Didn’t get the job? The Bagg Group recruiters recommend what to tell yourself


In a recent blog, we wrote of how Erin Abraham’s optimism won us over, and contributed to her being selected as the recipient of The Bagg Group sponsored Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) scholarship.  This scholarship is awarded to a student enrolled full-time or part-time in HRPA academic courses.

At The Bagg Group, we have interviewed hundreds of thousands of candidates over the past forty-plus years to place more than 57, 000 happy people in positions that are right for them.

Just about all those who were hired for full-time positions, contract work, or temporary placements projected an optimistic attitude in interviews.

Pessimism doesn’t give you a competitive edge.  But optimism does.   And you never need optimism more than when seeking work.  

A job search is just that – a search.  Typically, any hunt involves time and a few dead ends before you finally find what you were looking for.  And during this time, you simply can’t afford to let frustration, despair, or anger get the better of you. If you do, you will inevitably turn off important contacts.

The management consultant firm Accenture surveyed 500 senior executives in 20 countries and found that 71% rated an employee’s ability to view difficulties as opportunities as extremely important to them.  They said employees who have this trait would be retained over others who lack it.

In other words, they don’t want pessimists on their team.  The dictionary defines as pessimists as those who “lack hope or confidence in the future.”

It has often been said that optimism and pessimism are innate personality traits:  You’re either a glass half-full kind of person, or you’re a glass half-empty type. 

But renowned psychologist Martin Seligman has been studying optimists and pessimists for 25 years and disagrees with that viewpoint.  He says you can learn to be positive, even if your natural inclination is to be on the gloomy side.

In his popular book, Learned Optimism, How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Dr. Seligman emphasizes that optimism isn’t about being unrealistic — or in other words, seeing rainbows where other people see pink slips.

Instead, Dr. Seligman says optimism is about recognizing that life comes with tough challenges, and you don’t have control over all situations —  but you do retain control over how you interpret and deal with them.

With that in mind, if you didn’t get the job you interviewed for, The Bagg Group recruiters offer these two pieces of advice to fuel your optimism:

1)  Ask yourself, what could you do better next time?

2) Tell yourself,  “Next time!” And make the choice to believe there will be a next time.   Those who give up don’t get the job.  Those who keep strategizing and searching will land a position in time.

As psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter, author of High Octane Women, writes, “The truth is that disappointments and challenges are an inevitable part of life. So why not view them as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve? If you do, you’re on the road to resilience and that’s exactly where you want to be during tough times.”

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