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September Newsletter: The emotionally intelligent job seeker

Emotional intelligence is an often-overlooked and understated character trait that hiring managers don’t even know they’re looking for. Yet, when they find it, they know it. It’s the candidate who is reflective, poised, and communicative — not the one who is reactive, dramatic, and self-absorbed.


How would you rate your own level of emotional intelligence? How do you think you come across to interviewers and hiring managers?


In this month’s newsletter, how to be gracious when you encounter career “no’s,” what’s actually more effective than simply being nice at work, and exactly what it means when a potential employer conducts a background check on you.



How to Be Gracious About Career Disappointment


“Got denied by Twitter HQ. That’s ok. Would have been a long commute.”


This is a famous short story by Brian Acton, who may not have gotten that job he wanted at Twitter, but instead went on to co-found WhatsApp, later sold to Facebook for billions.


There’s an obvious point here: What seems like a career disappointment at the time might turn out to be a pivotal juncture in your success story. And there’s another point too, or more accurately, a tip:


Always be gracious when you’re rejected, especially publicly.


As a Executive Recruiter, I sometimes see job seekers encounter disappointment in their search, and I also frequently see them later find the right job. Sometimes it’s an even better fit.



Don’t Just “Be Nice” at Work


We all want the same thing: to get along, particularly with our co-workers who we see every day, either over a screen or in person. But focusing on being “nice” misses the point of interpersonal professional relationships, says Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Chief Innovation Officer at Manpowergroup.


He recommends a few emotionally intelligent practices that can boost your rapport at work:

  • Be a better listener

  • Build others up

  • Be genuine, not ingratiating

  • Don’t argue for the sake of arguing

  • Adapt a practice of empathy and tolerance


WIth these five practices, you will achieve the same outcome you’re looking for by “being nice” — getting along and forming stronger alliances at work.


Recommended Reading



Taco Bell Has the Right Idea


If you are going to work at Taco Bell, you are going to help customers. That’s true whether you’re a frontline worker, a member of the IT team or an executive. Thanks to Taco Bell’s new corporate employee rule, every single employee hired is required to work for at least a week on the floor of a restaurant. It’s what Fortune calls “an important, humbling, and camaraderie-building experience to ensure that decisions around store policies, menu items, or new features like digital menus and ordering kiosks are made with frontline workers in mind.” And it’s brilliant.


This HR paradigm is relatively easy for a fast food chain or any type of retail store to put in place, but for companies in other kinds of industries, it might take a little more ingenuity.


What might that look like?


A stint as a customer-service agent, observing the factory floor operations, or even a virtual reality experience in immersive learning could all qualify as this sort of “frontline experience.”


That’s it for this month’s newsletter. Wishing you an excellent launch into fall!


James Johnson


Johnson Recruiting Group


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