To coin the old cliché, "Recruitment is a rollercoaster". It can take you from high to low and everywhere in between in the space of a day. On a good day, it’s the best ride in the park, on the not so good days, well, we all know the answer to that one.
The same can almost be said for anxiety. The difference with anxiety is that the rollercoaster doesn’t necessarily close at 5:30 pm.
Like most jobs, recruitment can be stressful, and with the added factor of it being a target-driven sales role, this can lead to anxiety, especially when things are not going as well as you’d like.
Anxiety will have a nasty little habit of telling you:
- You are not good enough
- Other people are doing a better job than you
- If you blank this month, you’ll probably get fired
- Your manager has no confidence in you
- Even when you do have a good month, it was down to luck
But, and this is a big but, just because you may live with anxiety, that does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t work in recruitment. The old school thinking of ‘if you have anxiety, you shouldn’t work in sales’ is exactly that, old school, it just doesn’t work like that.
And there are ways to manage anxiety. Here are my three pieces of advice on dealing with anxiety in recruitment.
Do not compare yourself to others
In the world of CBT we call this a ‘limiting belief’, it is a negative thought. Comparing yourself to others comes from a negative place and only leads to negative behaviour. It’s hard to do, especially in recruitment, but do not compare yourself to other people in your team. When you compare yourself to someone else, you are essentially telling yourself you are not good enough.
By all means, ask that person what they are doing differently, use it as an opportunity to potentially learn a new way of doing things. Focus on the things that you can control.
Accept you cannot control everything
Anxiety comes from a place of feeling out of control in a particular situation. It is human nature to want to be in control, and anxiety is a heightened consequence of feeling like you have none. When you try to control a problem, you are under the illusion that you can control the entire problem. When in fact, you are only one cog, you cannot control the other parts of that problem. By understanding that allows you to separate yourself from the problem to focus on the things you can control.
Trust your numbers.
Recruitment is not a paint by numbers exercise, everyone will work slightly differently to get the same results. You need to understand what works for you. Comparing yourself to others will not help and neither will trying to control everything. Find a process that works for you and use the numbers as a guide. No matter how much anxiety rears its nasty little head, refer back to the numbers. And if the numbers are not the best, use them, step back and work out what you can change. And even when things are going well, anxiety will still show up like the best friend you never wanted, to tell you it was all luck and that you’re not good enough. Again, let your numbers do the talking, not your anxiety.