4 Resilience during the recruitment process
What about resilience in your career narrative – and in particular when applying for jobs? How can you bring this in? And why bother – do employers really care?
Activity 7 Resilience in recruitment
Charlie Reeve, Group Talent Manager at the Go Ahead Group, has extensive experience leading on recruitment and training for some of the UK’s biggest employers, from retail and public transport to professional services. In the video below, he discusses how, in roles where resilience is a key part of the job, he looks out for it during the assessment process. Watch the video and note any points that are new to you.
Transcript: Observing resilience in applicants
Charlie looks out for how well candidates cope with problems and challenges, and if things are going sideways how well they engage people around them to help solve problems. For some roles he will push candidates to a situation where they are facing failure (for example, by adding new information part way through the task) to see how they cope with that failure in such a stressful situation, which mechanisms they have already learned and how they talk about their emotions.
He is seeking positive indicators that the candidate has more of a growth mindset (believing they can change things and bring things around and that they and others can change) than a fixed mindset.
You can see how a growth mindset and a positive outlook on life in general add value in the workplace. In the next activity you will be considering what Charlie is looking for in job candidates.
Activity 8 Demonstrating resilience in recruitment
What might Charlie Reeve be looking for on an application form or in the situations you’ve just considered, at a job fair or in an appraisal? Watch this video and note down what Charlie has to say.
Transcript: A growth mindset in your applications
Charlie describes resilient candidates using positive language, and showing enthusiasm, demonstrating clarity on their strengths and on what they’ve achieved despite challenges. He is looking for candidates who collaborate with others within a network, rather than those who tend to operate in isolation.
One recruiter described how she assessed applicants for management consultancy roles by giving an hour-long group task on a case study, in which they needed to come up with a joint proposal for the way forward. Thirteen minutes before the end of the task the candidates were given additional information that dramatically shifted the exercise. Assessors were looking at candidates’ reactions and ability to come up with something workable in a challenging situation, a task that reflected the demands of the job.
Similarly, recruiters for social workers described role-play situations where the candidate was put in a scenario where their proposal for the way forward was rejected out of hand. They were looking to see how the candidate handled the feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, how creative they were able to be under pressure, the extent to which they would bounce back and continue to make their case in a new and fruitful direction to meet the needs of their client, or whether they crumpled at the first resistance.
Your research on the stresses and realities of your chosen sector will have given you pointers as to the kind of resilience sought in that workplace.