Recruiters are a funny bunch of people. From the outside it can appear that recruiters have an easy, flexible job with plenty of time for surfing the net, chatting on the phone or running out to grab a cup of coffee. But in reality, Recruiters are some of the busiest, hardest working professionals around. The fact of the matter is that we’re almost always working. We’re working our clients, our candidates, our phones, email, networks, search strings and often wracking our brains for new and better ways to be successful. But how much is too much?
The lines of recruiting can blur quickly. Sometimes a client wants you to find someone outside of your expertise; sometimes a friend or contact needs resume and employment help. Other times you simply find yourself buried under administrative tasks like contracts, invoicing or record keeping. But however it happens, it happens. Nothing can take a recruiter out of their game like a fading or diluted focus. So how do keep your focus and commitment with so many shifting needs? Here are some tips on staying focused:
Be Selfish with your Time: This was a piece of advice given to me when I first entered the business. Frankly, it sounds terrible. But as you gain more and more experience you realize that your time is valuable. In fact, your time is your product. The more time you spend outside of recruiting, the less likely you are to succeed. A Recruiter should be striving to spend their time speaking with candidates that they can place now and candidates that they can place later. Taking too much time on a weak candidate or reformatting a friend’s resume will eventually lead to fewer and fewer placements and almost certainly, burn out. So be conscious, every single day, of where you’re spending your time. Alongside skills like delivering bad news or sizing up a candidate, learning to move on quickly (but professionally) is a requirement of success.
Define Your Role: At the end of the day, recruiting is in a very real way, about sales. You’re selling your services and skill sets to your clients. So naturally, Recruiters can sometimes run the risk of wearing too many hats. Additionally, being in any type of service or sales role can sometimes lead to saying ‘yes’ to clients inappropriately. Sometimes a client needs a favor…a reformatted resume, help with a job search, or maybe they want you to tackle retention issues well after you have placed a candidate. The natural inclination to keep your client pleased and happy rears its ugly head. This is when it becomes necessary for you to define your role, both to the client and yourself. Being clear about your role and responsibilities with yourself will make it much easier to communicate those boundaries to others as well. Know where your job starts and ends and tell your client the same. Maybe just this once you can do them a favor, but be clear that this is an exception and really outside your expertise . If clients know they’re asking for something outside your skill set, they likely will not do so again.
ROI: Cut Your Losses: Knowing how and when to cut your losses is a vital skill in the world of recruiting. Like any profession, things will go wrong. You will make mistakes and lose some candidates or clients along the way. When you end up in situations like this, you need to make a call. Is the situation one you can fix effectively or will it simply become a drain that you can’t afford? There are some tough decisions to be made in this business, and sometimes there are no good solutions to be found. In cases like that, it can make more sense to admit the mistake, cut your losses and move on. That of course doesn’t mean ignoring your errors and simply disappearing. Instead, it means discussing the issue with the client (it can actually be their fault sometimes too) and if it cannot be fixed without a major commitment of time and energy, moving on to other business. When fixing a problem starts to take more time than the positive outcome you’re hoping to gain, its time to close the loop and look ahead.
In many professions people can take on too much, too quickly. But in the world of recruiting, the loss of time and focus will almost certainly hurt everybody. You’ll lose the placement, the candidate will miss out on a great job and your clients will lose the valuable asset that they pay for in the first place. Maintaining boundaries and keeping a strong eye on when and where you’re spending your time can be difficult at first, but like locking down a candidate, it’s vital to long-term success. So be focused, know your role and know when to move on.