Recruitment is a highly demanding industry that requires professionals to balance the needs of job seekers and employers while meeting tight deadlines and managing high volumes of information. Despite the important role that recruiters play in matching candidates with job opportunities, the stress and pressure of the job can take a toll on mental health.
While limited research has been carried out specifically on the mental health statistics of people working in recruitment, studies have found that high-stress jobs, such as the recruitment industry, may be more susceptible to mental health issues. According to a study conducted in 2020 by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK, HR professionals, who often work closely with recruiters, experience high levels of stress and burnout. The study found that 37% of HR professionals reported having experienced a mental health problem due to work-related stress in the past year, with workload and long working hours being key contributing factors.
Similarly, a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that high demands and low control roles, which are common in the recruitment industry, were associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety among employees in various industries.
The importance of mental health in recruitment is particularly relevant to the tech and data recruitment industry, which is known for its high-pressure environment and fast-paced work culture. Tech and data recruiters are responsible for finding and placing highly skilled professionals in a constantly evolving industry, which can be challenging and demanding.
The fast pace and constant change in the tech and data industry can lead to high levels of stress and burnout among recruiters. According to a report by Hired, a recruitment platform for tech jobs, 53% of tech recruiters reported experiencing burnout in 2020, with 67% saying that their workload had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for talent in the industry can also create a sense of urgency and pressure for recruiters to find and place candidates quickly. This can lead to a focus on meeting targets and deadlines at the expense of employee well-being and mental health.
Given these risks, it is important for recruitment agencies and employers to prioritise the mental health and well-being of their staff. This includes promoting work-life balance, providing access to mental health resources and support, and offering training on stress management and resilience development techniques.
Employers can also take steps to reduce the workload and pressures that recruiters face, such as streamlining the recruitment process, providing adequate resources and support, and setting realistic targets and deadlines. By reducing the stress and pressure of the job, recruiters are more likely to be able to maintain good mental health and provide a better service to candidates and employers alike.
In addition to supporting employees, recruitment agencies can also play a role in promoting mental health and well-being among candidates. This could include providing information and resources on mental health, offering support to candidates who may be struggling with mental health issues, and partnering with mental health organisations to raise awareness and reduce stigma.
When it comes to improving recruitment strategies, there are several approaches that can be taken. One option is to move to a retained model, rather than using a PSL model with low-end, volume-based agencies. This decreases the amount of dropped business due to clients having “skin in the game”. Another potential strategy is to focus on exclusivity or to consider the 180 model to deepen the specialized skills of individual consultants. Providing tailored, SMART targets that focus on output rather than input can also help to create a more productive and effective recruitment team.
It's also important to consider hiring individuals with specific skill sets and backgrounds that can heighten the ability to win quality business contracts. For instance, industry knowledge and experience are generally more valuable than six months of telesales experience.
Finally, it's worth considering shifting the incentives norms that are often offered within recruitment. While alcohol-based incentives may be fun and lift morale in the moment, they can also result in tiredness and hangovers, which can ultimately negatively impact productivity and employees’ mental health. Instead, take the opportunity to offer relaxing incentives, such as spa days or an overnight stay at a high-end hotel, promoting incentives that refresh and rejuvenate your team. These steps may help to create a more effective and sustainable culture and thus aid in consultants’ recruitment strategy.
While there is limited research specifically on the mental health statistics of people who work in recruitment, studies have found that high job demands and low job control can increase the risk of mental health issues among employees in various industries, including recruitment. To address these risks, it is important for employers and recruitment agencies to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of their staff, and to take steps to reduce or support the workload and pressures that recruiters face. By doing so, recruiters can maintain good mental health and provide a better service to candidates and employers alike.