How to turn setbacks into comebacks

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Everyone’s heard the recruitment rollercoaster cliché; as in all careers, there are the inevitable ups and downs. One week you’re looking at the best billing month of your career, the next your pipeline is dead and you couldn’t buy an interview. This is all part and parcel of recruitment and it’s how you deal with these setbacks that sets you aside from the rest. Setbacks and unexpected disasters aren't exclusive to recruitment; whatever your profession, these tips from a seasoned setback warrior will help you get back on track.

Here are five top tips to help you shed away the disappointment, prop yourself up and move forward with drive and enthusiasm.


1. Acknowledgement and acceptance

It’s completely normal to feel upset if a big deal falters or your promotion deal falls away at the last hurdle. Pretending you aren’t disappointed or frustrated won’t help the feelings go away. Make sure not to dwell or start to blame yourself or others. Remember this is simply a setback; think twice before sending that angry email, questioning your abilities or handing in your resignation.

2. Connect with others

Isolation is your enemy. It’s easy to overthink things in your head and feel there is no way to get back on track. What you need is support. But don’t reach out to those who will wallow in self-pity with you, you need to surround yourself with positive go-getters who will help you focus on finding solutions. Find these people in your network, connect with them more and you’ll find overcoming obstacles a much easier process.

3. Strategy is key

Come up with a plan that is going to get you back on track. Seek feedback and advice from trusted colleagues, use the internet, ask for focused training etc. Find out what exactly you can do to make things better and put that plan into action.

4. Lights, camera, ACTION

Once you’ve had time to process what went wrong and put a plan in place to resolve things, it’s time to step into action. Whether this means reassessing how you are finding new candidates, what you plan to say to the client or how to change your approach to mitigate such errors in the future, it’s time to get to work. This part of the process re-energises you, reminding you what you are good at and driving you to get back on track.

5. Learn

This is potentially the most important step of all. Once you are back in the driving seat, pause and take some time to reflect on what went wrong. Ask yourself what happened, how it happened, what could have been done to avoid this and reflect on what you can do moving forward to mitigate these issues.


Written by David Kelly, Technology Recruiter at Hayward Hawk.