Working in recruitment can be demanding, as it requires a high level of focus as well as organisation, discipline, and time management. Even if you have a water-tight day plan, it can be easy to break focus if something else comes up (and let’s be honest, something always does).
I’m going to highlight the three biggest productivity killers I see in recruitment, as well as ways in which you can combat this and reclaim control of your day.
1. Focusing on the things you enjoy doing, not what you need to be doing
Doing the things we enjoy always feels easier, which is why when it gets to the end of the day, we can feel an impending sense of doom as we have to tackle all the tasks that we need to be doing.
This inadvertently kills your productivity, as you tend to approach the tasks you need to do at the very end of the day. It may be an indication that you need additional training and development around the tasks you don’t enjoy doing, or, equally, you may need to work on your confidence around these specific tasks.
How can you combat this?
There are two different ways you can overcome this. The first way is by doing business-critical tasks first, ideally when you’ll have minimal interruption. However, it can be difficult to switch to this way of working immediately and may result in more procrastination.
If the former sounds like too much of an immediate change, you could instead block out two points during the day in your diary, every day, to complete the tasks that you may be avoiding. Start with two 1 hour slots first and then work your way up.
This way, you are still giving yourself time to do the tasks you enjoy, whilst also holding yourself accountable to the business-critical tasks that also need your attention.
For example, let’s say that you are struggling with BD calls. If you’re the type of person who looks at your call list and saves the “hard” calls until last, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing - it’s just something to be aware of. Find what works for you, but also ensure that you are setting yourself up for success and tackling some of those harder calls first.
Whether it’s on LinkedIn, job boards, or even social media platforms on your lunch break, scrolling can be one of the biggest productivity killers. There are countless articles and studies that show the damages associated with scrolling - mostly because it’s addictive, and also because it can sap an hour of your time in what feels like a few minutes.
Scrolling can also trick us into a false sense of security that we’re being productive. So, we can appreciate that it’s a difficult habit to break, especially as nearly every single website or platform has an infinite scroll feature.
How can you combat this?
The easy option would be to stop scrolling altogether, but we all know that this is impossible! There are three ways that you can reclaim control of your scrolling habits and ensure that you are using time online in the most productive way.
The first way is by limiting your usage on social media platforms. Most applications allow you to set time limits, which are passcode protected, once you exceed your usage amount. This will reduce scroll time and ultimately give you less time in front of a screen, which is always a positive.
Another way you can reduce your scrolling is by allocating time in your diary for specific tasks and setting a timer to do them. Although in the first instance, it may sound extreme to do this - it can be a great way to train yourself into utilising your time better, and also show you how long it takes you to do particular tasks.
The third way you can reduce your scroll time is by asking your peers to hold you accountable. If you know that this is something that you struggle with, asking those around you for a little help can be great - especially in the early stages when you’re trying to break the habit.
Especially in the early stages of someone’s recruitment career, self-doubt can creep in, as well as having a lack of confidence and general anxiety around starting new tasks, Naturally, these anxieties will vary depending on someone’s personality, but one of the most common things we see is overthinking when it comes to business development and picking up the phone.
Overthinking causes you to put tasks off, and can cultivate a negative mindset which can be particularly damaging, especially as recruiters, in general, will receive a lot of rejection throughout their careers.
How can you combat this?
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to overthinking; however, there are two ways that you can approach it.
What is the worst that can happen?
In recruitment, there are going to be mistakes that you make over the course of your career, and that’s completely normal. However, it can feel overwhelming in the beginning and every hiccup can feel like a big deal. Instead, try and reframe your mindset positively and ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?”.
Overthinking isn't a negative thing, in fact, it’s quite the opposite! It shows that you care and want to do well in your role, but reframing your thoughts can help you to overcome the paralysis that overthinking can cause.
For example, when working with a new client, what really is the worst that can happen on a call to them? If it’s being unable to answer a question, you can get back to them later. If they hang up on you? So, next time you find yourself spiralling - ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?”.
Do it in the moment
Overthinking happens when we think too much about something (the clue is in the word), so one of the best ways to overcome this is by doing a task momentarily instead of building it up in your head. 99% of the time, the outcome will be much better than you ever anticipated. And, for the 1% of the time that isn’t, it won’t be detrimental to your development in the future.
We combat this specifically in our AC programme, and over the years that work that we’ve done has evidenced that although training theory is great, getting people on the phone speaking to people as soon as possible is a great way to squash the fear and stop things from building up.
This agile methodology is what we refer to as “fail fast, fail often”, as the earlier you fail, the sooner your learning will begin!