The Job Seeker’s Mental Game: How To Use Positive Intelligence For The Win!

Written by Darren Kanthal

January 30, 2023

positive intelligence for job seekers

If you’re in the middle of a job search, chances are you’ve been receiving a few of these “Thanks…but, no thanks” letters:

Dear Mr. Kanthal,

Upon reviewing your application for the aforementioned position, we regret to inform you that, at this time, there were other candidates who more closely matched the criteria for the position, and we will not be considering you for the role. Should any other positions open that match your skill set, we will notify you.

Kind Regards,
HR Blockhead

Yet another soul-crushing hammer blow to your self-esteem that you didn’t need? Yep – I get it, and I’ve been there too. It seems no matter how hard you try, securing the ideal job can be a tall order. Even just trying to get a job is like a full-time job in and of itself.

Many of my clients who have been through the job-hunt jungle share a common thread, and it’s a difficult thing to overcome—the feeling that the problem is them.

This article is about using Positive Intelligence to ride the highs and lows of the job-seeking process—strengthening your mental fitness so that you can shake off the rejection and still feel great about moving forward.

Let’s talk about why your self-worth is not directly tied to someone else’s opinion of your candidacy AND how Positive Intelligence keeps you looking forward with hope and not dread.

The Hiring Process Can Be Hell—But You Can Deal With It

The thing is, the actions of the people in the hiring process aren’t directed specifically at YOU. They are not treating you differently than anyone else. In fact, your experience is precisely the way they treat everyone else.

When I help clients through my Job Seeker 6 program, I tell them it’s just as vital for us to focus on personal well-being during the highs and the lows of the job search as it is to learn the best practices needed to maximize their chances of securing a position.

When you’re mentally fit, and your PQ muscle is strong, you can better appreciate your greatness even in the face of all your negative emotions during the job search. And although the situation you are dealing with isn’t unique, I go to great lengths to help my clients realize that they are unique.

So, although you and a million other people are all getting ghosted and fighting an uphill battle just to get a response or any meaningful feedback – even though you are just like everyone else in the process – you are most certainly unique in your character, skills and abilities. Embrace both as best you can. Recognizing this can be tricky when faced with all sorts of negativity, and your internal dialogue needs to remain strong.

You can get through this. And Positive Intelligence can help.

Why Is Attitude Critical During The Job Search?

Why Is Attitude Critical During The Job Search

Before I started career coaching, I used to be a recruiter, so I’ve watched the following scene play out a thousand times, and believe me, HR people are fine-tuned to notice it and make a note of it:

*The candidate appeared desperate, angry, and even visibly defensive or annoyed with questions. Their verbal and non-verbal communication was quite negative, and they seemed a little impatient.*

Many of these emotions stem from our negative experiences during the application process. They permeate into situations where you need to be at your best. When you need to be calm, collected, and confident, instead that negativity creeps into our verbal and non-verbal communication. We can be cutting, short, or impatient. We may exhibit that RBF so many of us have (mine is STRONG!).

The bottom line is this: when we succumb to the negativity around us, we wear it, and people can see it as clearly as the color of your shirt. It is self-sabotage at its most real.

By practicing Positive Intelligence, we are able to see ourselves in all our glory and humanity, with all our merits and faults. And from this platform, we can best acknowledge all our strengths and successes and show hiring teams how we can make the company we are applying for even better.

The job search can take its toll on your self-worth and increase self-doubt. It’s as if you see yourself as unhireable rather than realizing that you haven’t found the right opportunity yet.

Positive Intelligence helps you realize these lies more clearly by building up your self-esteem and making you more resilient to setbacks. A significant side effect (and one many recruiters love) is that you can also confidently talk about your shortcomings and how you overcome them through systems, processes, and support from others.

Positive Intelligence? Is It A Self-Help Thing?

PQ is unlike any self-help book you have read and has the potential to benefit ALL of us. It isn’t some fluffy, new-age hippy thing or a fad that will soon disappear. For those embarking on a rigorous application process, it helps us see clarity in the darkest, most deflating moments.

Let me ask you a question to prove how universal Positive Intelligence is:

“If you could turn down the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, would you do it?”

Of course you would!

Your Judge (your negative self-talk voice) can sometimes get pretty vocal and try to destroy your motivation. Imagine if you told your Judge to “shut the eff up!” How much space, time, effort, and focus could you spend on taking clear-headed action full of confidence and void of doubt? Imagine what you could accomplish if you simply took action without a voice saying, “you can’t, you’ll fail, they’ll laugh at you!”

Positive Intelligence allows you to think outside the box and on your feet. It removes the shackles and chains we put on ourselves to hold us back. Now, you’re freer! Your mind is less cluttered with negativity. From this place, you can fully achieve your greatness and move through the hiring process with ALL your attributes on full display.

How You Can Use Positive Intelligence To Boost Your Career Potential

How You Can Use Positive Intelligence To Boost Your Career Potential

When you use the principles of Positive Intelligence, you engage your Sage and overcome your Judge to recognize that you can be great AND simultaneously experience a challenging job search. Both things can be true at the same time! Positive Intelligence tells us that self-worth is not tied to how many interviews we get and how many job offers we receive.

If you are experiencing a lack of traction in your job hunt, Positive Intelligence reminds us not to compromise on the non-negotiables–these include the values that make you who you are. When it comes to other aspects of the job, such as salary, role, and location, try to keep an open mind. When it comes to sacrificing who you are—don’t even think about it!

That long-fought-for job is coming and when it does, rejoice! You have earned this. Now is the time to use this positive energy and be the best version of yourself. NOW is the time to be the person you always knew you could be. STOP fighting your Judge. STOP fighting to be right. STOP fighting to be the loudest voice in the room.

Take time to truly listen to other people. Pick your spots to speak up on areas of strength. Be open to other people’s ideas, perspectives, and points of view. Be a unifying voice.

By doing this, you are creating better career results and working to make your career advancement a source of happiness, not a cause for disappointment and unfulfillment.

You can do this!

Summing It Up

If your job search is starting to get you down and the process is eroding your confidence, consider learning more about how Positive Intelligence can help you.

I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people challenge their negative mindset, re-take the driver’s seat, de-stress, and amplify their mental fitness. Using proven neuroscience research and coaching that has helped over 500,000 people worldwide, we will build up your well-being, replace self-judgment with self-acceptance and get your application process back on track.

Darren Kanthal

Darren Kanthal, Founder of The Kanthal Group, is a values-driven leadership and career coach with over 20 years of experience in HR and Talent Acquisition. Darren is intensely passionate about helping mid-career leaders cut through the BS, do the foundational work, and achieve their greatness.


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