The most valuable asset recruiters have is time. Constantly bouncing between taking calls, sourcing candidates, searching for contact data or responding to emails, there’s no shortage of work to be done. Because of this, our attention is constantly being diverted away from what we’re working on with distractions lurking behind every corner.
Allowing yourself to become distracted, disengaged or unproductive can have some pretty severe consequences. The most common of which is additional stress from inefficient use of time, but recruiters also run the risk of missing quotas, letting candidates fall through the cracks and, if left unchecked, termination.
In order to get the most out of your day, here are the top 8 productivity tips for recruiters:
1. Practice Inbox Zero
Recruiters live in their email. As such, it’s all too easy for their inbox to overflow with messages from candidates, clients or hiring managers. In order to stay productive, try practicing Inbox Zero. Inbox Zero theory holds that in order to be productive, you shouldn’t have any emails in your inbox. To achieve this you should:
- Delete any messages that do not require a response.
- Forward any emails that can be answered better by someone else.
- Respond to any messages that can be answered in two minutes or less.
- Move new messages that require more time to a “requires response” folder.
These are just the basic tenets of Inbox Zero, but you can customize it to fit your existing workflow. For example, some businesses prohibit deleting emails for compliance reasons, so archiving messages would be a more appropriate solution.
2. Set a schedule for when you check your email
As previously mentioned, it’s not uncommon for a recruiter to drown in a sea of emails, and with multiple emails coming in every hour, you may get distracted from whatever task you’re trying to complete. To help combat this distraction, set a firm schedule on when you allow yourself to check your email and respond. Block off time in your calendar so you can start clearing out the “requires response” folder you just set up for Inbox Zero, and close your email client for the rest of the time.
Just make sure your colleagues are aware of your schedule so they don’t get mad at you for not responding to a time-sensitive email. By giving them the heads up, they’ll know to just call or speak to you in person if they need something right away.
3. Exercise Early
We’ve all had that type of morning where we hobble into work exhausted, eyes still crusted over with sleep. And after turning on your computer, having a cup of coffee and getting situated, more than an hour has gone by and you haven’t accomplished anything. Exercising in the morning is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re awake, energized and ready for the day ahead of you. Exercise releases endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety while increasing self-esteem. Regular exercise is also linked to a better work-life balance.
It might be difficult to find the motivation to wake up even earlier to get a workout in, so start small. Do some light stretches at first before working your way towards more intense exercises like running.
4. Streamline your workflow
Recruiters do the majority of their sourcing with LinkedIn. However, if you’re out of InMails or prefer contacting the candidate through email or telephone, you would need to leave LinkedIn to search for their contact information.
Using tools like ReachOut streamlines this process by allowing you to search for contact information directly on LinkedIn. By not having to go to multiple sources for information, you’ll be able to make the most efficient use of your time.
5. Utilize Schedulers
One of the most annoying tasks for a recruiter is setting up phone screens and interviews. The repetitive back and forth of trying to find a time that works for both parties is not only a waste of time but also completely unnecessary. By using an online scheduler, input the times you or the hiring manager are free and the applicant can just select whichever time slot they prefer.
This greatly cuts down on superfluous email chains and allows you to focus on more important things.
6. Store templates in your signature
In order to streamline your email outreach, create templates for the emails you send most often. These could be thank you emails, messages to set up interviews, or even extending an offer. Once you’ve written the templates, store each one in a new signature in your email client. Now, whenever you need to send a thank you email, it’s just a few clicks away.
Just note that templates aren’t a good way to initiate contact with passive candidates. In order to pique their interest, you’re going to have to tailor the message to each individual that you are contacting.
7. Set a list of priorities for the week
Sometimes you have so much on your plate that it becomes a struggle just to keep up. Regularly creating a list of your top priorities, along with any deliverables and due dates can help focus your mind on completing the tasks at hand. It also helps prevent things from falling through the cracks, as you’re constantly reminding yourself of what you have left to do.
To make your list more useful, assign each task a number from one to three. One signifies that you must complete the task ASAP. A score of two means you must complete the task within the next few days or by the end of the week. Three is the lowest priority and means you can take several weeks to complete these tasks. This system will help you manage your time more efficiently and get high priority tasks off your desk as quickly as possible.
8. Set time aside for non-work activities
This might seem counterproductive but all recruiters should block off some time in their day to do non-work related activities. It’s human nature to procrastinate, but if you set a specific time each day to take a break, you’ll be more focused during your working hours. Going for a walk or leaving the office for a coffee are great ways to relax and recharge, keeping you motivated for the rest of the day.
Or, check out one of these top recruiting blogs!
Bonus: Quit your job
This might seem a bit dramatic, but if you experience a chronic lack of motivation and productivity it might just be because you feel unfulfilled in your current role.
If you’re not excited to go to work, chances are it will show in your performance. According to a Gallup poll, actively disengaged employees can cost U.S. businesses between $450-550 billion dollars annually. A CareerBuilder study also found that bad hires costs between $24 and 50 thousand dollars per year per business. So instead of making yourself miserable and costing your company thousands of dollars, look for a position that actually makes you happy.
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