8 Ways to Build Self Esteem in Recruitment

In the often unforgiving world of recruitment, your self esteem can take a lot of knocks. Without anyone there to pick you up it can become an uphill struggle.

Whether that’s an expletive filled “no thanks” from an annoyed Gatekeeper or hitting the final hurdle of an eleven stage interview process.

You get a lot rejections in recruitment.

Even the best recruiters don’t place every single candidate.

If you feel you’re currently taking many more rejections than positives, you need to keep a clear mind. Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders won’t help anyone, certainly not your frame of mind.

Here are some tips if you’re currently struggling for a positive mental attitude. 

1. Don’t compare yourself to others

This is an extremely difficult thing to do in the recruitment world. Because unless you’re working for yourself with no staff, there’s always going to be a comparison. Most recruitment companies know that competition drives success. And they’re right.

The more you strive to beat someone (even if that someone is your own previous achievement) the greater the effort in your job. The harder you work, the less elements you leave to chance. It’s not just about getting results financially, it’s about consistent improvement.

Yes, you might be some way off the top in billings, but no one recruiter’s job or situation is exactly the same.

If you have to pit yourself against others, think about it in terms of the actual situation. Would they have performed differently in the same situation?

Would they have been more successful given the constraints? Possibly not.

If you know you’ve done all you can to make the best out of a situation, don’t fret on it. Be comfortable with the work you’ve put in and know when to walk away!

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2. Exercise

This is an obvious one, but exercise makes you feel better.

Whatever your sport of choice, the number one hardest thing about getting active is that first step out of the door. Whether you’re going to the gym, doing yoga or trying to relive your dream of being national fives champion, once you’re there you’ll enjoy it.

Exercising when you’re fed up is more difficult. And, looking at the entire process of ‘exercise’ can be daunting.

Just set yourself the goal of walking through the door of the gym. Then take each step as it comes. The endorphins will soon take over and make sure you leave with a smile on your face.

3. Know that EVERYONE makes mistakes

Everyone in the world makes mistakes. It’s probably the best method of learning we have. The things you don’t do well will often haunt you from overthinking and over analysing what went wrong. Especially if something you did, directly impacted on a negative result.

You’re not alone. You know you’re not alone. So don’t take it personally.

Apologise where necessary. Learn the lesson and try and be better the next time the situation raises its head.

4. Use positive language

If you use hypothetical language in your mind and out loud, you’re mentality will follow suit. By using positive affirmations, your outlook becomes more positive. You also have a higher chance of meeting the expectations you set for yourself.

Instead of popular positive assertions like; “I will be a success” that leave a lot of room for failure, try making your statements manageable and more easily achievable. For example; “I’m not going to give up until I’m successful.”

The more you use positive phrases in your language, the more positive your outlook on life. Including the negative situations.

5. Focus on the things you can change

There are recruitment leaders that will tell you ‘people make their own luck’. Whilst you can maximise the potential outcome of any situation you don’t make your own luck.

If ‘luck’ even exists.

When you’re in a process of facilitating a deal between two parties with as many exterior influences as recruitment, you are going to find things you can’t change. No matter how hard you work.

Think of the reasons for a placement not being made. The vast majority of them will not be down to you. The quicker you realise that, the quicker you get some positivity back.

Whether you start the day thinking the world’s against you, or adversely, feeling optimistic about the possibilities, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

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6. Celebrate the small stuff

Whether it’s getting an interview for an exceptionally difficult role, making progress with a target client, or finally meeting that elusive candidate… pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Not all results are shown on the gross profit.

That interview may turn into a placement. The progress with the client, however minimal, is still progress. The best relationships are not forged over a quick email asking for business. Success takes time.

7. Learn to take compliments

When your self esteem is lacking you’ll shy away from praise and find it difficult to accept compliments. There’s a shortcut to being better at taking acclaim. Thank the person that gave it. Add nothing else like “but I don’t agree…” just force yourself to say “Thanks” and move on.

Over time you’ll be much more comfortable in doing so, and eradicate any overbearing self criticism.

8. Make a list of the things you’re good at (and hone them)

Much like being unable to take a compliment, when you’re in a rut, you’ll focus on the things that have recently gone wrong. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives, and when an outcome doesn’t go as planned the sour aftertaste will be the focus.

Try instead to focus on the positives of any situation. If in doubt, try listing everything you would consider yourself good at. There’ll be plenty.

Whether you keep this list on your desk. On your phone. Or make a new one every week. It’s a great exercise. You can then make actionable steps after doing one, meaning self improvement comes more easily, and based on positives not criticism.

Knowing what you’re good at and developing those skills will directly impact not only your self esteem but your success too.


Maintaining your self esteem in an industry which knocks you back more times than it picks you up is difficult. The quicker you are to bounce back, the higher your mental durability and the less restricted you are.

Even for the most self assured and confident of individuals there will be times you feel like giving up. The good news is, you can get better at building self esteem.

Follow the tips above and you’ll be en route to becoming a happier, more positive and ultimately more successful recruiter.

 

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