What skills make a great recruiter? Drive. Passion. Ambition. Organisation. At some point, productivity is sure to make the list, because you really can’t be a great recruiter unless you’re hyper productive. There are never enough hours in the recruitment day, so being able to make the most out of your time makes the difference between success and failure.
Without further ado, then, here are 5 things that kill your recruitment productivity – and how to fix them. A great way to increase your productivity is by using our free recruiting systems. Keep reading to see how Recruiteze can help your company recruit better.
5 Productivity Killers…
…and how to stop them in their tracks.
A 2014 study found that employee management is the single biggest threat to recruitment and HR professionals’ productivity. The study discovered that HR professionals spend more than 70% of their time dedicated to tasks relating to employee management. That leaves only 30% of time for everything else – including all the other non-revenue generating tasks. That’s pretty simple math; if you spend 70% of your day managing your team, you don’t have much time left for actual recruitment.
If you find you’re spending way too long on employee management, it might be that you’re not empowering your team to be independent. If your team constantly need to ask you questions and seek your approval before trying new things, you might not have given them the tools they need to excel.
To fix this, start by analyzing what sort of employee management tasks you’re spending time on. For instance, you might spend all day answering questions, or disciplining errant employees. Maybe your time is spent on administrative tasks, like updating employee data.
Once you’ve analysed the root of the problem (or problems), you’ll have a better idea how to resolve the issue. Try creating a library of resources with access to employee FAQs, for instance, or investing in employee management software. It could also be that your problem is more deep rooted – a cultural issue. There’s not enough space in this post to explore this in depth, but if you can create a culture of self-sufficient problem solving then you’ll free up your own time.
Meetings can be a huge productivity killer for HR and recruitment professionals. Sales updates, team updates, group sales discussions, client meetings, candidate meetings – the list goes on. Depending on your seniority, you probably spend between 35% and 50% of your time in meetings at work – that’s a stunning figure. Add into that stat that people spend an average of 4 hours a week just preparing for status update meetings, and it’s clear that the time spent in meetings can quickly add up.
I’m not suggesting that meetings aren’t important – they undoubtedly are. What I am suggesting is that they can all too easily become a time-sap, where we never really achieve what we set out to. Meetings are a productive use of time if they actually achieve something; not so much if they don’t. How many of the candidates you meet actually go onto become placements? I suspect if you add it up, the figures don’t look favorable.
The solution here isn’t to stop having meetings, but you do need to take steps to ensure those meetings are a productive use of your time. You might even be able to cut that meeting out altogether, depending on what it is. For instance, you could introduce a personal ranking system for your candidates. If they’re an A or a B, sure, they’re probably worth meeting, but a call might suffice for C candidates. If you’re filling a role outside your specialty as a favor, there’s no long-term potential there so a meeting might well be a waste.
In the meetings you do have to have, you can make them more efficient by sending notes in advance, to ensure everyone is quickly on the same page. Make sure you prepare your key points in advance, to ensure you stay focused. Set a strict time limit too – and stick to it. That way, attendees know that your meetings are going to be sharp, short and to the point. Set clear action points at the end of your meeting, to ensure you actively achieve your objectives – and if you don’t have clear objectives? Well, in that case you probably don’t need a meeting.
I’ve never met a recruiter or HR professional who’s not completely snowed under by email, all the time. The average worker receives over 120 emails per day, and for recruiters that can be much, much higher. Candidate CVs, client or internal manager demands, meeting requests – you’re actively soliciting applications, so it’s little surprise your inbox gets overwhelmed.
As a recruiter or HR professional, you certainly shouldn’t discourage email. After all, you want people to apply to your jobs. However, you can handle your inbox more productively, so it doesn’t become too much of a drain on your time. This is about process. One of the most productive things you can do is set aside a fixed time to sift through your inbox.
Personally, I like to skim through first thing in the morning for half an hour, and use flags to highlight which things need attention. Everything else can wait. I do the same thing mid-morning, mid-afternoon and at the end of the day, flagging for tomorrow.
Also, if you don’t already use it, followupthen is your friend. It’s a free email reminder software – you just forward your email to any time format @followupthen.com and it’ll send it back to you at the specified time. For instance, if you get an email that needs action tomorrow afternoon, you might forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you can delete the original, clear your inbox, and you’ll only be reminded about it when it matters. Did you know that our free recruiting systems can also help you organize your email. Click here to read how Recruiteze can help with your online hiring.
We’re written before about how important social media is as a proactive recruitment tool – but that’s a double-edged sword. It’s a dangerous thing, having official ‘permission’ to spend time on social media while you’re at work – and makes this a major productivity killer. After all, there’s only so much candidate sourcing and engagement you can do before you find yourself falling down the Twitter rabbit hole.
This is a difficult one, precisely because social media is so important to recruiters. Employees in other industries can be stricter about not using social media at all, but recruiters have no such luxury. It’s like telling someone not to drink but forcing them to sit in a bar.
What you need here are tactics to keep your mind on track. The best way to do this is to be strict about setting time limits, as with email, and to have clear objectives for each time limit. You could spend all day ‘engaging with candidates’ but the time it takes to ‘identify and engage with 5 new candidates’ is much more fixed. If you’re really struggling to be strict, you could consider using a site blocker that enforces those fixed patterns on you.
This tactic might sound simple – and easier said than done – but it’s based on solid psychological principles. Have you heard of the pomodoro technique? It’s the same idea – using a timer to break work into short, productive, objective-orientated intervals.
Prospecting, arranging interviews, rearranging interviews, interview prep, offer negotiation, resignation handling – there’s an endless number of steps on the path to placement. Candidate admin is a critical part of any recruitment or HR professionals’ role, but it can be a real productivity killer.
The first step on the road to recovery is to realize that organisation and productivity come hand-in-hand. As a recruitment professional, you’re always going to have to handle candidates, and that’s always going to take time, and it’s not always going to be productive time. However, the more organised you are, the more efficient you can be – and the minimum amount of time is wasted.
This is where a good recruitment applicant tracking system comes in. Being able to easily track, find, re-engage and manage your candidates on the back-end saves you time on the front-end. This means you can spend more time doing the things that make you money, and less time doing candidate admin. Read more about our free online applicant tracking system to find out how RecruitEze can help you be more productive.
You’ll notice that these 5 productivity killers all have one thing in common: you can’t cut them out completely. Where other professionals might not have to put much time into employee management, that’s a crucial part of the HR job description. Other professionals might not need to spend time on social media, but any recruiter worth their salt certainly will.
The nature of a career in recruitment or HR is that we have to spend a lot of time on tasks that can easily become a productivity drain. As a result, we have to be even more disciplined and even more organised to ensure we can handle productivity-killing tasks productively. That’s the recruitment paradox, and one you’d better get good at if you want to excel.
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