Recruiting is something we hear about all the time. More often than not, the news is not good. Take the U.S. military. All four branches have been struggling with recruiting for decades. But do our collective recruiting woes point to a larger problem that we are missing?
It’s a legitimate question given that military recruiters aren’t the only ones struggling. So are healthcare recruiters. According to healthcare data provider iMedical Data, healthcare facilities cannot recruit enough clinicians to meet demand. Likewise, companies whose work involves skilled trades are finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit workers. Even police and fire departments struggle to keep their numbers up to par. But why?
The whole idea of recruiting is to convince people who would otherwise not join you to do so. It is a necessary thing. But when recruiting efforts continually evolve without producing any better results, something is wrong. That something may not be the recruiting efforts themselves. It might be the outlook of the people being recruited.
An Overly Positive Attitude
The fact that you are still reading suggests you might be open to thinking outside the box. So here’s a radical proposition: perhaps the culture has spent so much time promoting an overly positive attitude that people no longer have a realistic outlook on life. And because of that, our society is largely discontented with life.
No doubt you have heard of the Great Resignation. Since the start of the pandemic, millions of people have left their jobs in search of greener pastures. They have decided they are no longer content to continue working according to old norms. They want something new. They want something better. Where did that idea come from?
It is rooted in a cultural insistence that life should never be uncomfortable. As a society, we view discomfort as a bad thing. We view failure as bad for self-esteem. We are collectively doing our best to erase absolutely everything we consider negative, thus focusing all our attention on what we perceive as positive. As a result, we have an unrealistic expectation of what life should be like.
How It Affects Recruiting
So, how does this cultural philosophy affect recruiting? By giving people a false impression of so many things. For example, we spent the better part of 50 years convincing people that success is only achieved by going to college and getting a professional degree. Now we wonder why we cannot recruit enough young people to go into the skilled trades. Young people consider skilled trades beneath them.
Likewise, we have conditioned ourselves to believe that military careers are only for people who cannot make it in normal society. In terms of healthcare recruiting, healthcare facilities and recruiting agencies are struggling to find job candidates because the culture has done such a masterful job of decrying the negative aspects of medical careers. Constant discussions about physician burnout, nurse discontent, and crushing student debt dissuade young people from going into medicine.
It is not that all the negative information is false. It’s not. It is just that our collective desire to never have to face any challenges in life makes those negative things seem bigger than they really are. They scare people away because no one wants to be uncomfortable.
The fact that so many organizations work so hard to recruit but still come up short points to a larger problem we appear to be missing. Maybe it’s not that those organizations don’t know how to recruit. Perhaps the problem is that potential recruits don’t want to be recruited due to unrealistic expectations. What do you think?