Managing your mental health when job hunting

If you’re not job hunting now, the chances are you will have experienced ‘The Job Hunt’ once in your life. This hunt isn’t quite the same as the other hunt we’re talking about this year and there are normally no chocolate eggs (although if it’s helping then totally reward yourself with eggs). As a recruitment agency we work with people job hunting (passively and actively) on a day-to-day basis. We experience first-hand the stress this can take on candidates and the impact this stress can have on a potentially great candidate’s performance in an interview.

Drawing upon our experience we’ve pulled together a guide on how to manage your mental health while job hunting.

The Search

If you’re struggling with where to start when it comes to job hunting just organise a chat with a relevant recruiter.  It’s a good idea to speak to someone who hires specifically in your sector, you can check out LinkedIn or speak to your current connections and find out if they know anyone.  For technology recruitment support you can speak to any of our team (find out there details here).

Your recruiter isn’t just there to find a job, they will be able to advise you on the level of role you should be looking at, the salary you should be aiming for, the interview process as well as put you forward for potentially great opportunities.  As an example we’re currently working on over 60 live roles within the technology sector.

Create structure to your job hunt.  For example if you’re most productive in the mornings do all your admin, job applications and job searching then and organise meetings with recruiters etc in the afternoons.  We often crave order so introduce a schedule and give this boundaries.  Balance your job hunting with things you enjoy such as exercise or socialising, particularly if you’re on gardening leave or have been made redundant as you don’t want the job-hunt to be dominating this time too much. The optimum word here being balance though, don’t swing too far in the opposite direction.

Track your job applications, you might have contacted five recruiters about 15 jobs and when they call you you’ll have no idea which job you were contacting them about.  Create a spreadsheet that tracks each job you’re applying for, each recruiter and their specialism for you to refer back to.

The Interview

Recruiters are knowledge banks for you to make the most of.  As part of your prepping process speak to your recruiter and pick their brain.  They may have worked with that hiring manager before and be able to brief you on what to expect and what to prepare.  They may also know what challenges the hiring manager might have with your experience giving you a chance to consider your answer as to why this isn’t an issue.

Saying this, the most frustrating part of being a recruiter according to one of our lead recruitment consultants Nathan Terry is “When you spend time prepping with the candidate and they don’t take any notes or build on what you’ve given them”.  Make sure to remember everything you’ve been told and then build on this.  Research the company, their values, prepare your previous deals or examples of good (and bad) performance, review your CV and be ready to explain your job changes and movements over the years.  There are plenty of resources out there on how to prep for an interview get googling!

Ultimately though try to relax, an interview is ultimately a conversation.  Yes they’re assessing your suitability for the role but you’re also assessing whether you would want to work at that company.  By reducing the pressure on yourself you will probably perform better in your interview.  Try to manage your expectations while remaining positive, remember that if you were offered the job for every interview you did you would be the exception and not the rule.

The Aftermath

People will often have triggers that initiate a stress response, it’s good to know what yours are and do what you can to avoid them.  For example if you know that you’ll be checking your emails every five minutes from the moment you leave the interview room waiting for the outcome ask the hiring manager when you should expect to hear back before you leave.

If you leave an interview feeling stressed, anxious or replay conversations in your head consider heading to the gym or go to the park for a run.  Exercise is a great way to organise your thoughts and thrash out the stress you might be feeling.

If you know that you struggle with comparing yourself to others why not switch off from social media for a while as you carry out your job hunt.  Seeing people in LinkedIn having been promoted or starting new jobs can cause unnecessary resentment or pain, and you’re far too busy to be feeling those things!

If you are not offered the job, remember this is just one step closer to the job you will be offered.  All interviews are great learning experiences so make sure to ask your recruiter for feedback from the hiring manager/interviewer.  Any mistakes you made in this interview will not be ones you make again.  Recruiters are trained in how to give constructive feedback so don’t be nervous of asking for this and the impact it might have on your confidence.  See this as a positive conversation and make sure to take lots of notes – then ask your recruiter what other opportunities they have out there that might suit you.

If you would like support with your job hunt within the technology sector contact someone from the ESP team today for a chat through how we can help