January 10, 2020

Job-hunting is about giving, not just finding.

5-minute read

When looking for a job opportunity, a promotion, to make a career change, or to make new contacts many of us feel all we can do is work on our resume, our interviewing skills, ask, and hope we get what we’d like.

But the expert recruiters at TalentWorld have a unique suggestion for job-hunters. Don’t sit back, be a “giver”.

The advice is based on an age-old philosophy of “give and you shall receive.” When you translate that idea into today’s office speak, it sounds a lot like, “Hey, what can I do for you?” And as a job-hunter, when you realize there is always something you can do for others, you start to turn some tables around.

Are you a giver or a taker? 

One of today’s most influential business advisors, Adam Grant, author of the bestseller Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success classifies people, more or less, as Givers or Takers. He clarifies that no one is always just one way. After all, how we act depends on the situation. Still, Grant says we typically lean towards being more of a giver or more of a taker.

The fast definition of takers is they put their own interests first.  So when it comes to their careers, you’d expect all their focus and energy on pushing themselves ahead would pay off. But surprise! The research shows it’s the givers who enjoy more career success.

Why it pays to be a giver

First off, giving is a known mood booster. Volumes of evidence back this up, including a famous study that shows people who received $5 to give to strangers in need felt happier than people who received $20 to spend on themselves.

But bringing it back to careers, givers will share their expertise, their contacts, and their help, whenever they can, without strings attached. And that sets them up for success.


“You just have to find small ways to add large value to other people’s lives. That could be as simple as making an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other. It could be sharing your knowledge or giving a little bit of feedback.”  - Adam Grant, Ted Talk


Do good people really finish last? 

Grant investigated and found the greatest percentage of people who make it high up the ladder at work are givers.  Why didn’t he find mostly takers? Essentially because everybody can recognize a taker. People just aren’t all that invested in supporting someone who they know, deep down, cares only about themselves.

Make no mistake, a giver is not a push-over or a doormat

Instead, Grant says, “givers succeed in a way that creates a ripple effect, enhancing the success of people around them.” We’re all about creating that ripple effect at TalentWorld and we can confirm the most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed!

Our best tips for job-seekers

Don’t wait to be a giver: A lot of people figure they’ll succeed first, and they’ll help out later. Flip that around, advises Grant. For good reason. His research finds,  “Giving first is a promising path to succeeding later.”

Ask yourself this: The million-dollar questions givers ask themselves are, “How can I add value to this person’s life?  What could I possibly contribute that might benefit this person?”

When you ask yourself these questions, you end up creating a lot of goodwill in your relationships. And though you may not know now when and how that’ll come back to help you, trust that it will. Researchers have found the saying “what goes around comes around” holds true.

Show you’re a giver: Here’s an example, at TalentWorld, we’re honoured that people we interview, people we have placed, and clients send us referrals.  It’s a point of pride for each of our five busy divisions that the huge number of word-of-mouth referrals we receive from satisfied clients, candidates, contacts makes us unique.

Are people who refer others givers? Yes!

When you refer people or companies because you want to help others succeed and to be of value – you are a giver.

And like you, we all appreciate and remember the people in our lives who helped in some way, with no strings attached.  In this example, if you have a contact or client to offer, you’re doing what Grant confirms is key to career success — you’re helping strengthen contacts and relationships.

Identify how you most like to give, and let people know: For some, it’s making connections. That’s so true for all of us at TalentWorld. We genuinely delight in match-making. We’re personally motivated to match a candidate to a full-time, contract or temporary placement that’s a great fit for them. For some other people, the way they like to give is through mentoring, for others it may be sharing knowledge. They’re happy to find and forward the latest research that is of interest.  

Be a giver in 5 minutes: Be sure your desire to give does not eat up all your time and energy. Grant advises giving in “5-minute favours” so it won’t get in the way of work you need to do. If you feel you’re being drained, that’s your cue to give yourself the same attention and help as you give would another.

Take 5 minutes and give to yourself! Check out what’s available from our TalentWorld job postings.


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