There are 8,760 hours a year. 2,190 hours per year are spent asleep (an average of 6 hours per night). 2,080 hours per year are “sold” for a paycheck (40 hours per week multiplied by 52 weeks a year).
This leaves 4,490 hours to eat or play, or live beyond the boundaries of work and sleep. By these numbers almost 25% of a person’s life is spent working in order to afford the remaining 75% of their life.
People want a quality of life that suits their sensibilities and preferences. Don’t we all?
The question is who will help them find a job adequate enough to fund the remaining 75% of their life? This is where the recruiting industry comes in, and we recruiters know it. Our industry survives only if there is significant unrest in the life of an employee, one deep enough to provoke a change in vocation making them the ideal person for the company we represent and the position we need to fill. Many times this unrest is stirred by the belief that the remaining 75% of their life isn’t living up to par. Many recruiting firms hope to leverage that unrest enough in order to connect them to the “perfect job” capable of living up to their career goals and dreams. In fact, many recruiting firms would rather the 25%, the job, overshadow the 75%, the rest of life, and move the person away from seeing the big picture by focusing solely on career goals. When this happens, and it often does, people fail to consider the intangible costs in light of the new and better paycheck. Disillusioned by the promise of perfection and the grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome, they accept the new job, uproot family and leave behind dear friends for the pursuit of happiness, not realizing it until it is too late.
Recruiting firms often grow their bottom-lines by capitalizing on this disillusionment by embracing a recruiting process built around occupation-specific criteria and fast turn around times. Rarely will recruiters urge caution and encourage people to consider how the new job means starting over in life. To do so could run the risk of prolonging the hire or worse, lose the ideal individual for the placement. Consequently recruiting firms lose sight of the person and fix their eyes on the money yielded by the placement with the company that hired them to fill the position quickly. By focusing solely on questions specific to occupation–skill sets, successes, career goals–recruiting firms fail to learn about the person–life goals, hopes, family dynamics. This results in treating people like products where the placement of the position is prioritized over the person.
In recruiting people can never be products. “People” are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, all with hopes, plans, failures, successes and goals. We need to know these hopes, plans, failures, successes and goals; we want to know their stories and what matters to them in the remaining 75% of their time.
We need to remind them that even though this new career opportunity could be great for their career and filled with new possibilities, an out-of-state/city could also profoundly impact their lives. It might involve uprooting their family where the children will have to change schools and make new friends, and they will leave their networks of close relationships behind and have to do the hard work of developing new ones.
We need to make sure they see the big picture from all angles, even if it means “losing” the ideal individual for the placement. Besides, what good would it serve the company that contracted us to find great people if after a few months the newly hired person experiences remorse, arrives at work unhappy and eventually resigns?
If a recruiting firm is intentional and guided by a higher ethic beginning with the belief that people are never to be treated like products, it can maintain a holistic, high-quality recruiting process and efficient turn around time in filling the position.
In the end, treating people like products by focusing on the placement rather than the personserves no one. It makes money but also makes a mockery of a industry we care deeply about. And it happens all too often. This is why everything must change and we should work to make it so.
(this post was originally posted here at www.reinventingrecruiting.com)