Is Recruiting Bad for Your Health?

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.”

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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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With over 25 years of talent acquisition experience, Paul Siker is the founder and CEO of Advanced Recruiting Trends, a recruitment training and talent acquisition consulting firm. He is also managing partner of The Artisan Group, an executive search and staff augmentation firm.


2 Comments on “Is Recruiting Bad for Your Health?

  1. I’m very aware of the health issues, both mentally and physically from constantly being on the computer and sitting most of the day. I’m actually addicted to the Internet now and feel guilty when I’m not on it. Even when I don’t have any requisitions to work on I’m still on it networking, attending webinars, watching industry videos, etc. Plus I go through about 200 emails a day. I feel like I need to seek a Psychologist now, since it’s a challenge to have a balanced life. Recruiting for me hasn’t been as stressful as most Recruiters probably have. I don’t negotiate with candidates and I’ve never had a candidate turn down
    my offer. And I’ve been recruiting intermittently for more than 10 years. Additionally I have pretty good relationships with hiring managers and can control the recruiting process fairly easily. I work on the Consulting side as a Sr Contract Tech Recruiter, mostly with corporations. I suspect it’s less stressful than working for many agencies. I know the DISC Personality Profile really well and it helps in working with hiring managers and with closing tech candidates, especially in the Mobile and Digital fields, who have several interviews already scheduled. If you understand personality types, you’ll know what it takes to stop the candidates from continuing with their interviews.
    Recruiting to me is much less stressful than being in Sales, which I was in for as many years as
    I’ve been in Recruiting. With Sales there was always the pressure of filling a quota and even if
    you were #1 in Sales, your quota will continually to increase. I’ve never had the pressure of a
    quota in Recruiting, even though they were always there. I never had anyone come to me and
    tell me that I wasn’t producing or hiring fast enough or anything negative. I’m really happy if
    I’m working in peace and harmony. I’ve had as many as 300 req’s but that was for a year
    projection. Now that I’m getting older, the less req’s the better. Sitting all day looking inside
    a computer feels like my life is being zapped away. My vision has gotten worse and I’ve
    been losing my muscle tone. Need to exercise more. But again, I have this feeling of guilt
    if I’m not working on the computer. Besides Recruiting, I’m planning to write some books
    and also have fashion items that I’m selling online. All of this is on the computer. It makes
    me want to go on a vacation. Now my preference is to work part-time instead of full-time
    as a result of feeling like I’m losing my connection with nature and society. It’s scary, thinking
    about using the tape measure, as Paul suggest. But it really helps bring things into perspective.
    Everyone should aim for a Balanced Life. Recruiting is never ending, especially when you work
    as an hourly consultant. You can work all hours of the day and night and you’re aware of it
    when you’re doing something else, like “Is what I’m doing now worth losing my $$$ hourly
    fee? Is going on a vacation worth the 2 weeks loss of pay? This is how you lose your balance
    in life…and then your life slips away. Thanks of your article Paul. I hope everyone reads it.
    Recruiter in San Francisco Bay Area

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