Is Recruiting Bad for Your Health?

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Feb 3, 2016

Over the course of the past year, I became considerably more mindful of my health. Not because I was dealing with an acute medical condition, but rather because I’m now entrenched in my “middle years,” and figured that I would probably be happier and healthier if I dropped some weight that had inexplicably found its way onto my frame over the past decade.

So, I increased my commitment to working out every day. I also started paying much more attention to what I was consuming. Thankfully, the results have been predictable and gratifying — and maybe even life changing. Time will tell.

We are all here for a finite period of time. In fact, here’s a little exercise that will drive this message home. Get a tape measure. Stretch it out to a distance that is numerically approximate, in inches, to the number of years you hope or expect to live. Now, take a look at the numeric value for your current age, and then look at the distance that remains to your final age. Pretty sobering, or at least I think so. Whether or not we care to admit it (and, as the saying goes, “Da Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt”), I suspect that many of us are at a point where we have to acknowledge that assuring good health is yet another thing that requires an investment of both time and energy.

As someone who has worked in recruiting for most of my adult life, I started thinking about some of the health implications of our profession.  Recruiting can be just a little bit stressful at times, can’t it? We operate within a brokerage style sales process, a two-sided close, unrelenting job requisition loads, demanding hiring authorities, unrealistic candidates (or, unrealistic hiring authorities and demanding candidates, as the case may be), counteroffers, turndowns, ambiguous position specifications, etc. etc., etc., all of which churn in a never-ending crucible of activities and transactions that blur together, day-in and day-out. In short, recruiting can be a pressure cooker.

In a fascinating Fortune article entitled, “Is Silicon Valley Bad for your Health,” Jeffrey M. O’Brien shares a host of compelling data regarding elevated risk factors for diabetes and heart disease among different ethnicities working in high-tech companies. I would submit that many of the same factors impacting software and technology professionals in Silicon Valley are equally applicable to a broad spectrum of recruiting professionals.

Consider the following: many of us routinely sit in front of monitors for hours at a time. We sit in interviews. We sit in countless meetings.  Sitting, sitting, and more sitting. And with chronic sitting comes poor posture. We are deadline driven; our over-committed calendars testify to a workload that is a chaotic mix of activities. Too often our compressed schedules drive us toward diets of convenience that are high in processed carbohydrates. All of the above is reinforced by a steady, demanding, and seemingly perpetual workload that is further aggravated by the simple fact that “good people really are hard to find.”

Is recruiting truly bad for your health? No more so than any other desk-bound job, I suppose. But, I do think there is genuine value in being aware of how our jobs ultimately impact our health, and real dividends associated with becoming more active and taking better care of ourselves.

I’m not attempting to lecture or lord over anyone. And, I’m most certainly not implying that I’m a poster child for healthy living (although, I have gotten better!). But there’s never a bad time to invest in your health. In addition to being an inexpensive investment, relatively speaking, there’s an abundance of anecdotal evidence to support the idea that a healthy recruiting professional is far more likely to be a happier, more productive, and more fulfilled recruiting professional.


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