Recruitment is no Rocket Science.

Recruitment is no rocket science. Or is it? I’m not exactly sure why people keep making this comparison. Although my instinctive reaction would be to refute this statement, I am definitely triggered to keep an open mind and dive in deeper.

Recruitment & Selection

Rocket Science is not even Rocket Science

Let’s get started on this with the fundamentals. The idea of traveling into space has inspired the minds of writers, artists, and inventors for centuries. I mean: Who hasn’t fantasized about exciting intergalactic missions, space ships an extraterrestrial encounters, at least once in their lifetime?

Though many of you may find the concept of space exploration too much like science fiction and think rocket science is strictly reserved to NASA’s masterminds, rocket science can be understood through Newton’s Basic Laws of Motion, which were published in 1687. You’ve read that right, the fundamentals of rocket science have been around for over 300 years! And to think that Sir Isaac Newton worked these out without calculator, computer or even Google… Well, then it can’t be that hard, right?

Obviously, it is not that simple. What makes successful rocketry so difficult isn’t so much the science as the engineering. There’s so much complex technology in a rocket and so many key considerations to take into account, that launching a rocket successfully is incredibly complicated.  

Recruitment is like Rocket Science

So rocket science essentially relies on the Laws of Motion with a particular emphasis on the center of gravity, thrust, stability, and combustion. Its’ key considerations include maths & physics, calculations, and projections, along with a healthy regard for gravity. With rocket science – if these considerations are taken into account, there are predictable outcomes and definite answers.

Like rocket science, the fundamentals of recruitment seem pretty straightforward. One simply has to understand the law of supply and demand, with on the one hand side job opportunities and on the other hand side a pool of suitable candidates. It seems to just be a matter of matching people with opportunities.

Like rocket science, recruitment requires meticulous planning, clear process steps, efficiency in delivery and continuous communication with all parties involved.

Like rocket science, recruitment can mitigate the risks through tests and tools based on scientific models & theories. Think of assessment centers, personality tests, reasoning ability tests, etc. designed to help organizations make objective recruitment decisions and reduce the risks of a mis-hire.  

Like rocket science, recruitment also has several key considerations to systematically take into account. Think of job requirements, skills, education and salary range. Regardless of the position you are trying to fill, you will always need exact information on these topics.

Recruitment is unlike Rocket Science

Unlike rocket science, mixing these ingredients does not always guarantee a certain outcome in recruitment. There are many variables at play. Sometimes it’s the applicant, sometimes it's the employer. Sometimes it’s a much broader issue that unexpectedly impacts the outcome. It could be the economy, politics, or more personal matters such as fear of failure, change aversion or a counteroffer.

Unlike rocket science, recruitment is definitely not an exact science. Though you may have clearly determined the recruitment process, your requirements and non-negotiables, recruitment is not about mathematical realities, but about people. And dealing with people requires empathy, adaptability, connection, a personalized approach and a deep understanding of human behaviour.

Unlike rocket science & aerospace engineering, it’s easy to assume that recruitment is simple to do yourself. After all, a bit of DIY recruitment has never killed anyone, right? But don’t be fooled!

The secret is in the engineering

As mentioned preciously, what makes successful rocketry so difficult isn’t so much the science as the engineering. The same could be said about  recruitment.

The difficulty isn’t so much in understanding the responsibilities & objectives that come with a certain job role, nor the required skill set. The intricacies lie beneath the surface. Recruitment is much more about understanding team dynamics, organizational culture, sector challenges and labour market tightness. It’s about fostering growth and driving organizational success. It’s about crafting compelling narratives and communications to entice top talent. It’s about the emotional intelligence of the recruiter to gauge the ambition, potential and desires of a candidate, all while ensuring the candidate’s wellbeing.

So is it true that ‘recruitment is no rocket science’? I will leave it up to you to decide…

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