The Resilient Recruiter: Got Resiliency? Part 4

Part Four of Four: Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Candidates

Welcome to the final article in our “The Resilient Recruiter” series. In this series, we have been exploring the relevance of resiliency skills to the success of recruiting professionals. Previously in this series, we defined resiliency as the ability to deal with adversity and bounce back, and we learned that resiliency consists of a set of skills that can be strengthened. We explored the inner resiliency factors of defining values, setting goals, creating and following plans and confidently making decisions. We also discussed the importance of establishing outer resiliency factors, which include healthy relationships, group or community involvement, hobbies, healthy diet, sleep, exercise, etc.

In this fourth and final article of the series, we will offer you four key questions that you can ask yourself (or your candidates) to assess your resiliency (or theirs). When you ask yourself these questions, your answers will give you a clue about where your resiliency needs to be strengthened. Your candidates’ answers to these questions will help you assess their resiliency, thus their suitability for long-term employment.

Here are four key questions to ask yourself (or your candidates) to assist you in assessing your resiliency (or their resiliency):

  1. Tell me about a time when something happened at work (or school for new graduates, or in life) when something went wrong or you encountered a challenge.
  2. How long did it take you to respond?
  3. What was the outcome and how was it achieved?
  4. Who did you work with (if anyone) to resolve the situation?

Analysis: The following will help you know what to listen for in answers to the above questions. Knowing what to listen for will help you assess the resiliency of the person answering these questions:

1. Tell me about a time when something happened at work (or school for new graduates, or in life) when something went wrong or you encountered a challenge.

  • How well did they qualify/quantify the issue? Resilient people understand the issue and they are able to articulate it clearly and without confusion.
  • How quickly were they able to accept the situation for what it was in order to start working on a solution? Acceptance of what is going on is a large part of being resilient (staying out of denial or avoidance).
  • Did they go to blame or acceptance? Blame indicates lack of resiliency. Acceptance and the ability to work toward a solution, regardless of the cause (blame), indicate a higher level of resiliency.
  • What role did they play? Their role will give you clues about whether they were part of the solution (a sign of resiliency), or part of blaming and/or otherwise making matters worse.
  • How soon did they notice things were “off track”? This helps you get a feel for how much they pay attention to what is happening around them. How mindful of things are they? Resilient people are “tuned in” to their situations and surroundings.
  • Did they “over own” the problem? Were they able to distinguish what part they should “own” versus what is not theirs to own? Resilient people know what issues are their own versus what issues are others, and they maintain clear boundaries. They own what is theirs without blame; however, they do not own issues that belong to someone else.

2. How long did it take you to respond?

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  • This speaks to how fast to they adapt to change and accept it. Quick acceptance and adaptation is a key resiliency factor.

3. What was the outcome and how was it achieved?

  • Did they follow all the rules (high compliant)? Or did they get creative to get resolution? Resilient people get creative and think outside the box.

4. Who did you work with (if anyone) to resolve the situation?

  • Did they tap into their formal team? Had they already established their own team of relationships to assist them in solving issues in life? Or…were they on their own with no support? Resilient people surround themselves with people they can call on to help them work through challenges in life. The relationships of resilient people can handle conflict without damage to the relationship – their relationships are healthy.

Did you ask yourself these questions? If so, what did you conclude about your own resiliency? If you are not pleased with your answers, then you may want to embark on a journey to strengthen your resiliency. You can strengthen your resiliency by implementing resiliency factors from this series in your life. For maximum improvement, you can enlist the assistance of a resiliency trainer, such as Michael Ballard.

Do you see how asking these questions of your candidates will help you to assess their resiliency, too? You can be confident that resilient candidates are the best match, whether they are an application developer, sales professional, staff accountant…or…recruiter.

Obviously, this series has merely provided a cursory overview of the subject of resiliency – a subject that has much more depth than we could convey in a short series. As a recruiter who has encountered her fair share of challenging times, I must mention that my belief system – specifically faith – has had the most direct impact on my own resiliency. I encourage you to evaluate your resiliency and, as needed, commit yourself to strengthening it.

As we bring The Resilient Recruiter series to a close, we reiterate that we will all encounter times in our lives when we are under higher than normal levels of stress. It is during those times that we learn how resilient we are – or aren’t. Nothing will be more positively impacting to your success in your recruiting career – and in your life – than possessing strong resiliency skills.

As “The Recruiter’s Recruiter,” Wendy Albrecht Kembel enjoys placing recruiting professionals. Her company, Integrity Recruiting Group, Inc., works in alliance with Anderson Recruiting Consultants, Inc. Feel free to email Wendy at To find out more about the work and services provided by Michael Ballard and his firm Resiliency for Life, you can contact him at or visit his website


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