Dear Claudia,

All of the recent problems in our economy are making me nervous that I may lose my job. I’m a good recruiter, but there’s no guarantee for employment, right? What do you think the future holds for recruiters?

Generally Uneasy


Dear Uneasy,

The short answer to your question is, "It depends." It may not make you feel any better to know you’re in good company these days, but of course you are; unemployment continues to rise in most sectors, and as recruiters we get the front row seats to both cause and effect of economic trends. Just about everyone is a bit worried.

Here's something to think about: by nature or nurture, recruiters are some of the most intuitive people on the planet. Intuition is a survival skill in this industry, and therefore a significant driver of economies around the globe; and just like the bells that go off when you meet a candidate you don’t trust, or that funny feeling you get when a company that doesn’t tell you the whole story, there’s a reason why you’re feeling uneasy now. Your survival instinct is kicking in.

Fear is a nasty taskmaster that robs us of time and energy we can’t get back. So here’s how I see it: “general unease” is actually a wake up call for greater personal responsibility. By taking charge you redirect the energy in a more positive direction. For example, here are four areas you can affect, right now, by acting instead of worrying about something that may (or may not) come to pass:

Personal skills.
Take stock of what you know today, and what you don’t. Refresh your recruiting skills, learn something new, or stretch yourself to apply what you know in a new way. Read, take a class, work on a certification – do something, anything, to keep learning.

Personal finance.
Balancing the national budget may be difficult, but take it to your own back yard. Set a budget. Spend less. Save more. Eliminate debt. Fiscal responsibility starts at home, and that’s the truth.

Personal network.
What are you waiting for? Be visible, and not just with candidates and hiring managers. Network with your peers. Build your personal brand. Find other recruiters who (just like you) have little to gain immediately from the transaction. Invest in your local or industry recruiting networks, and give more than you expect to get. Visibility is something you manage daily.

Personal Karma.
There’s a reason why humans are generally born with two hands: one is to pull ourselves up to the next level, and the other is to reach behind and help someone get there too. Do good. Be kind. Give back. The legacy you leave really does matter.

The key to managing fear is action, and the key to effective action is planning in advance. If you’re worried about it, create a backup plan for the worst case scenario. Create several, in fact. But don’t just sit there and worry about it.

Now get back to work, before your boss has a really good reason to let you go.

**

In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

Do you have a question you'd like answered in this weekly forum? Drop me a line!

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"Amazing Article, Wonderful Wednesday Wisdom, Charming Claudia".
Gopi, thanks so much as always for your kind words~!
Put your game face on. While others shake and wither around you, up your game. Great athletes are great in the 4th quarter . . . when the opponent gets tired and your hard work and preparation pay off.

How can you be great? Read, reflect, contribute. Apply best practices and don't be afraid to crush sacred recruiting cows that died with the Industrialization Era. Look beyond the walls of our little Talent World - read the Economist, Fast Company, Fortune, and Wired. Great minds are great minds, and innovators are innovators, regardless what discipline they currently find themselves working within. We often seem to forget that as we're taught to think in terms of "target candidate profiles". Sometimes "down moments" in the business world provide "up moments" in other areas of our lives. Maybe those times allow us to get closer with family and friends; maybe we take up a new hobby. There is more to our lives than solely the work dimension.

I remember being 20 years old and running an indoc to get out of regular Marine Infantry and into Special Ops. There were times that I was pushed well beyond my physical limits . . . but I wouldn't allow myself to quit. As I looked around me, what started out as 20 indoc-ees had cut to 15 . . . to 10 . . . to 5 . . . to 3 (the real "cream".) The longer this went on, the more and more I realized that I wasn't battling pain or the environment around me - I was battling my own mind; my own psyche. And I knew (from my hard work and preparation to this point), that if I hurt, the guy next to me hurt twice as much.

The true test of a person's character is how we perform in the tough times, not the easy ones. Now is not the time to lay down - It's time to stand tall. And if something happens that is outside of your control, get up. Then get up again . . . and again . . . and again. Even if you fall 7 times, what matters is that you get up 8.

To channel Mcain and Obama during Tuesday's debate, "My Friends, now is not the time to have a wheel pop off the Straight-Talk Express" :)

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