Managing The Ups and Downs of The Recruiting Business

recruiting recruitment staffing Apr 02, 2024

The recruiting industry presents many challenges that can lead to big emotional swings. These ups and downs can cripple productivity and lead to stress and burnout. Some of the challenges that trigger these swings include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Situations where your work seems “wasted” despite doing everything in your power.
  • Your “product” determines where it is “sold” and can change its mind at any time. 
  • Constant interactions with people who say and do things that can really piss you off!

Though we rarely stop to think about it, emotions play an important role in our lives since: 

  1. They're essential to living a meaningful, satisfying, and successful life. Without them, life would be dull and flat. 
  2. Making decisions requires emotions to assign weight or impact to your choices. Without emotions, we couldn’t choose between receiving  $1 million or a peanut because we wouldn’t feel the emotional pull of a preference and would get caught in a thinking loop.  

The bottom line is that we need our emotions to function. Our problems occur when we don’t understand and manage our emotions effectively. When this happens, they run our lives instead of being the helpful resource they were designed to be.

How emotions work

Emotions occur as a response to our beliefs. For example, if your candidate no-showed or ghosted a client interview, you may get angry because you believe the candidate demonstrated a lack of respect for you and your client.

If you find out your candidate had a car accident on the way to the interview, you probably wouldn’t feel angry because your belief about the cause of the no-show would change. In short, change your belief, and you change your emotional response.

Your emotions can help you identify beliefs that hinder your success and happiness. Without emotions, these beliefs remain hidden from your awareness. Let’s explore this further:

  • If someone asked you to write down all of your beliefs, you'd probably stop after you listed a small number because you need context to identify them.
  • Emotions provide the context to stop and consider why you feel as you do. 

Negative emotions 

Most people would like to eliminate negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, and depression. However, negative emotions exist for a reason and should not be resisted or eliminated.  For example, fear can keep you from doing things that may hurt or kill you. Anger can drive you to take action on things you were putting off.

The problem is when negative emotions take over and run your life. If resisting or eliminating negative emotions is not the answer, what is?  The best solution is to learn how to manage them. Here are four basic steps to help you manage negative emotions:

Step 1: Accept situations as they are rather than how you wish they were. If you invest your time and energy dwelling on how your current situation sucks, you’re likely to get stuck in being upset. Your energy then gets frozen in something that already happened (the past), which you cannot change. When you accept the situation as “it is what it is” you can shift your energy to the things you can do to move forward and even turn your misfortune into an advantage for yourself and others.

Step 2: Calm your mind. The mind’s stress (“fight or flight” response) kicks in when we're upset. This shuts down the rational thinking part of our brain. This is why you can’t think clearly when you’re upset. In this state, your fear-based thinking can easily take over and create a cascade of irrational thoughts that feed more of the same. Ever been there before?

The solution is to calm your mind down so rational, objective, reality-based thinking can regain control. Some proven techniques include focusing on slow, deep breaths, talking to rational people you trust, and going for a walk—anything to distance you from what’s upsetting you so you can calm your mind. Then, you can think and act wisely. 

Step 3: Focus on the things that are in your control (your center of influence). Practice letting go of the rest. When you work in your center of influence, you regain your power to impact your desired outcomes. In this state, hope, engagement, and positive emotions tend to follow. Focusing on the myriad things you don’t control destroys this power and sets you up as a victim. Negative emotions will take over when you’re in victim mode.

Step 4: Accept that managing emotions is a skill you can learn.  Nobody is born knowing how to manage emotions. If you spend time with an infant, you'll notice that they initially lack the ability to manage emotions. With practice, you can become skilled at managing negative emotions so that they don’t derail your productivity, success, and enjoyment of your life. If you decide that your current difficulty in emotional management is a permanent trait, you won’t learn the skills needed to change your results and life.

Positive Emotions

Positive emotions bring joy, enthusiasm, and a sense of well-being that makes you feel good! It’s wonderful to celebrate wins and express your elation. It’s terrific to have an overall “positive slant” to focus more on what you want and appreciate rather than what you don’t want and resent. The danger is if you take it too far and try to ignore or deny your negative emotions because you “need to stay positive.”Doing this cuts you off from the truth while not addressing what’s bothering you. 

 Your growth, progress, and resilience result from facing negative emotions head-on. It’s important to ground yourself in the reality that mixed in with your wins and achievements will be losses and disappointments. It’s just part of the recipe for success. Reminding yourself of this truth can help you avoid long stretches of frustration and stifle productivity when nothing seems to go your way.

Healthy Emotional Balance Is Key

In summary, the most healthy and productive state requires being objective and realistic while maintaining hope for a good future. I call this realistic optimism an important aspect of high productivity and success. It is how you can maintain an appropriate balance between positive and negative emotions. A realistic optimist chooses the hopeful perspective without denying reality. A blind optimist only sees the positive and denies or ignores the negatives.

Stay in the loop.

Subscribe to our recruiting insights to grow your business sent directly to your inbox.