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As Recruiters, people turn to us for career advice, job application advice, resignation advice, etc. I bet you didn’t know that we are also masters of productivity. In the recruitment world especially in Agency settings, we need to master and manage our time. Our productivity is sharply monitored and accounted for (as it should) as productivity is our way to success. In most Recruitment training programs, time management and productivity topics are always included. A Recruiter’s day can pull in any direction as we have to do multitudes of activities to produce results. Along the way, “urgent” or “life and death” matters get thrown into our schedules, so it’s important to train us to keep our eyes on the goals. In this post, I’ll be sharing with you productivity and time management “hacks” I’ve learned over the years that may be useful or transferable to your line of work
- Plan your day, but be flexible – To keep us in line and maintain our focus, we are taught to plan daily. This planning is done the day/night before, not on the day itself (a time-waster). We need to review how our day was, and then plan for the next day accordingly. However, because we are in a business where things can change in a blink of an eye, we have to make our schedules flexible to accommodate urgent tasks. Concurrently, we remember that we still have those other tasks planned out for the day. We may have to adjust our plans or spend extra hours fulfilling all these additional or backlogged tasks.
A note on “Anything can happen” – This is both the fun and bain of our existence as Recruiters. No two days are alike (really! It’s not a cliche!). You can plan a whole day of calls, and it can be thrown out of the window when a key client asks you to go on-site because there are issues that need to be resolved asap. These things keep us on our toes, make our work-life “colorful” and “exciting”, but also make our job highly stressful.
- Adjust to people’s working styles, but be careful to maintain your boundaries and peace – We are in a people business, and we are taught to put people first, always. However, our schedules or working styles may not necessarily match with our clients, candidates, bosses, etc. So we are taught to learn, understand and adjust to their working styles. For example, I may like to do my client calls in the morning. But this particular client is only free to take calls at the end of the day, so I’ll adjust my activities to make that evening call to the client, etc. On the other hand, as someone who values my off time, I need to take the initiative to set work boundaries like when I can work, and how I will do the work. It’s a balancing act really, which I (we) do all the time, to keep everyone happy and meet our goals.
- Teach people how to respect your time – As Recruiters, every task thrown at us seems urgent and must be attended to immediately. Additionally, people that we work with have different working styles. Many of them are keen to work and communicate until late. I know of Recruiters who don’t mind this and can work until late too. But as a non-believer of Elon Musk’s “work-life concepts”, I have to take the initiative of letting people know if I can’t do something at the time they want, for the sake of my sanity. Hey, I am not averse to extending my work time ( I do it a lot). But once I have put the brakes on my workday, everything is really “done”. I often have to redirect people politely to a time that is ok for both of us to discuss or do the tasks. Otherwise, I will be a slave to other people’s time.
- Manage your energy – Learning about time management and productivity, I realized that our work habits differ because of our energy. Some people have high energy levels in the morning (me). Some people are sluggish in the morning but are exploding with energy in the evening. I now understand why some people can work best at night, some people only during the day or some at all hours. That’s why it is important for us Recruiters to learn the highs and lows of our energy, and how to utilize them according to their levels. For example, do the most difficult tasks that require a lot of brainpower during our high energy periods, and do the admin/back end stuff on the least energetic part of the day. This way, we maximize our peak periods and produce good results because we are at our best in performing the essential stuff.
- Prioritize activities that get you closer to your goals – There are so many activities, primary and secondary, that we Recruiters need to do to achieve our goals. Activities can range from posting a job order to closing deals, to job intake sessions, to updating our CRMs. However, time, our precious tool, is a commodity that we do not get back once spent. Hence, we are taught that we should prioritize doing the activities that get us close to our goals. Do we really need to update our CRM during prime calling hours? Do we really have to do our planning work in the morning when we should be contacting clients and candidates already? It’s integral to do the key activities during our prime hours (piggybacks the concept of managing one’s energy). Set aside the admin stuff later in the day, or ask help to get it done, or automate the tasks, so our precious resources are spent on the right activities that are measured, and takes us closer to closing our deals.
- Batch your meetings or similar activities – Recruiters have many meetings and calls to attend to during the day. To save time in the process and to keep our minds in the same frame/space, we are taught to “batch up our activities together.” For example, I am in the CBD area to meet a client. I will use that time to book other meetings with clients/candidates in the same area to maximize the time, to meet more people which helps in achieving KPIs, in building better relationships, getting market info, etc. We’ve already spent the time and effort going outside, so make the most out of it.
- Sometimes it takes just a phone call to sort things out there are some issues at work that can drag on and on, creating long email or text loops. Being in a people business, we are taught that sometimes, it takes just one call to sort things out and end the long conversation cycle. We are taught to “love the phone” and “just call”. Unfortunately, technology has kept us away from it and we hide using many other complex tools. In reality, the phone, although ancient, is our friend, and it only takes a minute to dial someone, ask them clarifying questions, get things done, and for everyone to move on.
- Make meetings count – Again, time is a precious commodity, whether it is our time or our stakeholders’. So when we get that precious meeting booked, we are taught to make it count by preparing for it in advance. This includes establishing the meeting agenda, getting the most important information, asking the right questions, and taking the opportunity to demonstrate how we can best support our stakeholders. Some people can just wing it, some do elaborate planning. However it is done, we Recruiters must be able to get something done out of that precious meeting.
There you have it. I hope you picked up a thing or two that you can apply in your work life. What productivity hacks do you have that is unique and essential to you own industry?