As a recruiter, managing your time can feel like you’re a juggler in a circus with several balls in the air. Invariably some will crash to the ground. One key to success in our business is identifying which balls to juggle (planning) and then working to perfect your performance (execution).
Effective time management for recruiters means working smart rather than just being busy. Being busy is easy. Working smart means spending the majority of your time on the activities that will MOST LIKELY put money in the bank for you first. This sounds easy in theory but as we all know, a recruiter’s average day is full of necessary activities and constant interruptions. These interruptions cause recruiters to lose focus and spend time and energy on activities that seem important but in reality, are not.
Below are some suggestions about what you can do to keep your focus directed on the ‘closest to money’ activities:
Make use of your daily planner
If you fail to plan then you plan to fail. You MUST have a written daily plan. And you MUST follow your plan. Whether you use a daily planner form, recruitment software, Microsoft Outlook, an app on your iPhone/blackberry, or just a task list written on a pad, the most important thing is that your plan be specific and that you list each task you SHOULD be performing that day.
If you do your planner online, then print it and keep it open and in front of you at all times – it does no good for your planner to be minimized on your computer screen.
Allocate each task on an urgency basis
How much time you spend on each job order and candidate should be based on urgency. That is you have to specifically determine which job orders and candidates deserve the most time and effort and how much time you allocate to each.
Make time for business development
No matter how busy you are you must remember to schedule time EVERY day for new business development. New business development is the number one thing that recruiters ‘forget’ to do when they are ‘busy’. It is human nature that we want to speak with people who are warm and friendly and receptive to us. Therefore a lot of recruiters spend time repeatedly calling people they already know. Picking up the phone and calling a brand new potential decision maker means a greater risk of hearing the word ‘NO’ so too often these calls are not made. However speaking to new decision makers is the only way to build and replenish your inventory. Many of you will already know that over eighty percent of sales are closed on the fifth call or later so take time to make the first call.
Create extra time
Successful recruiters manage their time more effectively by knowing when and how to make use of ‘extra time’. If you are working on a number of urgent requirements and candidates your normal working day may not give you enough time to source candidates, arrange interviews for them and manage the recruitment process. On these occasions only you can determine how much extra time you are willing to put into your job to achieve the activity levels that will bring you closer to your production and revenue goals. Extra time may mean coming in early, working through your lunch or staying after work – or sometimes all three! It may mean making calls from your home in the evening or over the weekend when you would rather be relaxing. It may even mean coming into your office on a Saturday or Sunday if you feel you need to – though with remote desktop tools that needn’t be necessary. For many recruiters, creating ‘extra time’ is a commitment too far. The urgent job order you have will not be urgent forever; however it is urgent NOW. Only you can determine how much of a price (in terms of your time) you want to pay to cover your urgent assignments and ultimately your success as a recruiter.
Master time management
Review your daily plan before you leave your desk for the day plan the next days activities. Pat yourself on the back for any successes that day and tasks completed but also give yourself a little kick for any activities you’ve failed to complete and commit to completion the following day. Ask yourself “what have I accomplished today?” How many tasks have you drawn a line through or checked off your plan? Should you stay later tonight to complete, take work home or come in earlier tomorrow? Were you busy today or did you work smart? And finally ask yourself how will you be more productive tomorrow?