Now the New Year is fully underway, there’s an opportunity for recruiters to start working more productively. Working smarter, rather than simply harder, should be a goal of any good recruiter… but what does it actually mean?
For us, there are lots of different ways a recruiter can make themselves more productive, but we’ve outlined some we’ve found can really make a difference.
Sending emails to your contacts individually certainly works when you want to communicate specifically one to one with someone, but what happens when you’re trying to contact lots of people at the same time with a similar or identical message? You might have a list of ‘hot candidates’ or ‘latest jobs’ that you want to share with a group of people. Copying and pasting recipients into Outlook is an inefficient approach and probably won’t look very professional either. So using an email marketing tool like Mailchimp or Dotmailer can allow you to build some standardised, on-brand templates and re-use them every time you want to send mass emails to your distribution lists. You can even set up trigger points so that the systems will fire out regular emails based on certain activities or dates, e.g. anniversary of registering with your agency, date of birth, whether they opened your last email or not, etc. Remember, work smarter not harder, and let some systems do the grunt work!
Multitasking can work for some low level tasks, but if you want to truly be more productive you need to cut out the distractions. This means setting self-imposed limits on the number of times you look at your social media accounts and feeds, for example. Or limiting checking your emails to once an hour, perhaps. And, do you really need to check news sites quite so often? Probably not… and doing any of these only serves to distract you from what you’re supposed to be doing. The Harvard Business Review published an article “You can’t multitask, so stop trying” which stresses the importance of making an effort to do tasks one at a time, sticking with one item until completion. And we’re inclined to agree with them. Focus, without distraction, and you’ll likely achieve more.
Using the right tools
We touched on the benefit of using the right tools earlier, with Mailchimp and Dotmailer, but they’re not the only tools out there. And whilst tools may vary from industry to industry, there are some core tools that will really help you be more productive. For example, managing your own PR and being active on social media definitely has its place in your workday (just not as a constant distraction). So being able to schedule activities in advance allows you to promote your business, the roles you’re recruiting for, the clients you’re representing or the services you’re offering. Using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer, can be a really easy way of streamlining your social media activities. Both have pros and cons, and even their free offerings are arguably better than logging on individually to each of your social accounts. But the real advantage here, is being able to queue up a range of material in advance, knowing that while you’re busy on the phone, interviewing, meeting clients or candidates, that your social channels are still being populated with relevant content.
The fact is there are only a fixed number of hours in the day. You have to sleep, eat, travel, and attempt to have a personal life too – so that only leaves so many hours to actually work. We find breaking down your work day into chunks of time and then focusing on specific tasks really helps with productivity. Compartmentalising and structuring a day this way is a great way of reducing distractions and in half hour chunks, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve. Be more structured with this too and write a physical list (or use an online tool to manage your to-do list) and you might be surprised at how this approach can help you focus on the things that will make a difference, rather than seeing you working on the things you like doing or find easiest. It just helps focus the mind a little more.
Remember the basics
Finally, it might sound counterintuitive, but remember to take a break every now and then. Burning out isn’t funny and definitely won’t help you be more productive! Besides that there are simple things we find help us be more efficient. Creating some stock responses can be a real time-saver too. You know when you get a candidate application that’s clearly not suitable for the role, don’t write out a fresh email each time to reject them (and don’t ignore them either). Simply copy one of your stock responses and let them know they’re unsuitable. You never know whether they may be suitable for other roles and it’s good business practice to at least respond, only this way, you’ll save a ton of time by re-using existing content you’ve already written. Finally, think about your physical environment. The price of computer monitors has come down significantly in recent years, so multiple screens can be a godsend for productivity. We could go on, but with the aim of being more productive, we’ll stop distracting you now!
So they’re our top tips to being more productive. Have you got any you’d like to add? If so, comment on our LinkedIn page and let us know!