After almost 17 years recruitment experience, I’ve learned that the price of success like most sales jobs is perseverance and persistence. Never giving up until I’ve exhausted all possible options and there are always alternative options. I believe that my success has been built on the back of being persistent even when times/market conditions are challenging. So what I’m about to say might totally fly in the face of perceived wisdom on this matter. You see I’ve recently discovered that the true secret to success is “Giving Up”.

Now I don’t mean quitting your job (although I’ve done that in the past too with mixed results) or giving up totally on your career or dreams. What I mean is that sometimes we spend so much time obsessing over one particular objective, it’s easy to get consumed by it and lose sight of the bigger picture. Or put another way by simply “giving up” on the objective and walking away from the task at hand (temporarily) you can develop another level of awareness as your subconscious kicks in and the solution you were seeking suddenly appears on the horizon. By ignoring the task, ironically the answer you were seeking can arrive in a different form and not always in the manner you were expecting.

Let me give you a loose example of what I mean. I recently decided to purchase a new car and I started researching the model, the variant additional features, the fuel consumption offered and most importantly the garages that sold that particular vehicle. Anyone who has ever gone out to purchase a new (used) car, it’s the automobile equivalent of speed dating. What I discovered pretty quickly is that the world of used cars and used car salesmen is pretty murky and I found it incredibly difficult and frustrating to get straight answers to what I thought were simple straightforward questions. Questions like, what’s the history of this car? How many previous owners? What warranty do you offer? These were met mainly with a degree of indifference and in some cases downright carelessness with one particular dealer effectively telling me to take a hike when the questions got “too invasive” for his liking. I was an inconvenience in their eyes and a common theme seemed to be emerging and I seriously began to question if these “salesmen” actually wanted to sell these cars or not.

I began to lose all hope of ever finding “the car” and I simply gave up. I ignored my email alerts for a couple of weeks, didn’t spend hours online looking at cars and garage reviews and decided that I’d park (excuse the pun) the whole exercise. And then I happened to casually one evening check my private email messages and saw there was an alert from the week before from one of the many online car portals advising me of the availability of the exact car I was looking for. I contacted the garage and as luck would have it, the car was still available. The solution that I was seeking arrived even though I’d given up on the task. What I’ve discovered is that ironically by trying to force things to happen, we create an unnecessary level of anxiety around the task or objective which ultimately clouds your thinking and can impede your progress. Sometimes it’s genuinely better to accept things as they are and to move on without so much as a glance backwards and walk away. But not permanently.

Now I don’t recommend that anyone should approach a new job search or indeed career advancement in a similar fashion to how one might buy a used car. But there are some parallels. Firstly, when you’re actively seeking a new job, it can be a lot like searching for a new car as you’re constantly researching the job, the sector and the options on view. When you’re interviewing, you have to question each employer on the merits of their prospective job/company before you can make an informed judgement on the opportunity. After the fifth interview in a week, the questions you asked and the answers given can all seem to merge and fade. You’d be forgiven for losing the willpower to keep going but I believe that it’s all part of the process. In the end when you do accept the job you ultimately wanted, you will reflect and realise that all of the other interviews and companies you spoke with were a part of the journey to get to where you ultimately wanted to be. But it can be healthy to take a step back in the middle of that process and examine your methodology and the results it has achieved.

I do think that it can be beneficial to step away from the process temporarily and to examine and review your priorities. What you set out to achieve in terms of finding a new job/hire may not necessarily be where you ultimately arrive. There can be several twists and turns in any job search and often we can be guilty of blinkered thinking when it comes to finding the perfect role. The reality is that there is NO PERFECT ROLE/CANDIDATE, only what seems perfect to you and this might be the complete opposite of what another candidate/employer might want or desire. Success in any form can mean different things to different people. For some candidates it could just be finding a better job in the same industry, with better remuneration, working hours and benefits. For others it could be finding a new job in a completely different sector and successfully transferring their skills across and stretching themselves in a new direction. For an employer, success might be finding a particularly difficult to source skillset that they’d given up hope of ever finding or seeing that new starter turn into their best performer.

But the sweetest success of all is when you least expect that outcome, when you’ve metaphorically walked away from it and moved onto something else. Luckily in the daily life of a busy recruiter, there’s always something else to move onto and I often find that by ignoring a challenging task for a little while, I allow my subconscious to provide the solution. The very candidate or job that I’ve spent hours seeking or trying to fill is suddenly there in front of me and it feels as though the planets have aligned correctly. Now the reality may be that some of that outcome could be as a result of my endeavours, but I firmly believe in leaving it to breathe (like a good wine), thus allowing my subconscious the room to process the puzzle and provide the solution.

So are you finding your next great hire challenging to source? Or are you seeking a better job and finding a scarcity of opportunities? Why not just “give up” on the task at hand and give it and yourself some space to breathe? If you’re still seeking that successful outcome after a couple of days, don’t give up. Why not call/email Campbell Rochford instead and allow us to provide you with some new ideas and a fresh perspective on the market?

Campbell Rochford – Turning Good To Great!

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