When you tell the average person that you work in the Recruitment sector, it is usually met with a variety of reactions, some positive, some negative, some pure befuddlement at how crazy you must be to electively choose such a pressurised environment. And it is - Recruitment is high risk, high reward, and has long been renowned as an intense and often stressful job choice, yet more people than ever are forging highly successful and life-long careers in the sector.
As an Operations Manager, the health and wellbeing of my employees is at the forefront of my priorities. For National Stress Awareness month this April, I thought it would be interesting to explore key triggers, and more importantly key relievers, for those working in the Recruitment sector.
“When I had my most stressful role, the thing I found most effective for it was exercise. In those days I was an active and keen runner and I found running very helpful and effective for relieving stress. Feeling fit and well was a great antidote. I often used to have good ideas and thoughts whilst out on a long run and solved many problems without really having to try too hard.”
“My philosophy is to not worry about the things you can’t control. Don’t waste time or energy worrying about things outside of your control. I’m always amused by people in traffic jams who are hooting and beeping when nothing is moving ahead of them, as if it’ll make some kind of a difference, when all it’s doing is making them feel worse. Don’t waste that energy!”
“For me the key is talking to someone. Suffering quietly is the worst thing you can do… whether it’s a close work colleague, HR or your boss… it sometimes helps to also speak with someone outside of work. Venting can help and a friend may be able to help put some of the stressors into perspective.”
“In a work and recruitment context, some things (e.g. interviews) will go well and some won't. We can influence outcomes a bit with good matches and thorough briefings but we can’t make people's’ decisions for them. Some things will go for us and some will go against us. There is no point worrying about either. The key is to contribute enough activity/volume so that enough will go right for you to hit your target/objectives. My poker hobby has helped with this thinking too. We can make good decisions and still get unlucky and lose. Or we can make bad decisions and get lucky, but in the long run if we make enough good decisions we’ll win. There’s no point worrying or being upset when we get unlucky – it’s just a detour on the route to long term winnings, by making regular good decisions.”
“I genuinely think midweek beers as a team helps relieve stress and take my mind off work. I am a worrier – so I worry about things that probably don’t need worrying about (candidates not going to interviews etc) and then meeting targets and consistently billing (pressure to do better than before). Having emails on my phone drives me mad sometimes – even on holiday I don’t get a real break as I have stuff that’s urgent to deal with.”
“I think I’m a bit odd that I don’t really get stressed at work - only at football or the girlfriend. I think if you do get stressed take 20 seconds to get your thought process right so you don’t do something silly or irrational. Get someone to double check any emails that could be misconstrued or, even better, call instead. It’s the stressful times, such as making offers to candidates and getting them over the line, that are the difference between an average consultant and a great one. Likewise, if nothing is going well for you, you’ve got to remain positive and pick yourself up and do the necessary work as you will make your own luck.”
“There are decades of research into the effects of stress on both physical and mental health, but to play devil’s advocate here, I actually feel like I perform best under intense stress levels. The periods of my life that have been the most turbulent have also been the points where I have kicked into absolute overdrive to get things done and have achieved things I wouldn’t have believed possible! For me I thrive in a stressful environment, and find kicking off your shoes at the end of a stressful day is all the more satisfying when you feel you have really pushed yourself to the limit.”
I think that the major thing that we can, and should take from this, is everybody is different! There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with stress and you should find the thing that works for you. One thing I do believe is of key importance to EVERYBODY is that you should not suffer in silence! There are many avenues of support depending on what you are comfortable with and I encourage people to always utilise the help available to them.