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5 easy time management tips for recruiters

Not a single recruiter has enough time in the day, that's a fact. But it can get easier. You don’t need expensive apps and software – just a routine that works for you and a little bit of self-discipline. Working smarter, not harder, is key.

We’ve tried and tested every trick in the book when it comes to recruiter-related time management, here are the 5 we think work best – accessible to anyone, anywhere.

1.        Look after yourself.

First, foremost, and often easiest to let slip – look after yourself. We’re all guilty of letting our wellbeing and health slip, but getting yourself into a positive space will make everything else seem like child’s play. Organising your day on a full stomach and a good night sleep? Pfft, easy.

The problem is, this is easier said than done for a lot of people – but baby steps are fine. Not usually one for breakfast? 10 minutes is all you need to grab something in the morning. A bowl of cereal, a banana, or a quick coffee shop detour for a takeaway on your way to the office (remember those?). If you work from home, what’s your excuse for not eating? It’s scientifically proven to up our production levels, so get that piece of toast down you.

Not limited to breakfast, though it is the most important meal of the day, rest and sleep are both big in the old ‘Look After Yourself’ book of tricks. Getting good sleep is like gold. You might have kids or other reasons why this isn’t always possible, but even then, planning rests throughout the day can keep you going in the same way.

2.       Declutter your space

Working in a mess is only going to lead to you making more mess. A couple of coffee mugs becomes half the cupboard, the odd bit of paperwork becomes a small library of things you’ll never read, and a crumb or two from that sandwich you choked down during 12pm call you wish you didn’t set up until 1 becomes, you guessed it, enough to build a new sandwich for the colony of ants you’ve invited in.

Having an untidy workspace just leaves you open for distractions. You know that feeling when you’ve just cleaned a room, you’ve got everything where it should be, and you take that first sit down after you’ve finished? Imagine that, but at 9am every morning. You could conquer the world with a tidy desk.

And if world domination isn’t in your plans, you’ll still appreciate conquering your day.

3.       Get organised.

Proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance, apparently. You can enjoy this military hack every morning by taking a moment to set yourself up for the day. There’s little use in planning your week in too much detail, because it’s recruitment and things change. 

We all like to look busy and feel like we’re being productive but that beefy to-do list gets shifted about, and often, you just add things to it that you’ve already done to give yourself something to tick off. So here’s a new idea – throw the traditional to-do list out the window and stop looking at the same 3 tasks you’ve put off for days. You’ll still need to take note of what you need to do each day, and timeboxing in your calendar can help – if you actually commit to it. Every morning, go through your inbox, flag up what needs to be actioned first thing, and then get to the other bits after – even if they’re more interesting or it means you don’t have to let a client down for another few hours.

The Eisenhower Method is a great way to help you decide what order to do things. It gives you quadrants based on what’s important/unimportant and urgent/not urgent, and allows you to plan way more effectively.

4.       Know the difference between results and actions.

Looking busy is easy, but where’s it getting you?

You could end up making 30 cold calls that morning, but if you’ve not done an inch of research on who you’re calling or the slightest bit of prep, you’ll probably find it was a waste of time.

Same goes for the client calls you have that day – get down what it is you need to ask, what you want to achieve from the call, and stick to it. Keep focused on the desired results of all of your actions so you’re always getting to the point of what you’re aiming for, otherwise, you’ll just need to chase it up another time and then you’ll probably feel a bit silly for forgetting to ask and put that off, too.

Don’t get caught up in the trap of ‘looking like you’ve got a lot going on’. It’s better to have fewer things to do (and manage them properly), than to fill your day with tasks you won’t complete.

5.       Manage other people’s expectations.

Let’s be real, being a ‘Yes-Man’ is pretty common in recruitment. You want those jobs on. You want that candidate to apply. You want a big commission cheque at the end of the month.

So, one way to make sure you’ve not spinning too many plates is to effectively manage other people's expectations. Don’t say you’re going to have something back to them by 4pm if you’re going to spend the rest of the afternoon panicking and end up delivering something a 7-year-old with no recruitment experience could have knocked up.

If you need more time, tell them. If you think it’ll take 3 days, tell them. You might lose a client, sure, but you’ll at least have more time to find another one who values the process, and doesn’t have the type of unrealistic expectations which can throw all your hard work off kilter. 

Recruitment doesn’t have to be a slog – get your ducks in a row and you’ll soon find that everything else falls into place. Then, the emergency client call that comes in unexpectedly at 4 pm on a Wednesday won’t keep you up at night, ever again. You’ll be unbothered, moisturised, happy, in your lane, focused, flourishing...