The Simple Method of Working Smarter: Using Time, Tools, and Techniques to Get Your Life Back, Part 2

Article main image
Jun 30, 2011

Ten Technology Tools to Work Smarter

As world communication media quickly move toward faster communication methods, we all need to realize the impact technology is having, not only on society but on our profession as well. Adopting and using these changes can be a very daunting task. As recruiters, we need to ask ourselves, “How can I use these new technologies to achieve the greatest impact?” And, “Which ones do I use when there are so many options to choose from?” We all want to spend more time on the important things in our lives, and less time on the not so important. It is critical to assess the options based on what will give us the greatest return on our investment in the limited time that we have.

The good news is that technology provides the recruiter several options that can significantly improve daily output when used appropriately. Consider the following ways that technology can be used to work smarter rather than harder…

Database Management/CRM

In most offices, the database software is the most important tool used in recruiting. Many of these however are laden with inefficiency. I recently did a mass email to one of my markets in my database and found out that over 15% of the email addresses needed to be updated. (Garbage in, Garbage out) – If you don’t continuously update, it will continuously be outdated. An efficient way to save time with your database is to create “PURE” lists or separate “PURE” databases based on certain criteria. It could be based on industry, job title, and location. Or, it could be on specific skill and location. By working with “PURE” roll up lists or databases, less time will be spent calling and trying to get hold of candidates with incorrect information. In my office we use databases based on skill set as well as geographic location. When I get a search for someone in a specific area, I can simply search that database (during planning time after 4pm) and refine the call list for the next day. The “PURE” database will save a tremendous amount of time allowing you to find the right candidates faster. It works equally as well in creating a “PURE” marketing list so no time is wasted calling the wrong people or the wrong numbers. If you don’t have separate “PURE” lists or a clean database, start creating it today.

Communication Technologies (Phone, Cell, SMS, IM, Email, Microsoft Appt)

The most critical aspect of the recruiting business is the ability to speak with a potential client or candidate and have a live conversation. Even with all of the sources available today, it is still one of the most challenging tasks. We live and work in a world where it has become OK not to return phone calls or emails. An average recruiter spends about 70% of the day trying to get hold of people. If a recruiter is simply using a landline and voice mail for communication today, it’s going to be a frustrating and short-lived career in recruiting. Older styles of communication will yield very low results. The goal is to increase the time for direct contact and communication and reduce the voice mail messages to 25% or less. It is imperative that recruiters utilize technology to exhaust all methods of communication to ensure contact is made and the message gets to the recipient. If 75% of the day is spent in direct conversations with candidates and clients, it would save lots of time and money.

The ultimate goal is to have a live conversation in order to build a relationship. To make the most of your time it is also important to have a consistent process in place that utilizes all resources available to you. The process is this:

  1. Intro Email: We send a two sentence email out to our “PURE” call list the day before we call to let them know we will be reaching out and why.
  2. Phone: We call and try to get them on the phone – leave a very interest-grabbing voice mail if they do not answer. Very short. Very sweet.
  3. Email: Send an email subject line: Follow Up. Short email that describes why we are calling and asking for a 5 minute appointment.
  4. Call the Cell Phone: We call the cell to try to get hold of them and leave a voice mail if they do not answer – short and sweet, referencing the email that you just sent.
  5. Send a Text Message: If it’s an existing candidate, we send a text message – letting them know in fifteen words or so that we need their help, it’s a time sensitive issue, and we need an appointment.
  6. Send a Microsoft Appointment: Using Microsoft office to set an appointment works – but only when you have a good idea there will be interest on the other side for a conversation.

The goal is to get a voice conversation. You can’t build a relationship over email. By implementing a process that uses all technologies to get hold of people, it allows you more time communicating with the right people.

Alerts – Candidate, Client, and Key Word (News)

We are in the age of information. The more you know about your market, your clients, the candidates who are looking, and the organizations that are hiring, the greater advantage to you. Technology has allowed us to get free information on just about anything. For a recruiter it is important that you capitalize on this by using alerts. Alerts allow you to choose the specific type of information that you want to see and deliver it to you automatically. Alerts can be set up to tell us anytime a piece of information is posted that we want to know about. For example:

  1. Key Word Alerts: Use key words that apply to your industry or specific area of concentration to get news items that come across the net. My news or key words are “Epic” and “Cerner” so any news item that comes across the net, I get an email once a day with that specific news. This will give you “insight” that allows you to share the information with clients and candidates, giving you added value.
  2. Candidate Alerts – Candidate alerts can be set up on all the major job boards. That means when a candidate posts his/her resume on the job board, that alert will automatically create a link for you to that resume. It allows you immediate access to new candidates who have just come to the market. You can quickly call and get them in on your current opportunities or market them.
  3. Job Alerts – All the Aggregators and Job Boards have the ability to set up Job Alerts. These alerts let you know when a job is posted that matches the criteria you have selected and which organizations are hiring for what types of positions. This allows you to know what is happening in your market on a daily basis.
  4. Change Page Alerts – These alerts let us know when a specific page has changed on a web site. IF you have a major client that posts jobs on a specific job page, you can set up to alert you when new postings have been put on that page. It can help you get a head start on working on critical searches for clients or prospective clients.

Job Aggregators – (,,

If you plan a fishing trip, wouldn’t you want to go where the fish are? The job aggregators compile open positions from all over the net and put them in one place for you to search. The advantage for the recruiter is they can see who is hiring right away. By using a key word search, we now have the ability to pull up most of the positions that are posted on job boards or websites. We can then take our ”A” player candidate and market him or her directly to those organizations based on the job opportunities they have posted. Job Aggregators also help to provide valuable insight in to your market, based on who is hiring or not. This allows the recruiter to save time in planning and marketing.

Search Engines (Google, Bing, MSN, Yahoo, Live, etc)

Using specific search strings, you have the ability today to find just about anything that is on the Net. Whether it takes the form of backdoor entry to view all candidates on LinkedIn or finding resumes in every file format, the search engines provide a valuable resource to accessing the detailed information you are seeking.

Good uses of search engines are for:

  1. Finding those hidden “A” players using specific search strings. This is an important part of our research process in our office utilizing the search engines.
  2. Locating contact information -If we have client names and locations (such as we find on LinkedIn) we use the search engines to get phone numbers and addresses to make the phone calls.

Search engines allow quick access to detailed information that is necessary to make productive calls.

Push and Pull Marketing for candidates and clients – Touch Plans

In order to make your market place and “PURE” databases more productive it is imperative that there is brand or name recognition. This is achieved by conditioning the individuals that you reach out to with consistent messages and images to establish familiarity. Staying in touch on a regular basis is a good way to getting faster and higher quality results. Every six weeks we send “Value Added” information to our candidates and clients. For our candidates we send a “Hot Jobs” list of relevant openings to candidates who are qualified for them. When candidates see this they can let us know if they are interested in one of the positions or they can forward it to other interested individuals. With clients, we send out information on their marketplace, hot candidates currently available, or any insight to add value to their jobs. This process creates a consistent touch plan. Our candidates and clients expect to see this information and it gives us credibility allowing for future communication.

Social Media – Brand Building Social Media – Facebook, etc.

Social media is one of the hottest topics of discussion for assisting in building a brand and recognition. By using tools such as Facebook and Twitter, it allows others the ability to quickly “check” you out to gain trust and to communicate. These tools allow you to share information to your target markets to keep them informed and coming back for the latest updates. They provide a great resource for sharing instant information with your network. It also helps to expand your network and find others through keyword searches. More importantly, social media helps to build relationships by creating commonalities and putting a face with a name.


Blogs are another great tool to use for sharing information with your target market. Recruiters can provide value added information to clients and candidates such as job descriptions, ways to improve hiring processes or how to find “A” players. You can also build value by sharing content rich information such as Industry news and links. Blogs help you to build a reputation as an expert rather than “just another recruiter.” If you can get your candidates and hiring managers interested in your blog and you provide valuable information to your target market, your status of how you are viewed often changes.


LinkedIn is an amazing development that has made a significant impact on the world of recruiting. It helps the recruiting industry to make more placements. By developing and expanding a personal network of professionals, you have potential access to a database that just surpassed 100 million individuals. The advantage with this resource is the opportunity to find the true “A” players that may not be looking for a job. You have the ability to stay in touch with former, valued and trusted clients as prospects for potential future hiring. Since you can actively search for candidates among LinkedIn members by searching keywords – it allows you to find people faster – even if they are not on a job board or resume database somewhere. By joining groups in your industry, you can fine-tune your networking to only those individuals within that specific area. It is important to maximize your groups on LinkedIn by joining Groups on LinkedIn. There are also tools that you can purchase with LinkedIn that help you find candidates outside of your network faster. People seeking employment can also search LinkedIn free of charge. This is one technology that every recruiter should be intimately familiar with.

Going Mobile

It’s a fact: the world is going mobile. People want to have the ability to have access to information on the spot and the ability to communicate at any place at any time. The more ways you can take advantage of cellular in your communication methods, the more success you will have. Don’t be shy, dial the mobile phone first, send text messages, pictures, etc. The facts speak for themselves:

  • 72.2% of wireless users have paid for SMS packages = 203 million Americans
  • There has been a 107% increase in text message use in the USA in the past year
  • 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the USA
  • SMS has a 92% read rate

New apps for mobile phones are being developed daily for job applications, searching job boards, using social media, responding to emails, and much more. As a recruiter you have to keep abreast of the latest tools and use them to capitalize on the opportunity. The more you can get information to the mobile phone, the higher the response will be and the greater your results. This speed of adoption of mobile applications and technology will only continue to increase at a lightning fast pace.

It can be very daunting choosing which technology is best to use for your organization. A good way of determining the value of the tool or resources is to evaluate it based on the following three components:

  1. Does it give us access to “A” players not available with existing technologies?
  2. Does it save us a significant amount time?
  3. Does it lead to more placements?

Technology’s greatest asset is allowing the job to be done faster with greater efficiency. Make the decision today to work smarter and spend more time with the things in life that are most important to you. Utilize technology to help you get there. Isn’t it about time you got your life back?

image source: John Griffiths

This article is from the May 2011 print Fordyce Letter. To subscribe and receive a monthly print issue, please go to our Subscription Services page.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!