A bad attitude can hurt your chances in the job search

No one will argue that being unemployed isn't a traumatic experience, especially me. I was on the receiving end approximately nine years ago and I meet jobseekers daily. Being unemployed isn't what I'd wish on anyone.

This said, if jobseekers aren't mindful of the attitude they project, it can hurt their chances of finding their next job. This is perhaps the most difficult thing jobseekers can accomplishment, keeping their attitude in check.

One's negative attitude shows itself in many of one's mannerisms. Demonstrations of your mannerisms precedes any opportunity to appear before an employer. Failing to control your mannerisms can prevent you from getting to the interview. Below are some signs of a negative attitude. These are things you should keep in mind when going out in public.

  1. Arrogance impresses no one. You may have been outstanding at what you did, and you may be outstanding in the future, but keep in mind that diplomacy is your best card at this time. You will be relying on many people to help you in your job search, and most people don't appreciate being looked down upon.
  2. Apparel is one aspect of your attitude. During the summer it’s hot out there, but please refrain from wearing gym shorts and tee-shirts with Budweiser advertisements. At all times make sure you are well-groomed and presentable--you never know when a potential employer might be just around the corner.
  3. Your countenance is more noticeable than you think. I’ve witnessed people who walk into the career center looking as if they’d like to strike anyone in their path. Their mouth looks like it was chiseled into a constant frown. There seems to be hatred in their eyes. This can be intimidating, let alone off-putting.
  4. Be outgoing…or at least fake it. For you introverts (I can relate), try to use every opportunity to network. Your most vital job search technique must include networking. It’s not as hard as it appears. You don’t have to see networking as only going to arranged events. It’s a daily thing and that’s why you have to be on your game every day. One jobseeker I know told me he was meeting someone for lunch, and he was dreading it. Nonetheless, he met the person for lunch. He faked it.
  5. Mind your manners. “Thank you,” “it was great seeing you,” “hope your day is wonderful,” etc., go a long way. These are things we learned in Kindergarten, yet not all of us practice the niceties as much as we should. I am often thanked by customers after a workshop or in an e-mail. They're the ones who do the hard work, and their hard work will result in a job.
  6. Don’t appear desperate and despondent. Most people want to help you, but if you seem like you are giving up the battle, your peers, career advisors, and people employed in your industry, will doubt your ability to succeed at your next job. “Don’t let ‘em see you sweat.”

Why does this matter?

Simply put, your job search is ongoing. You are being judged wherever you go. The man or woman who has the authority to hire you, may be standing behind you in the checkout line. Those who try to help you take into account the aforementioned aspects of your overall attitude. If given the choice to recommend someone for a position, anyone is likely to back the person who has their attitude in check.

As I’ve said, maintaining a pleasant demeanor and appearing positive is difficult under an extremely stressful situation like being unemployed; but I’ll guarantee you that a negative approach to conquering unemployment will not lead to quick employment. Be mindful at all times how you appear to others.

Views: 2564

Comment by Valentino Martinez on April 15, 2012 at 9:14pm


I like your visual here and your good advice for jobseekers who want to make a good impression on recruiters, hiring managers and others involved in the recruitment process. 

I also feel this advice can and should be applied to recruiters who should be mindful of their attitude when dealing with jobseekers. 

For example: 

1). Do not be arrogant simply because you can be arrogant as the interviewer.

2). Respect the employer you represent because giving a bad impression, apparel wise, as a recruiter is memorable and can have repercussions.

3). Present a “professional” demeanor because a giving an unprofessional impression reflects on you and your employer/client.

4). Yes, "Be outgoing” and friendly…it can be contagious.

5). Yes, "Mind your manners”, as well.  Just because you have the power to reject an unqualified candidate does not give you the right to insult or disrespect any interviewee—directly or indirectly.

6). If you recognize desperation or despondency in a job candidate be careful.  Extremely stressed people are like time-bombs.  All some need is a little push to go ballistic.  So be on your best behavior recruiters.  People on the edge are super sensitive to body language and verbal nuances that can be misinterpreted. 

Comment by Valentino Martinez on April 16, 2012 at 12:59am

Thanks, Maisha--

I speak on campuses and to interested groups often and remind students and others to be prepared for the best and the worst in the job interview process.  That they will be exposed to professional interviewers, complete idiots and everything in between.  So keep your cool, do your best, and do not be deterred by the downside of a negative interview or interviewer experience. 

Thanks for sharing this and that.

Comment by Bob McIntosh on April 19, 2012 at 6:08pm

Wow, Maisha, some powerful thoughts and a great point about the long-term unemployed. I think we sometimes have the luxury of judging people who are under a great deal of stress. Would the same qualified people act the same 12 years ago? Probably not. So me thinks that saying I was unemployed around your time of unemployment is like saying, "I feel your pain" when I had a blister and today's jobseekers have a migraine.

This topic is enough to make me want to drink. 


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