Recruiter Feng shuiOver the last few years, recruitment has undergone a true transformation.  With unemployment skyrocketing, experienced Recruiters have found themselves in a tougher, leaner environment than even just 5 years ago.

Employers are more wary of where and when they spend their money and in many cases, they have lost their sense of urgency.  Many of those in the staffing world have found their client base eroded, their volume of urgent business ebbing and their book of business slowly shrinking.  But whether or not you have felt the pinch of the market, finding new and creative ways to stay fresh is a key skill for a career recruiter.

While it’s not the first thing that leaps to mind when discussing focus and motivation in recruiting, keeping a good and positive workspace is an essential facet of staying fresh.  Think about it…higher energy and focus is imperative in any recruiting market, but when the going gets tough, staying fresh and positive becomes a survival skill.  And if your workspace is a cluttered reminder of yesterdays frustrations, chances are, you’re heading down the same frustrated old road.  So take a few minutes, freshen up and give yourself a little extra help along the way.

Keeping It Clean: My mother used to yell at me when my bedroom was messy…she’d tell me a cluttered home is a cluttered mind.  And two points for Mom, it’s actually true.  If your workspace is cluttered, more than likely it’s going to fuddle up your own speed and thinking.  If you’re digging through piles of resumes, folders and notes from the last several days, it’s going to get harder and harder to keep track of whatever your priority of the hour (or minute) is.  So take a few minutes at the end of the day to close the loop.  Straighten out the pile of resumes, put your action items for the next day in a folder and get rid of the old coffee cup sitting next to the monitor.  Tomorrow you’re going to want to start the day organized and under control, so give yourself the extra help.

Starting Over: An old colleague of mine used to clean off his desk completely and announce that it was time to start over.  He’d wash his desk off, get rid of old clutter and keepsakes and put the whole desk back together, but this time, just a little bit different than before.  And I copied him every time.  Starting over can be cathartic.  If you’ve had frustrations, a negative attitude or just an unending candidate search, switching up your surroundings can be a great help. I won’t say it will miraculously make a candidate pop out of the woodwork, but it will refresh your own perspective and wake up that whole sleepy frontal lobe that’s been dragging you down.  Periodically refreshing your surroundings has a strange way of refreshing your mind and attitude as well.  Coming in to a clean and rearranged office still has a way of helping me keep up energy and attitude once the coffee has run out.

Keeping Distractions In Hand:  I mean literally, keep them in hand.  In most offices you will be encouraged to keep the distractions down.  Not so in recruiting.  While management and corporate edict may disagree, keeping your mind fresh and open requires those distractions.  Keeping YouTube videos streaming from 8-6 (who does 9-5 anymore) is a bad idea, but giving yourself a video, a fist-pumping motivational song or a putter set here and there is a real help.  Recruiters aren’t people chained to a desk with no view of the sun outside.  We’re thinkers, movers and achievers…keeping yourself sedate and with an unbroken day of computer coma isn’t going to lead to success.  I’ve worked in offices with punching bags, stereos, golf putters and even dart boards (the last one isn’t a great idea by the way.) that have seen the rise of wildly successful recruiters.

When you’re standing at your desk, cubicle or office, remember: Fun is good. Sad is bad.



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