Recruiting in a stressful sector?

By GSR2R Admin | 11th December 2020

How successful recruiters work in a stressful sector

Recruitment is a high-pressure job, and that isn’t going away anytime soon. With 40,000+ recruitment companies in the UK, competition is increasing.

Highly skilled candidates are in strong demand, and clients have roles they are desperate to fill- and are putting pressure on you to deliver. You finally find them a great candidate, who then gets offered the job; all looks positive, then the candidate accepts another offer at the very last moment.

You aren’t happy, and neither is your client.

This scenario is all too common now with such fierce competition in the industry, and it’s easy to feel the heat.

The thing that will mark you out a top recruiter is not to let this pressure escalate into panic. A large study from Talent Smart showed that “90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control”.

So, here are some suggestions so you can make the next 12 months stellar rather than stressful!

Why Calmness is Critical

First things first – a little bit of stress isn’t bad – in fact, it is a motivator for most of us and even leads to new brain cell growth. It’s fair to say that all professional recruiters can handle a normal level of stress in their job.

The problem arises when the stress we face is prolonged, high-level stress. This has the opposite effect on our brain, flooding it with the stress hormone cortisol and provoking the fight-or-flight response.

This interferes with our ability to think clearly and creatively.

The Facts About Staying Calm: It Is Rarely as Bad as It Seems

It may seem catastrophic right now, but whatever has happened – whether you’ve lost a client, offended your boss, or lost the detail of a couple of specific candidates who would have been ideal for the role – it is unlikely to matter in the long term.

Regardless of the fallout, you need to realise that going into panic mode is only going to exacerbate the situation, so breath and take control.

 The Facts About Staying Calm: Everybody Makes Mistakes Sometimes

Don’t waste time beating yourself up about things that have gone badly. Of everyone around you, you’re probably blaming yourself the most – everyone else is rightly concentrating on different options to fix the issue.

How to Take Control of Your Stress?

So then, how do you take control of your stress? Luckily for us, there is a wide range of proven strategies out there to reduce stress.

Re-label Crisis as an Opportunity

Research from Harvard Business School shows that people who teach themselves to meet a ‘problem’ with excitement are far better in stress situations than worriers.

Relabelling all your negative emotions and fears as something positive, or at least less damaging, fear becomes anticipation, flustered becomes excited, and dread becomes caution.

Use those stress hormones flooding through your body to sharpen your mind towards positive outcomes – after all, the stress hormone was helpful in caveman times to fight off sabre-toothed tigers, and surely things in the office haven’t got quite that bad yet.


Deeply and evenly.

When you’re stressed, your body goes into a natural ‘fight or flight mode’, which stresses your system further. By breathing from the diaphragm, you allow enough oxygen into your body and mind to be able to think clearly.

Count from 1 to 10 as you inhale, then count from 1 to 10 as you exhale. Yoga and meditation are possible daily strategies to learn to breathe effectively and create a ‘stress buffer’.

Look After You!

Certain lifestyle choices will make it much more difficult for the stress monster to sink its scaly claws into you in the first place. Exercise, a good diet rich in Omega 3’s, enough sleep and less caffeine will make a noticeable difference to how you cope with stressful events as it soothes your nervous system.

Focus on The Positive and Put Things Into Perspective

It’s not easy to be smiling and happy when things are going wrong at work. But to break the stress feedback loop, all you need to do is find one thing to be grateful for or positive about – and focus on that just for a moment.

There’s tons of interesting research coming out of reputable universities about the power of being grateful on reducing our stress hormone levels. The billionaire Oprah Winfrey extols the virtues of 5 pieces of gratitude a day; its working for her so why not us?

That’s not to say that we need to become robots and not let anything affect us. That’s not only wildly unrealistic, but it’s also not all that helpful: the energy of a challenge is what keeps work interesting and is probably at least partly what attracted you to recruitment in the first place.

The key to keeping in control of your stress levels lies in how you view challenges, think through what is happening so you get a perspective, and how you take care of yourself – no matter what’s going on around you.

Until next time,


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