Two ways to proactively manage your time and performance

Manage time and performance in recruitment

Time management is the greatest challenge you face as a recruiter. You live in a whirlwind of competing demands every day. I often get asked, “How do you find candidates for your open vacancies, while generating new business leads, keeping in touch with existing clients and dealing with all the admin that comes with it?”

And we could go on….

Many recruiters end up spinning from one activity to the next throughout the day, reacting to what seems most urgent at the time.

I remember the feeling of getting to the end of the week and thinking vividly, “AGGHH, I was working so hard, but I didn’t really achieve what I wanted”.

The challenge for many recruiters is that the whirlwind of the average day, often means that important proactive tasks that are critical for success in the medium term (lead generation, nurturing existing relationships) get overridden by short-term necessity.

Inconsistent focus on proactive activities is the leading cause of recruiters either existing in a feast or famine billing cycle.

In short, poor time management is the result of spending too much time on reactive activities at the expense of future success.

There are a few things that Recruiters can do to help them stay focused on proactive activities that will either drive revenue in the future or protect the revenue for work you have done already. Which in turn will reduce the volume of activity you have to drive through your business.

The first area is spending time every week explicitly looking at how you generate leads to ensure they have enough vacancies for next month. A key to successfully converting leads to vacancies is being organised.

If I asked you now to show me a list of people that are likely to be recruiting in the next 120 days could you show me a list? Having a list means that when you do make time to do business development you can focus on contacting people who are likely to be recruiting vs cold calling a list you sourced from LinkedIn.

A typical lead list will have three categories of lead:

  • Unqualified leads: These are the companies you know may be recruiting but don’t yet have a working relationship with you.
  • Warm leads: Warm leads are where you know a recruitment need is likely to arise in the next 90 days. You need to tickle these leads along, so you get the first call.
  • Listing Hot leads: Telling you where the live opportunities are today. These are the companies you should be sending your best candidates to and are the best place to go if you need new opportunities in a hurry.

The second area, you should focus on is managing your recent placements or contractors you have on site. Recruiters spend 99% of their time focused on getting offers, yet spend very little time making placements stick.

Getting an offer is one thing, the candidate turning up another, them staying past 13 weeks or until the end of the contract is where success is really measured. By making time to ensure all your placements are staying in place will reduce the number of placements you need to make and the jobs you need to find in the first place.

Three easy activities that you should have hard-wired into your workflow should be:

  • Keeping candidates who have accepted vacancies but yet to start visibly in your workflow. There is nothing worse than a candidate dropping out a few days before the start date. Keeping in touch ensures the candidate has resigned, is committed to starting and is not interviewing elsewhere.
  • Keeping candidates that are in their rebate period front of mind. This ensures that you can anticipate and address any issues that may cause the candidate to drop-out.
  • Contractors on-site should be in a regular contact cycle. Remember the more you are in touch, the more likely they are to tell you when they are unhappy. This will give you a chance to rectify the issue and save the placement.

Organising leads or taking more care of existing placements are only two of many ways for a recruiter to improve how they manage their time.

The key to your productivity is that every day you need to spend time on Proactive activities as well as the Reactive activities the whirlwind puts in your path.

What are you going to do in the next few weeks to be proactive in improving your time management?

For further information on this topic please see “Time Management for Recruiters“.

Alex Moyle is an author, coach, facilitator and trainer. he can be found at or @alex_moyle

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