7 Ways to Be a Better Recruiter in 2020 (Or Maybe Not!)

Let’s begin with the best part about being a recruiter: flexibility. You may have unusual hours and a less predictable workflow than other professionals, but you also have a lot of power and choice over how you spend your time.

Now the worst part: the chaos. It’s a frenetic, feast-or-famine career path, and you can easily become overwhelmed if you’re not always on top of things. 

Still, there are things you can do to stay on top of industry trends, manage your career, and be better at what you do in the coming year. 

1. Create As Many Distractions As Possible

A quiet work environment in which you can focus on your tasks is boring, conventional, and disastrous to the creativity and the inspiration you need to thrive. Instead, create a workspace and habits that keep your mind simultaneously split in different directions. Sure, this may cut productivity by as much as 28%, but that doesn’t matter. After all, if you’re too focused on a single task, you won’t benefit by being distracted by that perfect candidate. Here are a few ways to keep your workspace and at-work time as distraction-heavy as possible:

  • Keep your social-media feeds open and alerts on at all times. That way, you won’t miss a chance to interact with an influencer who can help your cause. 
  • Only go to the office during the most crowded times of day. How else to maintain close ties with your coworkers?
  • Tackle your hardest projects at the end of the day. Because you build momentum by performing simple tasks.
  • Never set productivity goals for yourself; instead take work as it comes. Maintaining a schedule of benchmarks keeps you from taking advantage of new opportunities. 

2. Always Hire From Outside Your Organization

It can be tempting to fill positions from inside your company, but that’s often a mistake. For one thing, if internal staffers were right for certain positions, they’d already be in them. Plus, if you hire from within, you’re not really solving your company’s problem. Sure, you’ve filled one vacant position, but what you’ve done is create a vacancy in the position the employee was previously occupying. The net number of open positions remains the same. 

Granted, experts maintain that promoting and hiring from within will improve morale, cut training costs, and contribute to a culture of excellence and opportunity. Ignore all that. Those benefits come at the cost of efficiency and would cause you to miss the opportunity to spend resources to discover new additions to your organization. 

3. Eschew the To-Do List

Productivity experts also continually sing the praises of having a solid to-do list. They cite advantages such as prioritizing your tasks, creating internal accountability, scheduling your day better, and relieving stress. 

But really, how much good can crossing items off a list do for you? All that time you use to create and manage a list is time you could spend working on your tasks. Jettison this waste of your time planning your work, and put it to better use actually doing it.

4. Avoid New Technology

New technology is expensive and confusing. It’s never as good as the systems and programs you already have. Besides, learning how to use a new tool requires time you could spend doing your job.

Resist the temptation to adopt new tech that claims to make your job easier and more efficient. The newest software is often full of bugs and hiccups, while traditional solutions are far behind the curve. Be especially wary of any of the following:

  • Contact-management suites. Why replace personal note-taking with a systematized and automated approach to making the right connections at the best possible times?
  • Calendar-synchronization and scheduling apps. They will just streamline meeting preparation, but they come at the expense of relationship-building via long email threads around finding the best time. 
  • Résumé-scanning programs. You don’t need tech designed to bubble up only the most qualified candidates. You already have a trained eye to scan through hundreds of résumés in a short amount of time.
  • Email and social-media schedulers. They will force you to communicate only in set blocks of focused time instead of pausing your work periodically to post tweets and LinkedIn updates.
  • Project- and task-management suites. Why use an internet connection to do what you’ve always managed to accomplish just fine with Post-it Notes? 

5. Do Everything Yourself

Delegation is a fool’s mission because it sets you up for failures that wouldn’t even be your fault. The old adage is true: “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

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Dangerous delegation falls into two main categories, both of which you should avoid at all costs:

  • Delegating to People. Avoid assigning time-consuming tasks to key assistants, minions, lackeys, and assorted underlings. In the time it takes you to teach them a task, you could complete that task once, twice, or even three times. And even after that, you have to spend time monitoring and micro-managing people’s progress to make certain everything is done the way you’ve always done it.
  • Delegating to Computers. Sure, most apps promise to turn a boring, detail-heavy task into an automated, quick process. This seems like a godsend, but is it really? Everybody knows that the human brain is faster and better at spotting patterns and errors than any computer. Can you trust the results that these options give you? Of course not. 

6. Multitask As Much As You Can

The American Psychological Association (APA) claims that switching frequently from one task to another reduces productivity by as much as 40% as your brain shifts gears. Consequently, the APA and other experts suggest focusing on a single task to completion — or at least to a benchmark — before moving on to the next. 

But the APA is wrong. Yes, multitasking may reduce productivity, but let’s review why it’s a good idea anyway:

  • It’s the only way to stay involved in everything that’s going on, all the time.
  • You’re used to multitasking already, like texting a client while watching your kid’s baseball game.
  • Social-media and email messages come in all the time. You have to check them every 15 minutes or you might miss something crucial. 
  • You work worse when you’re bored, so it’s better to break things up regularly.
  • How else will you remember to stop for coffee?

7. Abolish Accountability

Accountability is depressing and dangerous to productivity. For one thing, the time it takes to set benchmarks, review performance, and have assessment meetings is time you could be spending hard at work.

Even more important, what if you fail? Any failure at any time is a threat to your job and a sign of weakness, not just as an employee but as a person. Avoid any possibility of failure by refusing to be held accountable to any kind of metric for success.

If you’re absolutely forced to set an accountability metric, set your goals as low as possible. It’s always better to exceed objectives by a wide margin than risk even the narrowest possibility of missing the mark. 

But Seriously…

If you’ve made it this far into the article, you hopefully recognize that the best practices above are anything but. Indeed, when it comes to being a better recruiter, it’s not some expert’s or guru’s or article’s suggestions that matter most. What’s most important is that you look deeply at your goals and processes and tailor them to your individual way of working. No one knows how to do your job better than you do.

Bill Pierpoint lives on the West Coast, where he runs his own consultancy providing recruiting services and trainings for a wide range of businesses. 

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