Time management and organisation

Time Management

This is a topic that I'm always questioned on as a trainer. It doesn't matter how much experience someone has in recruitment; it's the subject that I'm always asked to do more training on. We can never seem to perfect it.

I put this down to the fact that I don't think that recruitment is just one job – I always see it as nine jobs in one!

a)   Telesales exec
b)   Field Sales exec
c)   Customer services assistant
d)   Advertising and marketing guru
e)   Social media expert
f)    Administrator
g)   Payroll clerk & tax advisor
h)   Careers advisor
i)    Counsellor!

It is organising all of the above, on a quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily and hourly basis, that adds the element of difficulty to an already complicated job. If you took each element of the recruiter's job separately, it would be fine. The problem occurs when you've got 12 permanent assignments to fill as well as managing the work careers of 45 contractors, finding new clients to build your business, identifying future talent to fulfil those roles, writing advert copy and looking after your current clients or key accounts.

It's like spinning plates – you can't do everything at once, so we become very good at multi-tasking – but there's only so much you can do in one day, so you have to prioritise and organise your time.

As a recruitment consultant and manager, there were 10 key lessons that meant that I could take control of my business, rather than my business controlling me.

i.     Start with your longer-term goals. Think about what you want to achieve over the year – not just revenue targets, but consider other objectives such as % increase in client base, number of placements above £50k salary, number of new clients/key accounts, % of existing clients returning etc.

ii.    Break down your annual objectives into quarterly targets and then into monthly and weekly. This way, you'll know on a weekly basis as to whether you're on track to achieve your annual goals.

iii.  Review your performance on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis and adjust your activity, not your targets… unless there's been a global financial crisis or something that's had a major impact on your marketplace.

iv.   When you review, work out your ratios to see how effective and efficient you are in what you do. That way, you'll know how much you need to adjust your activities to achieve what you want.

v. Don't plan for every minute of the day. Leave some space in your diary for the reactive tasks. I always hear that “recruitment is a reactive business, so you can't plan”. Well, knowing it's going to be reactive, we can plan for that, but we need to do vi).

vi.   Assess how much of your day is reactive and how much is proactive. At the end of each day, review roughly a % for both reactive and proactive over a month. By doing this analysis, you can decide how much to plan and on which days, as they will be different throughout the week.

vii. Write a ‘To-do list'. Have it written before you start work each day and update it with the reactive tasks throughout the day in a different colour or font so that you are able to do vi).

viii. Create a weekly generic calendar whereby you have repeating tasks and copy it. Identify the best times to do things and aim to stick to it. Use this as your base each week and update with your variable and reactive tasks.

ix.   When allocating time to tasks, always add more time than you think it will take. If you end up finishing early, there's always one of the other eight jobs to complete!

x.    Make time for holidays and lunch. I'm a true advocate of downtime and giving your brain time to re-focus. Too many recruiters end up with ‘burn out‘. Don't let it be you!

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