How to Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

I spent over six years as a Recruiter. During that time it was exclaimed, admittedly by more than one person, that I was a Pessimist. My normal retort to this was “I’m just a realist.” I think Recruitment can let cynicism creep into your psyche shortly after your first interview cancellation. You probably raise an eyebrow to an iron clad excuses and almost expect bad news from then on in.

My thinking when I was a Recruiter (and currently too) is this… “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” 

I’d bet a lot of Consultants still mentally spend commission off the back of an interview going well. The job would be a hell of a lot easier if it wasn’t for Candidates or Clients. Just ask anyone in sales whether they’re thankful of the fact their product can’t change its mind.

If you’ve spent a decent amount of time as a Recruiter. It’s possible, like me, you’ll be a touch cynical. So it’s important to keep a positive recruiter mental attitude.

And here (with the help of real science) is how you do it…

1. Be grateful

This is perhaps a weird point to start with. But that’s what makes it the perfect start. Research shows gratitude heightens your quality of life. If you’re not feeling positive right now, chances are something’s not gone right recently… you do work in recruitment.

You are however, incredibly fortunate within the context of the world we live in.

You have a roof over your head. You have a job which gives you opportunity to make money and be very successful. Be grateful for it and realise that if you’re going through a slump it’s just that. A slump.

Your next placement will put a smile back on your face. So visualise how you’ll do it and go get it.

2. Keep learning

Within your reach right now will be a device that can provide you with almost any piece of information you desire. Whatever that is. You can never know enough on anything. If you went back in time and told the scholars of old about the internet, they probably wouldn’t believe such a thing was possible.

Free education. On pretty much anything you can think of.

So use it. Learn more about recruitment. Read up on your specialism. On new tech. Even just about the world in general. Doing so will help you get new ideas, formulate new plans and let you harbour positive thoughts. Not only that but your network will thank you for sharing interesting information. Which will make you money.

3. Things aren’t perfect

‘Things’… i.e. your current situation, could be better.

But they always could. Rather than viewing that in a pessimistic sense, look at positives to make it better. You can earn more money. You can have more fun. You can be fitter. You can go on more incredible holidays.

Life’s an adventure. If you’re feeling stagnated, change something. It all starts with a step in the right direction.

4. Use positive language

This is a simple step that will affect you dramatically without you realising. “Can’t” is quite a restrictive word. Never use it about yourself. Use “won’t.”

Instead of using the phrase “I don’t know” try using “I need to find out.”

Rather than the words “I have to” try “I’m going to.”

You get the idea. Using words that reinforce a restrictive tone will make you feel pressured for no reason. You can take control over your own words and you’ll notice after a time how it alters your mindset. Everything you ever do is a decision that you’ve made. So describe it like that.


5. Focus on the present

Recruitment’s a job where you’ll be looking forward a lot. The next interview. The next placement. The next fee. The next client.

This means it can be difficult to live in the moment and see the wood from the trees. Studies have shown that being able to think in the present minute can help destress you. It’s good to forecast, especially in a sales role. But over thinking can mean you build up worries for no reason. Mark Twain famously said: “I’ve been through terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Worrying about hypothetical future scenarios won’t help you put money on the board. Take stock and evaluate the present.

6. Surround yourself with positive people

This is an easier one in recruitment, as I’d guess most people in your immediate vicinity will be positive. However, if they’re not. Change it. Change teams. Change Manager. Change job. Change company.

Surrounding yourself with positive people means you hear more positive statements and ideas. And therefore less negative ones.

If you can’t change the people you work with (you can by the way), then be the positive agent for change you want to see in those around you.

7. Do something meaningful (that’s not for the money)

This sounds like a cheesy one but it’s incredibly good for your self esteem and outlook in life… Be a good person.

It costs nothing to stand up on the tube for someone – you sit down too much anyway! Hold doors open. Be polite. Give candidates feedback if they haven’t got a job. Give candidates advice when you can’t place them. Spend time showing a less experienced Consultant a trick of the trade. 

Do something for charity. Help someone out. Not for reward, but because you are a good person and if everyone was, the world would be a better place. And when you’ve done this good deed, don’t feel like you have to publicise it on social media.

8. Listen to music

It might be difficult for some agencies to have music playing in the office. You can’t match everyone’s tastes.

But, whether your office has music in or not, make sure you do personally in your day. For many reasons.

Music can reduce stress and anxiety. It decreases pain. It improves your immunity. It aids memory and will also help you to exercise. Which in turn will definitely make you more positive.

Most people will say “you make your own luck in recruitment” which is yet to be proven. But if you’re more positive, you’ll certainly get more out of your career.

Arm yourself with a positive mental attitude and you’re half way there.