Attraction vs. Repulsion: ‘Big Bang’ Physics for Recruiters
As for the cosmos, one favored scientific-philosophical answer is “attraction and repulsion”.
As for recruiting, well, read on.
Kant Say for Sure?
The 18th-century German giant of philosophy, Immanuel Kant, devoted a whole book to proving that what we all know about romance applies to the universe itself: Nothing happens without attraction and repulsion.
[If you can handle sentences that look like books, have a whack at Kant’s The Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science to get a handle on his decidedly unromantic take on the physics of forces. But, note, you’ve been warned.]
It is intriguing, but probably seems useless, to speculate on which of the two primary, universal and natural forces that Kant argued bind everything together existed first.
Was it attraction, or was it repulsion?—if, indeed, these two did not come into existence simultaneously or have not mysteriously and eternally co-existed, e.g., as the attractive force of gravitation or the attractive-repulsive forces of magnetic poles and those exerted through various other charged particles.
Learning about Recruiting from a Big Bang
As a useful complement and preliminary to understanding the essential forces of recruiting, consider those essential to the evolution of a universe.
On the one hand, a “Big Bang” seems to be the kind of thing that would begin with a repulsive bang. [Yes, “a”, not necessarily “the” Big Bang, since multiple Big Bangs may have occurred, continue to occur or will occur in the future, scattered throughout the unobservable universe, like July 4th fireworks or rocks thrown into and rippling throughout a very large, maybe infinite pond, some simultaneously, others later than some, with countless Big Bangs hurtling toward each other.]
But then, to the extent that a Big Bang is composed of anything, it’s reasonable to speculate that it has to be a densely packed something—hence, mutual attraction of its “components” or compression by an exterior [repellent] force appear to be logical candidates as manifestation of first forces of or proxies for attraction and repulsion—the latter including some kinds of resistance as a form of repulsion, e.g., resistance to being compressed.
That said, it is nonetheless undeniable that speculating on or deducing which came first is probably going to be as futile an exercise as speculating on which, if either, of time and space was first on the stage of Being—unlike the riddle of the chicken and the egg, which Richard Dawkins solved in his 1976 landmark book, The Selfish Gene.
Amazingly, he accomplished that merely by pointing out that chicken DNA is required to get a chicken, but that a chicken is not required to get chicken DNA, since the first chicken DNA had to be created by mutation of DNA at the level of a non-chicken’s sex cells, e.g., some other kind of bird whose gametes created the mutant egg that created the chicken.
So the egg not only came first—it also had to.
That compelling logic and conclusion had to wait for the discovery of DNA before it could be articulated and conclusive.
Broadening the focus, and with Big Bangs, eggs and chickens in mind, ask yourself this: “What are the primary, essential forces required for recruiting to be possible?”
The Forces of Attraction and Repulsion in Recruiting
Turning a speculative, analytical gaze to recruiting, the corresponding chicken-and-egg question can be asked: In the process of recruiting, which comes first—attraction or repulsion?
The facile answer that springs to mind is, of course, “attraction”, since the recruiting process begins with a search and a posting to attract applicants. But on deeper reflection and examination, things are perhaps not so simple, perhaps more like the essential co-existence of positive and negative charges, that attract their opposites, but repel their same-signed charges.
Sure, recruiting starts with a supply-demand dynamic: Somebody has demand for employees or for a job; somebody offers his or her time, talents and sometimes sweat to get the job. So, it seems everybody has to be attracted to something or somebody, if the recruiting ball is to get rolling, even if not exploding.
However, consider that the initial job posting is designed not only to attract suitable candidates, but also to repel the unqualified—thereby saving everybody a lot of time and space, e.g., for useless stacked resumes.
When writing a job ad, the experienced recruiter, like a primordial Creator or eternal dynamic, attempts to achieve just the right balance of attraction and repulsion that ensures that the evolving screening process, like the evolving universe, maintains a delicate, essential and stable equilibrium between the forces of attraction and the forces of repulsion—while allowing for a much desired endless expansion of the economy to parallel the observed ongoing expansion of the universe.
If the job ad is too daunting, with impossible demands, it becomes pure repulsion; on the other hand, if the ad is “too good to be true” and discourages no one, it functions as pure attraction, with administrative chaos and screening failure as the result, much as an organism with unbalanced attraction and repulsion, in just the right mix, e.g., of physiological electrolytes, and will eventually fall into chaos and fail.
Ditto for the universe, empires and for economies: If these expand because of some distant, dangling attraction or because of some repulsive force at their core, e.g., the symmetrical pull of other Big Bangs or exhausted local resources or job markets, they will be at risk of collapse [as some physics suggests for the universe], like an over-expanded cell too big to rid itself of its wastes.
A critical disanalogy here is that, unlike Mother Nature or the cosmic demiurge, recruiters have to make a continuous and conscious effort to maintain this balance between this primary attraction and repulsion.
Cost-Benefit Analysis, Repulsion-Attraction Analysis and Expansion
Recruiters also resonate with the cosmic repulsion-attraction dynamic by accepting as a brute fact that every screening or placement has interacting benefits and costs that determine the outcome of the recruiting process.
Given that costs are repellent and that benefits are attractive in at least two senses, a comparison with and to cosmic forces of attraction and repulsion seems warranted and legitimate.
Like the seemingly unbalanced expanding physical universe translated into financial imbalance, successful recruiting does not theoretically require a balance of costs and benefits—indeed, to the contrary, the recruiting ideal is a mix of 100% expanding benefit, zero cost, or at worst, some preponderance of benefit over cost, despite the perfectly balanced ledgers of the accountants.
So, perhaps the recruiting dynamic and the cosmic dynamic are very similar after all, since if the universe is expanding without limit, as is claimed by various physicists and cosmologists, it appears that on the largest scale, repulsion trumps attraction [unless the expansion of the universe is being driven by the gravitational attraction of countless Big Bangs surrounding ours].
Either way, the dynamics of recruiting and cosmic evolution seem to have another commonality: the potential for ongoing expansion without violent contraction…
…at least for a while.