Since March 2020, a lot has changed within our workplaces and teams. You may be permanently working in your home office, or your team may have changed its size or makeup. Even your role may have been adapted to survive the pandemic. As a result, it’s completely normal to feel a little lost or overwhelmed when compared to your situation over a year ago. To help, we’re sharing insights from our recent webinar with three incredible speakers: Simone White, Matthew Want, and Shakyra Campbell. While the focus of the webinar was on helping assistants (PAs, EAs, business assistants) overcome obstacles in their careers, we believe the advice they shared is applicable to almost everyone – especially recruiters.
Bring your whole self to work
During the webinar, Shakyra said we would aim to “be authentically [ourselves] at work”. On a basic level, you need to know who you are and understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Beyond that, it’s also ensuring you continue to bring the unique aspects of your personality to work as well. Many of us have seen different facets of each other’s personal lives over the past few months. Whether it’s a beloved pet or a treasured souvenir on the fridge door in the background of video calls, these glimpses of our colleagues’ personalities acted as a bridge to bring us closer. As many of us move back into the office, it’s important we continue to bring these personal aspects of ourselves with us. The personal and professional are now forever merged, so having the confidence to show your authenticity is essential to being able to succeed in your role.
Develop essential traits
If you’re feeling a little lost, it may be wise to focus on developing traits that you know are essential to you being able to succeed in your role. As recruiters, alongside being authentic in all your interactions, resilience is also integral. We’ve all experienced having a bad day, week, or month at work. It’s those who can get up again after falling down who will be able to succeed in the long term. Chances are, if you’ve gotten through the difficulties of the past year, you have more than enough resilience!
Another key trait for many is emotional intelligence (EQ), or the ability to manage your emotions in a positive way for both yourself and others. This is something you can develop over time, through various exercises, videos, and courses available online, however, starting the journey takes some level of self-reflection. Ask yourself: how do you communicate? How do you take criticism? How much empathy do you have for others? By building up your emotional intelligence, you can help the candidates you’re working with by better empathizing with their situation and managing their expectations. You’ll also communicate more effectively with your clients, which is absolutely essential for building relationships.
Recognize the importance of networks, sponsors, and mentors
If you’ve ever thought about reaching out to others for help in your career, now is a fantastic time to do so. You can do this by becoming part of a network or developing a relationship with a sponsor or mentor. Networks are helpful as they allow you to connect with your peers. Not only that, Simone mentioned that a network can be “a catalyst for change” internally within your organization. Inhouse Recruitment is a great example of a network, as they offer specialist training and a community for you to connect with your fellow recruiters. It’s also a good idea to look to social media to see if there are any virtual networks you can join.
Fostering a relationship with a sponsor is different from being part of a network, as they can use their influence and power to move your career forward. Your manager is likely to be your sponsor at work, so it’s important to be open with them about your future ambitions. They should be willing to devise a plan of action with you to help you get where you want to go, and therefore will be vocal in support of your next promotion or further training opportunities.
Mentors are those you turn to give you career advice, guidance, and coaching. Developing these relationships may help you shape the next steps in your career, so choose your mentors wisely! A good rule of thumb is to look ahead at the position you’d like to have in three-five years’ time and approach the person currently in that role to help you get there. Remember: a mentor doesn’t need to be part of your company or team, it could be anyone who you believe will offer you valuable advice.
Maintain positive mental health and wellbeing
In the life of a recruiter – some days are harder than others. You may need to work late to fill a last-minute placement, or you may feel overwhelmed with back-to-back candidate registrations. While these moments are unavoidable for the most part, you should aim to protect your personal time as best you can. This is because a healthy work/life balance is key to well-being. One way to do this is to treat your personal engagements with the same amount of respect that you’d treat your work engagements. Tell your manager that you have an exercise class or a special dinner reservation booked, so you’ll have to leave on time. Being open with your team about your personal commitments will encourage others to do the same and earn you respect at work for maintaining those significant aspects of your personal life.
During the webinar, Matthew talked about the importance of being open with your colleagues about times you may be suffering from mental ill-health. If they don’t know you’re struggling, they can’t step in and help. A common point of anxiety among many workers right now is the anticipation of returning to the office. If you’re finding the transition challenging, raise it with your manager, as they should be able to step in and help you get back to feeling your best.
The pandemic may have felt like a pause (or, in some cases, a step back) in your career, but working arrangements are now changing and you should be able to get back on your feet. We hope the above tips help you overcome any obstacles you’re up against and allow you to emerge better prepared and ready to succeed!