. Take a deep breath before responding to any potentially intense situations and, if possible, take a moment away from the chaos to compose yourself.

Understand your purpose

If the goals that you would like to achieve and dreams that you want to realise are meaningful, the more likely it is you will be able to put things into perspective. Therefore, a key way to enhance your resilience is by having a purposeful direction. If you have purpose, challenges and setbacks will be seen as bumps on a road rather than all-encompassing disasters. Take time to think about what goals you might have, in both the short and the long term, and make them concrete and targeted. By having these goals, not only are you more likely to make them a reality but also you will do it with more resilience.

By adopting these techniques, it is certainly possible to become more aware of how you are able to deal with difficult situations and adjust your thinking accordingly. What is also clear is that resilience is an attribute that recruiters must develop if they are to thrive in their ever-stressful profession.

Power Points – to become resilient, you need to;

Reflect, don’t ruminate: Improving the way you think about your experiences can make you more resilient. Consider how you dealt with challenges in the past, but don’t get fixated on the failures — this will stop you from moving on.

Learn: Learn from both failure and success, and get some candid feedback from colleagues or friends, or through formal methods, to gain awareness of your own levels of resilience. Seek the unfamiliar: Taking on projects outside your comfort zone can increase both confidence and resilience, so take risks and accept you may make mistakes. This will make you more able to deal with unexpected and new challenges.

Focus: Keep the main issues in mind whether you are working with other people in high-pressure situations or considering what you want to achieve in the long term.

Ali Shalfrooshan


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