Planning activities and positive emotions have a large impact on success when it comes to finding a job, though at different stages, researchers at the University of Missouri in the US have found.
"We found it most interesting that metacognitive activities—thinking about a plan, acting on a plan and reflecting upon that a plan were important early in the job search while having positive emotions were important later in the job search," said Daniel Turban, professor and chair of the Department of Management in the MU Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business.
The researchers have observed that activities goal setting and plan development affect resume submission and success in first interviews, while the ability to maintain positive emotions plays a larger role during second interviews and receiving a final job offer. They have also found that extraversion—how energetic and outgoing a person is influences both metacognitive activities and positive emotions. Conscientiousness, a person's self discipline and dependability, has been found to affect metacognitive activities. The researchers said that it directly influenced the number of final job offers received.
"Perhaps, conscientious job seekers conducted better quality job searches by scrutinizing their fit with prospective employers more carefully or more effectively following up with employers," Turban said.
The findings are based an analyses of data from three surveys, involving 327 job seekers. The first survey measured personality and demographic information, while the second survey measured positive emotions, metacognitive activities and employment outcomes. A third survey, measuring tapped employment outcomes, was sent to those still job hunting four to five months after the second survey.
Based on the findings, Turban has suggested that job seekers make a plan and continuously assess their progress. The researcher also stresses the importance of expecting rejections and developing a coping strategy ahead of time.
According to Turban, this should help maintain positive emotions throughout the process to improve those chances of getting a job. "Some of these recommendations seem like they are common sense, but they are just not that common. People don't have strategies, they don't assess their plans and they don't think about their strategies and reflect on whether it's working or how to make them work better. They just don't do it," Turban said.