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Applying the 8 Characteristics of Resilience to the Job Search Journey

 By John Lenihan, MBA, SPHR, Senior Consultant, Gallagher MSA Search

I recently attended a Wellness Series presented by Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri at a national HR association meeting that discussed The 8 Characteristics of Resilience.  This thought provoking and informative presentation highlighted how to implement resilience to practice in your everyday life.  Since we in the executive search field are always having conversations with individuals looking for a new job, I decided to take the core message of The 8 Characteristics and apply them to the job search journey:-

·         Optimism: Envision positive outcomes!  Whether you are having a screening interview over the phone, interviewing with the hiring executive for the first time or taking an executive assessment as part of the interview process, your chances of a desired outcome are increased if you visualize success going into it.

·         Flexibility: Think big!  If you are just starting the job search process, challenge yourself to broaden your search and your thinking.  There’s nothing wrong with seeing yourself as a functional or industry specialist, but don’t limit your job search without giving it the appropriate reflection and consideration on the front-end.  Flexibility can also come into play when consider elements of an offer package or a geographical relocation you may not have otherwise considered. 

·         Perspective:  Try “underreacting” for once!  Take the extra few minutes to consider setbacks in a larger context.  Realize that job searches at this level are typically marathons not sprints, and that there are lessons to be learned from most disappointments.  Simply put, the big picture allows you to see more. 

·         Acceptance:  The dreaded “there’s nothing’ you can do!” Come to appreciate that some aspects of a job search are bound to fall outside of your sphere of influence and sphere of control.  If you are Type A (like me) it can be extremely difficult to accept that important factors are out of your hands.  But if you accept this fundamental truth, you can focus on factors you can control, which is undeniably a better use of your time and energy. 

·         Self-Confidence:  You got in the door for a reason!  I often give this advice to candidates who are in later stages of interviews but can also be applied to early stages and even phone screenings.  Remind yourself that you have made it to this stage because there is a stated interest in your knowledge, skills and abilities. Sometimes just getting to that stage is half the battle. 

·         Insightfulness:  At the interview stage specifically, be sure to pay attention to what people are really saying, ask questions that will provide valuable answers (stay away from the “yes or nos”), notice nonverbal cues in conversations about certain topics, even pay attention to pauses!  These are all examples of how you can employ intuitiveness in an effective way.   

·         Perseverance:  Convince yourself that you have an edge over other candidates for a position because you have faced adversity and you carry the lessons of those difficulties with you as an advantage. 

·         Humor:  Seeing and appreciating the humorous side of adversity – as difficult as it may be at times—will only cultivate a stronger ability to demonstrate many of the above characteristics themselves.  







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