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  • Writer's pictureBlue Bull Recruitment

What lessons can we learn from the film The Pursuit of Happyness?

Let's face it, we all knew this one was coming (and I promise to be a bit more inventive on the next edition) but this film is one of my favourites and I don't think I could have let it slide

We often find stories that resonate deeply with real-life experiences. 'The Pursuit of Happyness,' starring Will Smith, is one film that offers valuable lessons about recruitment and the working world.

This heart-warming and inspiring story provides insight into the challenges, perseverance, and ultimate success of a determined individual in the face of adversity. Let's look at this movie for its recruitment lessons.

We'll explore the themes of facing adversity, building confidence, and achieving acceptance in the context of hiring and the workplace.

The Art of Facing Adversity

The film portrays the life of Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith, a struggling salesman who faces immense adversity in his personal and professional life.

Despite being homeless and dealing with financial instability, Chris decides to pursue an unpaid internship at a prestigious brokerage firm.

This choice, rooted in his unwavering determination to create a better life for his son, offers a valuable lesson for both job seekers and employers.

Recruitment Lesson 1: Determination and Grit

Chris's relentless determination and grit showcase the invaluable qualities that job seekers can bring to the table. Employers should recognise and value these traits, as they often lead to exceptional performance and commitment in the face of challenges.

Building Confidence through Experience

As Chris embarks on his internship journey, he faces not only a lack of financial resources but also a glaring lack of experience in the world of finance.

His struggle to learn the ropes while competing with younger, more educated candidates is a testament to his perseverance. This aspect of the film offers another critical recruitment lesson.

"You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it"

Recruitment Lesson 2: Embrace the Learning Curve

Job seekers may not always possess the exact skills and experiences required for a role. Hiring managers should be open to candidates with the potential to learn and grow, as Chris did.

Providing opportunities for training and development can lead to the transformation of inexperienced individuals into valuable assets for an organisation.

Acceptance and Belief in yourself

One of the most powerful moments in the film is when Chris impresses his superiors with his problem-solving abilities, demonstrating his innate talent for the job.

He proves that the unconventional path he took to reach this point was worth it. This moment highlights the importance of self-belief and acceptance in the world of recruitment.

"Walk that walk and go forward all the time. Don't just talk that talk, walk it and go forward. Also, the walk didn't have to be long strides; baby steps counted too. Go forward."

Recruitment Lesson 3: Recognize Unconventional Paths

Hiring managers should be open to candidates from diverse backgrounds and unconventional paths. Belief in one's own abilities can lead to exceptional performance, and organisations should embrace unique talents that may not conform to traditional recruitment criteria.

Translating 'The Pursuit of Happyness' into the Working World

In the modern working world, the lessons from 'The Pursuit of Happyness' remain highly relevant. Job seekers often face adversity, lack of experience, and a need for acceptance, and employers must be prepared to recognise and nurture the potential in their workforce.

Employees who demonstrate determination and grit are often the ones who achieve the greatest success, making it important for companies to support their personal and professional growth. Encouraging a culture of learning and development can help employees reach their full potential.

Acknowledging the unconventional paths that individuals may have taken in their careers can lead to the discovery of unique talents and perspectives that benefit the business.


'The Pursuit of Happyness' offers a powerful narrative of how determination, learning, and self-belief can lead to extraordinary achievements in the face of adversity. The lessons from this inspiring movie can be applied to both job seekers and employers in the real world of recruitment and the workplace.

As we reflect on the journey of Chris Gardner, we are reminded of the boundless potential that individuals possess when they are given the opportunity to overcome challenges and demonstrate their worth.

In the realm of recruitment, embracing these lessons can lead to a more diverse, talented, and resilient workforce, ensuring that the pursuit of happiness remains a tangible goal for all.

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