The Resilient Recruiter: Outer Resiliency

Jan 13, 2009

Part Three of Four: Outer Resiliency

Welcome back to The Resilient Recruiter series, in which we are exploring the relevance of resiliency skills to the success of recruiting professionals during times of adversity. Recruiting professionals need well-developed resiliency skills in order to perform at maximum effectiveness, particularly during this era of economic uncertainty and continuous change.

Previously in this series, we defined resiliency as the ability to deal with adversity and bounce back, and we learned that resiliency consists of a set of skills that can be strengthened. A resilient recruiter will “hit a wall” and then quickly and creatively adapt and find a way around it, becoming stronger in the process. A recruiter, sourcer or researcher who is not as resilient, however, might hit that same wall, but instead succumb to discouragement and choose to linger at the wall in despair.

In our last article, we explored the inner resiliency factors of defining values, setting goals, creating and following plans and confidently making decisions. As implied by the name, inner resiliency factors are primarily those factors which are developed from within.

In this part three article we will depart from our previous interview format as we explore the following outer resiliency factors: relationships, involvement in groups or community, participation in hobbies, volunteer work, healthy diet, exercise and sleep.

We will start with the more basic and obvious outer resiliency factors of healthy diet, exercise and sleep. Naturally, if you take care of your body during the good times, then your body will be more resilient during adversity. The stress that usually accompanies adversity has been proven to lower immunity and can lead to physical illness at a time when you most need health and strength. Waiting until adversity hits is not the time to suddenly decide to take proper care of your body. A great place to start in boosting your outer resiliency is to develop healthy habits around what you eat and around obtaining regular exercise and adequate sleep daily.

This brings us to the relational and activity related outer resiliency factors. A good place to begin is to ask yourself about the quality of your relationships with those who matter to you the most. That represents the cornerstone of your outer resiliency. If you have trouble in those relationships, it will be well worth the time and expense to invest in help to improve those relationships. Be prepared, though, to hold a mirror up and keep it up. Improving those relationships will require you to “own” your contribution to difficulties.

Now, step back a bit. Are there any relationships which, if you are completely honest with yourself, drain you and leave you depleted? If so, then seriously consider whether it is healthy for you to continue those relationships. Perhaps there are some relationships you need to end and others that need some healthy boundaries put into place. Be picky in choosing those with whom you will spend your time.

The strength of your relationships – your network of support – will be a significant determinant in whether you thrive, versus just survive when adversity hits. Those who have close, healthy, authentic relationships with a network of people who know them well will find themselves surrounded by the support they need at the time they need it. Those who isolate and do not have close relationships are at risk for withdrawing into clinical depression and spiraling into blame and other unhealthy choices and behaviors (alcohol, drugs, over-eating, etc.) when faced with adversity.

In addition to proactively taking care of their bodies and choosing healthy relationships, resilient recruiting professionals also participate in hobbies and activities. Those who are involved in the community or do volunteer work have an expanded network of support and are found to have higher self-esteem than those who wallow in self-focus. Those who are involved in church small groups also enjoy a strong support network, which significantly increases their outer resiliency. It is wise to assess your relationships and involvement in groups, activities and hobbies prior to adversity coming your way. Once adversity hits, it is much more difficult to cultivate relationships and outside interests in a meaningful and authentic way.

In summary, whether you are a full life cycle recruiter, a sourcer or researcher, no amount of cool tools or gadgets will carry you when adversity hits. All of us encounter challenging times at some point in our lives. The question is: how will you navigate those times of adversity? If your inner and outer resiliency skills are well developed, then you will have the ability to engage your creative problem-solving abilities with strength and confidence. You will be able to maintain a sense of humor about your situation (without slipping into denial), while allowing your network of support to be there for you in the way that any human needs during difficult times. You will then discover, on other side of adversity, that you are a better and stronger recruiting professional because of the adversity you experienced. You will have flexed and strengthened your resiliency muscles, preparing you to navigate the next challenge in “finer form”.

Stay tuned for this series’ final article, in which we will learn how to assess our resiliency and the resiliency of the candidates we are recruiting.

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