Get People Excited to Switch Jobs—the Recruiter’s Role in an Age of Depression and Anxiety in Tech

There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with the terrain of switching jobs. For instance, let’s say that—for whatever reason—you’re not a fit with your manager or new employer.  Or maybe, the fast-growing startup didn’t end up being as fast-growing as it appeared on the surface. Talented, passionate, and creative engineers know that in the innovation economy, what the World Economic Forum (WEF) calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution. There are an abundance of jobs:

“The world has the potential to connect billions more people to digital networks, dramatically improve the efficiency of organizations and even manage assets in ways that can help regenerate the natural environment, potentially undoing the damage of previous industrial revolutions,” writes Klaus Schwab, WEF’s founder and executive chairman, in his book about the global shift.

But is the grass always greener in a new role? Not necessarily.

What happens if your new boss is terrible? What if there’s a sudden organizational restructuring? What if we’re better off sitting still rather than making moves in an age in which what-ifs continue to whirl through our minds?

The tech sector is going through growing pains

One of the biggest challenges that people face, is that they’re unsure of how to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution economy. Despite the promises of prosperity that comes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there’s also the potential for chaos. Schwab elaborates:

“Organizations might be unable to adapt; governments could fail to employ and regulate new technologies to capture their benefits; shifting power will create important new security concerns; inequality may grow; and societies fragment.”

It’s this macroeconomic tension that translates into the pressures that people feel when navigating their decisions, day to day. Not every company has what it takes to be successful—and organizational chaos translates into the experiences that people have, on the ground, every day.

There’s a lot of industry discourse in the heart of the tech sector, for instance, around depression and anxiety. In a recent survey, for instance, 39% of employees reported experiencing depression. Not to mention, depression and anxiety rates are increasing with each new generation that enters the workforce.

“I have seen an increase of people in tech feeling more hopeless. They often say, ‘I don’t know if my job is helping anybody,’” said Krista Regedanz, a psychologist in Silicon Valley, in a recent interview with the New York Times. “People who want to change the world and have good energy around it—I’m seeing a lot of them come in saying: ‘I don’t know. Does it matter?’”

When people feel depressed, they’re less excited about work. They’re more likely to live life going through the motions, rather than putting their full passion and heart behind their crafts. They’re less likely to step outside of their comfort zones and take risks.

To keep the hiring engine going, it’s up to recruiters to lend a guiding hand—to offer clarity during a time in which many tech workers are likely to report feeling demoralized and discouraged. That means helping the people you’re recruiter see the bigger picture of their work—to help them feel valued. That’s good news for you: studies show that humans feel happier when they lend a helping hand to others.

What’s a better way to help people than to lead them to their dream jobs?

Uplift people with these simple recruiting communication tips

As a recruiter, you stand at the front lines of a company’s communication and hiring strategy. You create the story, in your prospective hire’s  mind, of what it’s like to work for your organization. You can build this narrative in a variety of different ways, emphasizing value propositions ranging from salaries to benefits, perks, and career growth pathways. How do you know that you’re communicating the right details from the very first moment that you interact with a potential hire?

The field of human psychology helps to address this question. For one, studies have shown that emotions are contagious—and that in online environments, positive contagions travel faster than negative ones.

Given this context, here’s what to emphasize in your next outreach email:

Share a sense of meaning and purpose

Studies have shown that the constructs of meaning and purpose serve an important role in the workplace. One book, published by the American Psychology Association (APA), explains that “work is one of the most fundamental experiences of human life.” But people struggle to find jobs that are fulfilling. So what’s the solution? Change the story that potential candidates are telling themselves, says one article in ThriveGlobal:

“Experts say finding meaning has nothing to do with your job title, or where you fall in your company’s hierarchy. In a recent piece in The New York Times Magazine, author Charles Duhigg mentions a 2001 study, where researchers found that particular janitors at hospitals seemed happier than others, simply because they felt something deeper in their work.”

Research what your prospective hires care about—figure out what they’re blogging about on their websites, sharing on social media, contributing to in their spare time, and speaking about at conferences. Help them see a higher level of meaning and purpose in the role for which you’re recruiting. You can use the Humanpredictions database to surface these details.

Establish a sense of trust

As a recruiter, you set the tone for your company’s culture. From the very first moment that you reach out to someone, you’re beginning to build—what has the potential to become—a long-term rapport. This sense of trust has the potential to carryover into someone’s career, for years. 

Your words are powerful. Within a few conversations, you have the potential to establish a new growth trajectory for your business.

“Consider Gallup’s meta-analysis of decades’ worth of data: It shows that high engagement—defined largely as having a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying ample chances to learn—consistently leads to positive outcomes for both individuals and organizations,” writes Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies, professor at Claremont Graduate University, and contributor to Harvard Business Review.

“The rewards include higher productivity, better-quality products, and increased profitability.”

The business returns of trust are clear. Here are some ways to establish it with future employees, according to Zak:

  • Recognize excellence
  • Establish a challenge
  • Make it clear that people will have discretion in their work
  • Give people the ability to “job craft” their own roles
  • Share behind-the-scenes information
  • Demonstrate a commitment to building relationships

Appeal to the human imagination

Don’t just focus on compliments and big-picture discussion points. Give people a concrete idea of what the role will be like. Explain what a week might look like. Share what the mood tends to be at your office. Share candid (rather than canned) photos. 

Help the people you’re recruiting envision themselves as a part of your company. Create visual experiences through words. Shed light and show a pathway towards what could be the other person’s light at the end of someone’s very long search for meaning. Show your readers a future for themselves that they didn’t know existed.

Hi Ritika,

If a VC, a software company, and a media company had a baby… it would be [VC firm]. Focused on networks and marketplaces across seed stage B2B & B2C, HQ’d in SF,  [VC firm]is more than your typical VC. It’s a startup, a think tank, and it’s on the forefront of entrepreneurial thought leadership. [VC firm] is out to rewire the entire VC UX and these guys know what it’s like cause they’ve been there, done that. Founded by [Names] – the 3 partners have started 10 companies with a combined exit of $10 Billion dollars. That’s Billion with a B!

We are looking for a [job title] to help drive thought leadership and ideation, working side-by-side with the partners, who we jokingly describe as the physicist [Name], the philosopher  [Name], and the fighter pilot [Name]! This role will have massive scope and influence, with a true seat at the leadership table. I’m talking white boarding with the founders all week long as you tinker away at the latest article, podcast topic, or youtube talk track. Strong writing and passion/knowledge for the VC/Startup ecosystem are a must.

Let me know if you have 20 minutes to hop on a call this week and the best day/time/# to reach you on. I have lots more I can tell you!

With gratitude for your time,

The Humanpredictions

P.S. If you find the information from this resource helpful, please share it with more people on your team, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and with your networks of recruiters.

P.P.S. We care about diversity, inclusion, and respecting pronounds. We thought that the quotes below would hit home with humans of all walks of life. We love to push boundaries with our content, respectfully. If you’d ever like to see a change in our communication style, please let us know.

P.P.P.S. As recruiters, you’re part of a global movementeven though that’s tough to see, sometimes. Humanpredictions is empowering humans with the skill of being human again. You can read about our artistic vision and mission statement, here.

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