Messy To Do ListNot to overwhelm you, but it’s almost here. 2012. A brand new year to be all that we can be.

You know, 2012, when there should be robots flying around serving us coffee. Instead, it’s going to be a whole lot like this year except with cooler mobile devices. Whatever the new year is going to be, it’s time to get down to business.

Here’s a quick to-do list for recruiters looking for more recruiting success in the new year.

A Recruiter To-Do List for 2012

  • Always get back to candidates. Just do it. Don’t make it a big deal. Send a quick email. Don’t worry about being rude. Or being short. Or shattering someone’s dreams. Just do it. It’s the right thing to do. If they are treated right, candidates multiply. So do clients for that matter.
  • Have a smart template system. If you’re a corporate recruiter responsible for processing hundreds of applicants a day, the first to-do doesn’t apply to you well. Instead, review your template system generated upon candidate actions, such as for application and interview. However, for any candidate that you have a personal interaction with, make sure you do follow up. Just because you’re behind a big corporation, it doesn’t make you exempt.
  • Don’t get stepped on. Recruiters are forever on the outside looking in, and it’s easy to fancy candidates, clients, and hiring managers as being somehow higher up on the totem. They are in the industry and they know the profession after all, and recruiters are just bottom feeders sucking off the side of the tank (kidding). Don’t let hiring managers push you around and don’t get entranced with high end candidates that make more or know more than you do. You owe it to yourself to act like a professional and not waste your time. Demand feedback. Demand respect. Demand common courtesy.
  • Be one of them. Whatever it is you recruit for, you need to get inside their heads. If you’re not reading every trade journal for the industry or profession for which you recruit, you’re missing an opportunity. If you aren’t constantly advancing your understanding, you probably won’t be in this business very long.
  • Go beyond. Besides learning about what they do, do something different yourself. Knowledge only goes so far – demonstrate it! Write a blog, start a club, speak at an event, start a website, contribute to a publication. Try to do one thing that’s solidly above and beyond your job description. It’s not to get clout, it’s to develop your skills and job security.
  • Don’t Lie. We all lie. Admit it. White lies can be an important aspect of communication. We tell sick people they look like they’re getting better. We tell our spouses they look thin. However, recruiters are particularly vulnerable to white lies because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We’re dealing with important, if not life-altering events in someone’s life. When jobs and salaries are on the line, it’s easy to want to massage the message a bit. The problem is, this often creates more work for you. Instead of thinking of what you owe everyone else, think about yourself. You don’t have the time for a constantly blurred reality. Just say it like it is and give yourself a break.
  • Stop wasting time on the web. When employers started putting computers on everyone’s desks, computers were a lot less fun. They were green screened calculators and fancy Rolodexes. Now we have the web, which often makes prime time television look like War and Peace. Recruiters have it harder than most, as some legit activities are very close to wasting time… like checking out social media profiles and learning about different professions and skills on the web. If you’re not careful, the days can slip by. So figure out a system to ensure you’re not wasting your time by accident. Use an egg timer if you have to. Seriously.
  • Get the right job for yourself. So you get jobs for everyone else, but are you in the right job yourself? Do you long to work a corporate gig, get into recruitment sales, or source candidates using Boolean all day? Whatever it is you want to do in recruiting, you owe it to yourself to make it happen. If you can alter your job with your current employer, do that instead of jumping – now isn’t the time to be the new guy. But if the job you want doesn’t exist or is impossible to get, it’s time to move on. Get motivated to make your move.
  • Have more fun. Since when was having lunch with friends and getting people jobs work? Don’t forget why you love this profession. Be sure to schedule plenty of fun networking events for yourself- whatever it is this means to you. Have lunch with old high school friends and figure out what everyone else in your class is doing. Go to a C++ class and talk to some developers. Go to a college and teach a class on getting a job. Whatever you do, just get out of your head once in a while and be sure to have fun.

Of course, in the week before the new year, it’s easy to make up resolutions and think about how much better things could be. It will be next week before we actually have to live by our new mottos and check off our checklists. But for now, it’s a start. Good luck out there and have a happy new year!

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