The Power of a Positive Attitude

October 24, 2009 at 9:47 am 10 comments

Lately, I’ve been encountering a lot of disgruntled, discouraged and downright negative people who are part of the job-seeking world. I’m talking about the “community” (and I use that word loosely) of people from all professions, all economic levels, and all different personality types who share one thing in common … they are all seeking employment during one of the toughest economic climates in anyone’s memory. They attend meetings, networking events, and job fairs. They send messages via email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and post comments on newsgroups and blogs. They talk to lots of people about their job searches, and they apply and interview for jobs!

It’s not hard to understand why so many unemployed people have negative attitudes. No one enjoys being out of work, or being rejected or ignored or treated rudely by hiring managers, HR people or recruiters. Such things can certainly get a person down, and cause them to feel bad. That’s only natural. The problem is this: projecting a negative attitude is a self-fulfilling prophesy! Every interview, every networking conversation, every email or online comment transmits a message (overtly or subconsciously) to the recipient that says something profound about who you are, and what type of employee you’d be. We’ve all heard the advice to never speak ill of a former employer during an interview. The reasons for that should be obvious. However, beyond that simplistic advice, it’s much harder to suppress an overall negative attitude if it permeates and colors your entire outlook on life. Try as you might to “hide” sour grapes, if you feel it … it will likely come through. The bottom line is this: no one wants to hire or work with a negative person! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered candidates who ooze negativism and discouragement. People with chips on their shoulders, who blame others for their plight and project negative vibes almost never get hired. This rejection then feeds their negativism, and the cycle repeats itself.

I’ve coached thousands of candidates for interviews during my many years as a recruiter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the interview process that holds true for almost every industry and every position, it’s this: the number one most important factor that determines who gets hired and who doesn’t is NOT who is best qualified, who has the most experience or skills, or who has the best résumé. It’s attitude! People hire other people that they like, and want to be around. Real enthusiasm for a position or a company, true passion for your work, a sense of humor, and a genuine projection of positivism and optimism are the qualities that make a person attractive to others. It’s nearly impossible to fake those qualities.

I wish there was a magic button to push that would transform a negative person into a positive one. It’s certainly not that simple. It is, however, an incredibly important issue for every job-seeker to think about and to try adjusting within themselves.

Entry filed under: Advice for Job Seekers. Tags: , .

Looking for Networking in All the Wrong Places Why Job Hunting is a Consultative Sales Position

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Madere  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:53 am

    So true, Michael! I got my current job without all the skills required for ophthalmic photography (photos of the interior of the eye so that eye doctors can evaluate certain medical conditions.)

    I went in for an “informational interview” and 1.5 hours later, the department head offered to create a position for me if I was interested. She said that although I didn’t have the ophthalmic photography background – she was willing to train me on-the-job! She made the statement that she could always teach someone how to do this type of photography, but she couldn’t teach them to have a good, positive attitude. She stated that working directly with patients – that would help me get the photos the doctor needed by putting the patients at ease.

    So always show a positvive attitude in ALL communication with your prospective employer starting with your cover letter, phone calls and job interviews.

    Mark Madere
    SpectraLight Photography

  • 2. Don Matulek  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Absolutely agree re: the number one most important factor (in Life) is attitude! People hire (help, hang with, etc.) other people that they like, and want to be around.

    One must always remain positive because the ‘Law of Attraction’ is ALWAYS at work.

    The Law states: I attract to myself, whatever I give my focus, attention, or energy to; whether wanted or unwanted.

    That’s why Daily Affirmations MUST be positive and repeated.

    Keep up the good work!
    If anyone wants to see a few books which may help to improve their attitude, take a look at my Reading List on LinkedIn at ==>

  • 3. Liam  |  October 27, 2009 at 2:25 am

    The attitude issue goes without saying. Job hunting is a sales process, and a good salesperson succeeds on the back of his/her attitude.

    I am also ‘in transition’ and the market is very tough indeed.

    It is hard to maintain a positive attitude constantly. My advice to people who do not have this attitude at a given moment is to do something else until you get the attitude back.

    I find that I am usually pretty upbeat when it comes to interviews, I’m very glad to have got one!

    If a person never has a positive attitude, this could be a sign of depression which may require a different kind of attention.

    Hope this is a useful contribution.

    • 4. Michael Spiro  |  October 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

      Liam: I would agree that depression requires professional help. However, there is a huge difference between someone with a negative attitude and someone who is clinically depressed. While one may lead to the other, there are plenty of otherwise mentally healthy people who are just generally negative.

  • 5. Ted Forthofer  |  October 27, 2009 at 8:40 am

    This is my first visit to your blog. It is very well done. Keep up the good work.

  • 6. Janis Levy  |  October 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I totally agree that a positive attitude is the most important thing while searching for a job, especially during the interview. And it is important overall because it does come through. Thanks for sharing this.

    Also there are always going to be times when it’s hard to stay positive. I agree, Liam, that it’s best to do something else until you get it back. Sometimes a visit with a friend, reading something inspirational or just a good night’s sleep can help.

    Remember the story about the man with no shoes. He felt badly until he met a man with no feet! We’ve probably all heard that one, but what I want to say here is that remembering to count your blessings is helpful, too. If you are able to read this, then you have sight, you have use of a computer, you have Internet and you have a working mind. That’s four for starters! A little silly, but if it made you laugh or smile … then you’re off to a good start.

    Again, thanks for the post and very helpful comments!

  • 7. Jasmine Newman  |  January 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing some “secrets” with us.
    I found the content of your blog to be very interesting and helpful .

  • 8. Patricia Kanzler  |  January 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Michael:

    First of all, Happy New Year! Secondly, I wanted to say that I loved your article on “Nuggets.” Thank you for offering your insights. I learned a lot from your advice. I just wanted to also add that I am feeling positive this year. I have already had 3 calls for temp positions beginning this week. Things are changing for the better.


  • 9. Nancy Patterson  |  September 7, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Michael…you always hit the nail on the head when talking about a job search. Keeping a positive mental attitude I found to be the most difficult hurdle when I was in a job search. However, I eventually learned to adjust my attitude. I decided to stop looking for a job and instead see who I could “help” with my skills and experience. It took a lot of pressure off of me. I interviewed differently because I was genuinely interested in helping prospective employers with their problem, not mine.


  • 10. Ashok P Gowda  |  April 14, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Thank you very much for your, beautiful Interview tips.


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Michael Spiro

About the Author:

Michael Spiro has been a 3rd-Party Recruiter and Account Executive for over 20 years. He is currently the Director of Recruiting / NE Ohio Region for Jefferson Wells, a dedicated business unit of ManpowerGroup. Other recent positions include President of Midas Recruiting, a boutique head-hunting firm, Director of Talent at Patina Solutions, and Executive Recruiting positions with two of the largest search firms in North America. Before his career in the staffing industry, Michael was a manager in a large non-profit social-services organization. And in a former life, Michael was active in the entertainment industry, with extensive road-warrior experience as a touring performer (singer-songwriter / guitarist / comedian) and as a recording artist, producer and booking agent.  [More...]

Index (by Topic):

Résumés & Cover Letters:
 The "T" Cover Letter - The
         Only Type Worth Sending

 The Brutal Truth on How
         Résumés Get Eliminated

 Explaining Short Job Stints
         and Employment Gaps

 The Résumé Test &
         Checklist: Does Yours

 Beating the Résumé-
         Elimination Game: Where
         Do Recruiters' Eyes Go?

 The Truth About Lying on

 "Why Did You Leave Your
         Last Job?"

 How to Network: A
         Step-by-Step Guide for
         Job Searching

 Looking for Networking in
         All the Wrong Places

 Targeted Networking: How
         to Effectively Reach Out

 The Art of Giving: the Key to
         Effective Networking

 Face-to-Face Interviews:
         Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 Phone Interviews: Secrets,
         Tricks and Tips

 Video Interview Tips
         in the Pandemic World

 Nuggets: A Secret
         Interviewing Technique

 Answering the Dreaded
         Salary Question

 20 Surefire Ways to Blow
         an Interview

 "So, Do You Have Any
         Questions?" Nailing the
         Interview Closer

 Cool InfoGraphic: "What
         You Wish You'd Known
         Before Your Job

Age Discrimination:
 Age Discrimination: Secret
         Conversations Revealed

 Age Discrimination:
         Exposing Inconvenient

 Are You "Overqualified?"
         Handling the Age Issue

 Baby Boomers to the
         Rescue! An Idea Whose
         Time Has Come ...

 Overcoming Job-Search
         Obstacles and
         Redefining Your Career
         After 50

 Advice for Recent Grads
         and Career-Changers

Switching Jobs:
 The Proper Way to
         Quit a Job

 Counteroffers: Just Say No!

General Job-Seeking Info:
 The Real Truth About
         Working with Recruiters

 Contract/Consulting Jobs
         Explained ... Available in
         3 Different Flavors

►  What Recruiters Say
         vs. What Job-Seekers

►  The Dirty Truth About
         Unemployment Statistics

►  Let the Jobs Find You:
         Making Yourself More

 "Help ... I Need a Job!" A
         9-Step Guide for Newly
         Minted Job-Seekers

 Avoiding the "Black Hole
         of HR"

 Is Your Elevator Pitch
         Taking You UP
         or DOWN?

 Time Management: Recipe          for a Well-Balanced Job          Search
 Getting Un-Stuck from your

 The Double-Whammy of
         Rejection and Isolation

 "Unemployed Need Not
         Apply" - Working Around
         This Scary Message

 Using Social Media to
         Enhance Job-Searching

 Warning: That Rant You
         Posted Just Went Viral!

 The Golden Rule for
         Business: Never Burn

 The Power of a Positive

 Why Job Hunting is a
         Consultative Sales

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things
         for Job Seekers

 Top 10 Most Annoying
         Things for Job Seekers

 New Year's Resolutions for
         Unemployed Job-

Job-Seeking Humor:
 Comic Relief: Volume 1
 Comic Relief: Volume 2
 Comic Relief: Volume 3
 Comic Relief: Volume 4
 Comic Relief: Volume 5
 Comic Relief: Volume 6
 "In Transition" and Other
         Awkward Euphemisms

 Candidates Gone Wild:
         Recruiter Horror Stories

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