There is a hidden factor that often hinders a candidate’s chances of success. It has nothing to do with his tangible qualities, or the lack thereof. Rather it involves his pride, or the excess thereof. Here are some of the unfortunate ways that pride manifests itself during a job hunt and why it should be curtailed:
Too proud to network
Many people refrain from networking, claiming that it goes against their introverted grain. In numerous cases, however, this is just a convenient excuse to hide the real reason, namely, that they are somehow “above” this petty grovelling exercise. Their sense of pride in their work and career achievements is such that they feel cheapened when in an informal setting. Unfortunately, this attitude blinds them from the fact that networking is an invaluable intelligence-gathering and lead-generating activity – one that may, through many twists, turns and six degrees of separation, result in a job from the vast “unadvertised” employment market.
Too proud to follow up
Motivated candidates typically respond to job opportunities in a meticulous way. Yet all that admirable effort spent preparing a resume, researching employers and performing during the actual interviews is often wasted by failing to follow up. It may be natural to assume, after a period of silence from the recruiters, that they were passed over. However, the damage to their highly-developed pride from the rejection triggers a defensive posture in some candidates. The act of calling for feedback becomes too bitter a pill to swallow, and an unhelpful attitude surfaces along the lines of “If they can’t be bothered contacting me about how I went, why should I give them the satisfaction of crawling back for feedback?”
The problem of bowing to pride in this situation is that, by not following up, these sensitive people are forgoing the possibility of getting constructive information as to how they can improve their chances of success in subsequent job searches. Furthermore, an unsuccessful candidate who fails to follow up is quickly expunged from the recruiter’s mind, whereas one who seeks feedback maintains the relationship (no matter how tenuous) and cements that recruiter in her network for potential future utilization.
Too proud to ask for help
There are supremely talented people whose track records, contacts or X-factors provide the passageway to any desired position. For most others, however, job hunting is arduous and made even more so by the candidates themselves because they resist asking for help. It matters not that there are readily accessible friends and acquaintances out there with more experience in the area who can genuinely add value. Nor does it matter that the sense of achievement one gets from landing that dream role will in no way be diluted by any external assistance.
Some people simply cannot bring themselves to ask for help because of the need to protect their pride. How will it feel to have my resume assessed, my interview techniques critiqued or my general disposition judged? For proud people, fear of answers to these questions turns this process into an extremely uncomfortable one.
Job hunting is a difficult process, and has been made worse by the current volatile employment market. Don’t make it any more difficult by staying in your comfort zone in an effort to protect your pride. Extensive networking, following up diligently, and seeking counsel from people who can add value—in most cases, these initiatives help you significantly more than they hurt you. More importantly, even if they do hurt you, it may just be damage to your deep-held pride, which contributes little to your chances of securing an offer.
Blue Horseshoe is a blogger and financial services professional based in Australia. The views expressed are his own and not those of eFinancialCareers.