You’ve got targets to hit and candidates to wow. But as your to-do list stretches endlessly before you, it may feel like you can’t possibly do both. After all, there are only so many hours in the day.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make your time go further. Even making a few tiny tweaks to your work processes can make a massive difference, putting precious minutes and hours back into your week.
To send your efficiency into hyperdrive, we’ve compiled eight simple but effective tips that can boost your productivity, cut down on wasted time, and even make your job a little easier. For even more, you can download our new ebook, 50 Productivity Hacks Essential for Hiring.
1. Track how long you spend on each activity to spot your biggest productivity drains
Plenty of recruiters believe they could be more efficient, but many don’t know where to start. That’s because it’s hard to make effective changes if you don’t know what tasks are your biggest productivity killers.
Tracking your time can help. There are a number of apps, including RescueTime and Toggl, you can use to do this. RescueTime runs in the background and provides a report based on your daily online activity; Toggl lets you use one-click timers to track time spent on individual tasks. Both have free and paid versions. Though if you want to go really old school, you could also use a pen and paper.
Whatever method you use to track your time, try it out for a week or 10 days and review your results. You may find that certain tasks are taking up a disproportionate amount of your day, indicating an area for possible streamlining.
You may also be able to spot your most or least productive times of day, allowing you to schedule your work around them. For example, if you seem to be most productive in the morning, you may decide to spend that time focusing on your most difficult or important tasks, like sourcing or writing job descriptions.
2. Use a browser extension to declutter your tabs while sourcing
Stop me if this sounds familiar: You’re 10 minutes into an intense sourcing session and you have approximately 1,000 tabs open. At least, that’s how it feels. You have so many tabs open that they’re all tiny and you have to hover over them to see what the page contains, which makes hunting for the one you need a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. And the more tabs you open, the slower your browser runs.
Cull the clutter by installing a simple (free) browser extension. If you use Google Chrome, OneTab allows you to store all your open tabs into one neat list that you can revisit once you’ve finished with the profile you’re currently evaluating. If you prefer Firefox, you can do something similar with Tree Tabs, which also lets you create a hierarchy within your list and arrange tabs into categories. There are others out there, but these are a good place to start.
Using a decluttering browser extension can not only make you more efficient at navigating tabs, but can also free up some of your computer’s RAM and speed up your browser. It’s a win-win-win.
3. Turn off your notifications and dedicate specific windows of time to checking emails
One thing that may become apparent when you start tracking your time is how often you check your emails throughout the day. While it might seem like a minute here and a minute there doesn’t really matter, all those minutes start to add up. To make matters worse, some research suggests it can take up to 23 minutes to find your focus again after an interruption, making even the simplest task take a lot longer than it needs to.
To minimize your distractions, turn off notifications on all your devices — especially when you’re tackling a task that requires your full attention. Dedicate specific windows to reading and responding to emails, like 15 minutes when you first get into the office and again after lunch, and try your best not to peek outside of those time frames. Closing the email tab on your computer altogether may help you resist the temptation.
If you’re worried about missing something urgent, you can always add a little note to your email signature to set expectations and let people know how they can get your attention sooner if it’s absolutely critical. That way, a candidate who thinks they’re going to be late to their interview will know to call you — or send a carrier pigeon — if you don’t immediately respond.
4. Bring all the processes you use to source, manage, and hire candidates together on an integrated platform
Even if you’ve become an efficiency master when it comes to using each of your separate systems, when you’re toggling between them all day, every day, you’re not as efficient as you could be.
Eliminate this unnecessary extra step by bringing all your tools together in one place. LinkedIn can help with this. Now, you can integrate LinkedIn Recruiter with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), allowing you to easily share data and save time.
And for an even more seamless experience, LinkedIn will be introducing Talent Hub this fall. Talent Hub will give your workflow an upgrade by allowing you to handle a wide range of tasks within a single platform — from posting jobs to sourcing candidates to extending offers. What’s more, your entire team will have total visibility into the hiring process, helping you avoid redundancies and collaborate more easily. (We’ll keep you posted on the rollout later this year.)
5. Add a chatbot to your career site to answer candidate questions 24/7
It’s important to help candidates find the information they need. But every minute you spend answering basic questions is one less you can use for more value-added tasks — like actually getting to know them.
Chatbots can save you a lot of time in this area, helping candidates find answers to their questions, while also taking care of other repetitive, manual activities like providing status updates. There are a range of off-the-shelf options, like Mya and Olivia, available to you. Some companies, including Sutherland and Johnson & Johnson, have even created their own chatbots or interactive platforms.
As an added bonus, bots can do something you can’t: work around the clock without getting tired. This means candidates get their answer faster — and you won’t have to spend the first 30 minutes of your day answering questions sent the previous night.
6. Adopt the Pomodoro Technique and take five-minute breaks to clear your head between focused work sessions
When your to-do list becomes exhaustive, it can be easy to forget to take a break. But if you’ve ever found yourself trying to eat your lunch while conducting phone screenings, it’s time to reevaluate.
Taking regular breaks has been proven to increase productivity, boost creativity, and restore motivation — so the minutes you spend grabbing a coffee or going for a quick power walk are definitely worth it.
To get in the habit of giving your mind a breather, try the Pomodoro Technique. This time management strategy involves using a timer to separate work into intervals, typically 25 minutes, and reminding yourself to take a short break of maybe five minutes in between. Francesco Cirillo, who developed the technique, used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato (pomodoro, in Italian), but the one on your smartphone is ideal. You can adjust the time based on what works best for you.
Of course, if you find yourself in the zone when your timer goes off, you don’t have to stop. But this technique is a useful way to be more mindful about taking breaks, preventing you from working eight hours straight and becoming less and less productive with each passing hour.
And if you have those days when you really can’t take five, consider switching up your location or even taking your phone screenings outside. The movement and change of scenery will give your productivity a bump.
7. Use an automated calendar tool to avoid the endless back-and-forth of scheduling screening calls
Scheduling phone screenings and interviews takes up a surprising amount of time. It often takes several back-and-forth messages to find a slot that works for you and your candidate, with long pauses between replies when they are at work or away from their computer.
Streamline scheduling with an automated calendar tool. If you use LinkedIn Recruiter, you can add a link to your calendar availability directly in your InMails using LinkedIn Scheduler. Candidates just have to click the link and select a suitable time and Scheduler will add the details to your calendar.
8. Try Stacy Zapar’s Friday Feedback Blitz tactic to efficiently and consistently update your candidates
Keeping candidates updated after the interview can have a major impact on their impression of your company — and their likelihood to accept an offer should you make one. But responding to anxious emails and phone calls from enthused candidates can quickly become a time suck.
Avoid the temptation to respond to messages right away without damaging the candidate experience by blocking off time on your calendar every week to send a quick update. Recruiting expert Stacy Zapar does this every Friday afternoon during a focused two-hour session she calls her Friday Feedback Blitz.
This strategy only works if you set candidate expectations up front. Stacy does this by telling every candidate that they won’t go into the weekend without an update from her — and then sticking to that rule, no matter what. That way, candidates know they don’t have to badger you for news, meaning you’ll have fewer emails, calls, and texts to distract you during the week.
Every minute counts, which is all the more reason to avoid burnout
Don’t compromise on quality to gain speed. Become better and more efficient at your job by making simple changes that have a powerful impact.
Focus on automating the most repetitive aspects of your work and cutting out or streamlining steps that add more time than they do value. Be mindful about your habits and try to tailor your schedule to play to your most productive times of day. Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Burning out won’t make you more productive, so taking regular breaks is actually an efficiency boost.