The Resilient Recruiter: Got Resiliency?

Nov 12, 2008

Part One of Four: Intro to Resiliency
An Interview with Resiliency SME, Michael Ballard

Gotta love Facebook. That’s where I discovered Michael Ballard. When I saw his picture with a life-sized Elmo, I had to find out what this man was about. I was gripped by his personal story of resiliency as I learned that he managed to place 7th in sales out of a sales team of 78…in the midst of a four-month multi-treatment battle with cancer one year. That’s resiliency!

Michael specializes in resiliency programming. His practice includes work as a consultant, facilitator, workshop leader and writer. He has over 19 years of experience helping clients throughout North America and the Pacific Rim. He assists individuals, families, teams and organizations in building resiliency skills for greater levels of durability and success.

Having been through some resiliency…ahem…“opportunities” of my own in the past couple of years, I pondered the relationship between resiliency and recruiting success after chatting with Michael. I thought about the many factors that come into play in the making of a “rockstar” recruiter…or even just a consistent producing recruiter: experience, training, personality, technology, networks, tools, gadgets. I am a closet geek and suffer from bouts of gadget-envy with a hidden belief that more tools and gadgets will make me a better recruiter. We do need to learn best practices and discover how the latest technologies, tools and gadgets can improve our game; but…what good are tools, gadgets, training, experience, etc. if we are not resilient?

Resiliency separates the pros from the amateurs in any profession. Resiliency skills take a quick front seat during difficult times. Those who push through adversity with well-developed resiliency skills will come out stronger on the other side. Those who let adversity take them down, however, will lose…and they will often take others down with them.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a significant component of resiliency. I was intrigued to discover that studies by Hunter, Schmidt and Judiesch 1990, and Goldman 1998, show that:

  • Emotional Quotient (EQ) is more important than leadership skills in management positions. EQ impacts performance more than IQ, cognitive ability and technical skills combined.
  • High EQ sales professionals are up to 25% more productive than their low EQ counterparts.
  • In some environments high EQ staffs have 63% LESS turnover!

Got your attention now? Those stats have staggering implications for organizations…for HR…for recruiting! In this first of a four part series, we will introduce the subject of resiliency in an interview with Michael Ballard:

Wendy: Michael, how do you define resiliency?

Michael: Experts define resiliency as our ability to deal with adversity and bounce back. Resiliency consists of a set of skills.

Wendy: Why is resiliency important?

Michael: Our resiliency or lack thereof can greatly impact our ability to succeed at work, home, school and in society. We need to nurture, mend and strengthen our mental health. Our quality of life depends upon it. Resiliency skills help people to keep moving forward in life. These skills assist us to stay “up right”. It’s a skill set that most of us don’t enjoy having to use, yet it is vital to our ability to maximize our potential and minimize the downside of adversity.

Wendy: How might we recognize a resilient person?

Michael: Resilient people share several traits. These include: acceptance of reality, a deep belief that life is meaningful, and an uncanny ability to improvise. They see opportunity in every crisis and move forward in life despite many obstacles and challenges.

Wendy: How does resiliency develop?

Michael: Learning to deal with setbacks is something we all learn about starting from an early age. Regardless of whether it is dealing with the playground bully, a failure at school, a personal or family crisis, financial difficulties, injury, illness, tough economic times or a serious blow to our career, we will all have the opportunity to discover how resilient we are…or aren’t…at various times in our lives. While some people are born with personalities and traits that result in them being more – or less – resilient than others, there is great news: each of us can exercise, flex and grow our resiliency muscles. Learning to develop and deepen our resiliency is a lifelong process that, if done well, will help us enjoy a life with greater accomplishments and less down time spent in a state of anxiety, fear or worry.

Wendy: As recruiters and sourcers, few of us are not impacted in some way by the spirit of fear and uncertainty that has swept the U.S. in recent times. Hiring managers expect more for less, while others are laying off. Meanwhile, growing competition nips at our heels. What better time for us to assess and strengthen our resiliency skills than now!

Michael: Yes! To combine book titles of the bestselling author Thomas L. Friedman “The World is Flat, HOT and Crowded!” I’d add and Hyper Competitive Too!

Wendy: When we spoke, you mentioned inner and outer resiliency. We will address these aspects of resiliency in subsequent articles, but can you give us an overview of them now?

Michael: Sure. Inner resiliency is about our own personal mindset and beliefs and what we choose to do in our minds during adversity.

Wendy: I can relate. I have found that beliefs (for me, specifics around faith) coupled with the ability to harness thoughts are of paramount importance during crucial moments of a difficult…or… traumatic situation. What about outer resiliency?

Michael: Outer resiliency has to do with the support systems, resources, etc. we put into place in our lives to increase our resiliency…those factors outside of ourselves, but put into place by us.

As we move through this four part series, I look forward to delving into questions we can ask ourselves, as recruiters, to determine our resiliency and to assess where we might want to work on improving our resiliency.  We can take it further and increase quality of hires as well, if we start to assess the resiliency of our candidates, too. Thank you to Michael for sharing your knowledge about resiliency with us.

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