As a recruiter, your day is often filled with various responsibilities that you need to accomplish in order to effectively source and place qualified candidates for your clients. However, even though you might be checking off numerous items on your to-do list, you may not be accomplishing your responsibilities in the most efficient manner. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by business magazine Inc., an average of 21.8 hours are wasted each workweek. In general, a majority of that wasted time is time misspent on activities that appear constructive but in actuality won’t help you achieve your goals.

In its survey, Inc. found that the top three most commonly cited causes of wasted time were taking "mental health breaks" (any online activity that is not work related), responding to unimportant emails and dealing with unnecessary interruptions. While you might not be guilty of those specific time-wasters, there may nevertheless be activities that you do during your workday that cause you to be distracted and inefficient. By identifying these unproductive habits, you can improve your recruiting process.

Best Practices to Improve Productivity

Productivity, in the simplest terms, means efficiently getting work done. Yet, despite that straightforward definition, it's not one-size-fits-all in practice. At the end of the day, each of us knows whether or not we've been productive, which can make it difficult to be objective and identify inefficiencies in our process. For that reason, here are seven practices that can help improve productivity:

  1. Adopt the Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique is an approach to time management that suggests that you divide up your day into 25-minute segments with five-minute breaks in-between. By breaking up your day into smaller chunks, you should be able to more effectively tackle your responsibilities as well as reduce the number of potential distractions. In addition, during each five-minute break, you can focus on nonessential tasks, such as responding to emails or taking a “mental health break” on social media. If you’re interested in trying the Pomodoro Technique, there is a helpful Chrome extension that you can download.

  2. Learn to say “no”: There is only so much that you can accomplish in a given day, and if you always say “yes” to your coworkers’ requests, the tasks that you need to get done will only continue to be put off. However, by learning how and when to say “no”, you can ensure that your top priority tasks are getting completed on time and that you don’t overburden your schedule. In addition, a “no” ensures that your schedule remains manageable, which can help you avoid becoming stressed and anxious.

  3. Learn how to delegate: No matter how organized you may be, you cannot realistically take on every single responsibility and complete it effectively. For that reason, it’s important to know when to delegate responsibilities to other members of your team. Before doing so, you should provide them with the necessary training and resources to ensure that they can be successful in their new duties. In addition, check in on them at predetermined intervals to see how they are handling things.

  4. Create to-do lists: Sometimes it can be difficult to accurately visualize what you need to accomplish in a given day or week. Lists enable you to breakdown tasks and responsibilities into small, manageable portions that allow you to better visualize what needs to be completed. In addition, by breaking things down into smaller portions, you can more easily delegate tasks and set manageable goals for yourself.

  5. Designate times to handle emails: According to a recent analysis from the McKinsey Global Institute, the average office worker spends 28 percent of their workweek responding to emails. Unfortunately, not all of the emails you receive are valuable or high priority. For that reason, it’s important to schedule short blocks of time (such as 15 minutes) throughout the day to respond to emails. One popular strategy is to respond to emails at the beginning of the workday, at lunch and then at the end of the day.

  6. Set deadlines for yourself: Not all of your responsibilities have a hard deadline. Some may just have a due date of whenever you can find time to finish them. However, without a clear deadline, those responsibilities can be left unfinished. That is why you should set your own deadlines, to hold yourself accountable as well as ensure that tasks and responsibilities get done.

  7. Practice self-care: It can be hard to take time for yourself during the workday, especially when there is a list of tasks that you need to complete by the end of the day. However, according to a study conducted by the Draugiem Group, people are often more productive when they take a five-minute break every hour or a 30-minute break every two hours. Taking a brief break allows your mind to relax and recharge, and enables you to be more effective when you return to work. However, you should set a timer to ensure that your break doesn’t last too long and cause you to be unproductive. While your phone should have a timer, you may also want install an extension on your browser. Here’s a link for Chrome’s extension.

In addition to the above guidance, you may find other practices that help you be more proactive. If you do, make sure the practice meets the following three criteria to ensure that it’s effective and beneficial:

  1. It’s scalable: Make sure that the practice can adjust to your schedule and workload. That way, you can set it to where you feel most comfortable and fine-tune it as necessary.

  2. It encourages accountability: You need to be held accountable for whatever practices you choose to follow, which means that each practice should have some kind of metric or deliverable. That way, you can measure your success along with how well your productivity is improving.

  3. It’s flexible: It will take time to effectively integrate any practice into your regular routine, so your practices should not be so rigid that you can only fail or succeed. Success should be able to be measured on a sliding scale and allow you to grow as you incorporate the practice.

How an ATS can Improve Productivity

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been designed to automate and streamline your recruiting process, which makes them the ideal tool to help improve your productivity. Here are six ATS features that should help you be more productive:

  1. Customizable workflows: Customization enables your recruiting process to be quick, adaptable and effective—ensuring that no time is wasted during the day.

  2. Automate recurring tasks: Taken all together, each of your required daily responsibilities can be incredibly time-consuming. However, with an ATS, you are able to automate recurring tasks—such as scheduling interviews and meetings, and sending out emails—to keep your recruiting process running efficiently.

  3. Integrations: An integration is an additional piece of software that supplements the existing program and there are numerous integrations available for applicant tracking systems. Each one is able to complement and strengthen the recruiting process. Depending on what integrations are available through your ATS, your other applications—such as email, personal calendar and job boards—can be streamlined and automated. If you’re curious about what integrations are available through CATS, you can visit our integrations page here.

  4. SMS messaging: Texting enables you to quickly communicate important information with candidates, such as interview details and updates. This is especially beneficial, as 45 percent of candidates will respond to a text, according to mobile messaging solutions provider SMSGlobal.

  5. Searchable candidate database: Identifying the ideal candidate can be a time-consuming task. Yet, by conducting granular searches within your own candidate database as well as across several different job boards, you can quickly identify specific qualifications—such as years of experience, skills and training—necessary for the position.

  6. Calendar sync and meeting scheduler: Scheduling any type of meeting with candidates can often be time-consuming. By providing them with a simple, hassle-free way to set up a meeting, you can effectively eliminate all the back-and-forth associated with scheduling.

While the above features may not be standard with all applicant tracking systems, they are the ones that would most improve your productivity. If you’re curious about what features CATS offers to help you remain productive, you can visit our features page here.

What Digital Tools Can Help Improve Productivity

There are hundreds of digital tools available to help you be more productive; yet with so many options, it can be difficult to identify which ones would be most beneficial for you and your process. For that reason, it is important to only choose digital tools that can help make your recruiting process more efficient and productive. Here are four digital tools that you may find helpful:

  1. Genius Scan: As a recruiter, you're frequently meeting with candidates and clients. Often, a key piece of paperwork is essential to these meetings and needs to be shared with everyone involved. However, you most likely don’t have a scanner easily accessible to make copies. With Genius Scan, you can instantly digitize those documents and share them with your team members or other key individuals. In addition, the app ensures that you never misplace or lose any important documents.

  2. RescueTime: The most common cause of wasted time during the workweek are “mental health breaks”. RescueTime is an app that tracks the amount of time you spend on digital applications and websites, and provides you with a detailed daily report. By reviewing these, you can adjust your online habits in order to be more efficient.

  3. Spark Hire: Scheduling and conducting interviews can be a time-consuming process. In addition, unless you take detailed notes, it can be difficult to clearly remember a candidate’s answers to the interview questions. That is why, Spark Hire, a video interview software, is a valuable tool. It lets you record your interview questions and share them with every candidate, and enables you to streamline your screening process. In addition, the software saves each candidate's interview, so you can review and share them.

  4. Crystal: Getting a clear idea of who a candidate is and whether they would be a good fit for your client can be a challenge. However, with Crystal for Hiring, an app, you can get an accurate assessment of a candidate and how successful they would be in a position. The app analyzes a candidate’s social media profiles in order to provide suggestions on how to best compose emails to them as well as handle in-person conversions. In addition, Crystal enables you to conduct in-depth personality assessments that allow you to make more successful placements for your clients.

Improve Your Recruiting Through Productive Habits

Everyone has been guilty of being unproductive during the workday, but that doesn't mean you should make it a regular habit. With the the right practices and tools, you can ensure that you're productive throughout the day, enabling your recruiting efforts to be efficient and effective.