For most of us, time is our most valuable asset. This is especially true these days. As we all attempt to overcome the business and personal challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, we literally have no time to waste. This is very true for staffing and recruitment companies who are working day and night to improve their process, survive a downturn and, for many of you, source and provide essential workers.
If there’s one person who understands the importance of time and productivity it’s Barbara Bruno, president of Good as Gold Training and HR Search. In a recent The Journey Up podcast episode, Barbara presented us with numerous solutions about how to add valuable hours back to your day. As a respected keynote speaker who would typically present at over 20 staffing events annually, Barbara has shared insights and findings on this topic to thousands of staffing professionals and executives around the world. During our conversation, Barbara recounts numerous conversations she’s had with staffing pros about how they’d “get so much more done if only they had more hours in a day.” This belief is far from reality according to Barbara, in which she explains:
“The truth of the matter is it wouldn’t make any difference. There are thousands of recruiters and owners and managers who work incredibly hard, but the hours they work don’t equate to their income or profits.”
Now, you’re probably wondering exactly how you can beat the clock and get more done with the time you’re given each day. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here are Barbara’s 10 top time wasters for recruiters and her recommended process solutions:
1. Entertaining calls from under-qualified candidates.
Every recruiter inevitably encounters numerous candidates every week who reach out and are simply not qualified to be placed in any position. Barbara explains the best way to handle inquiries from under-qualified candidates is to be honest with them about where they stand. However, because the candidate experience is paramount in today’s recruiting landscape, be sure to offer them some viable solutions and resources which they can apply to their search moving forward. Candidates will appreciate not being misled and be more likely to speak highly of your agency to others.
2. Constantly taking “status update” calls from candidates.
Many recruiters find precious minutes of their day being taken up by calls from candidates looking for status updates about their files. Setting aside a specific allotment of time each day to take these calls will help to reduce wasted time on the phone during the day in which you should be focusing on new candidate recruitment and placements. For instance, you may reserve the hour of 4-5 p.m. to take calls from current candidates seeking status updates. By managing candidate calls in this way, Barbara says you’ll cut down your incoming calls by as much as 75 percent!
3. Interviewing candidates you will never place.
When it comes to timely recruiting, effective screening of candidates is critical. Requiring candidates to complete an initial application or paperwork in advance can be a huge time-saver, especially if you recruit in a very specific industry, such as biotech or engineering. Not only is interviewing poor fit candidates a waste of your time, it’s also a waste of the candidates’ time! Being direct and tactful is always the best option, as Barbara explains, “It’s better to be honest with them, give them alternatives, and explain what your clients are looking for in terms of skills, stability, and experience.”
4. Failing to set friendship boundaries with candidates.
It’s important to have boundaries in any professional working relationship, and your exchanges with candidates is no exception. Barbara explains, “There’s a fine line between building rapport and trust. But that fine line between building rapport, based on trust and becoming friends is tough because if they view you as a friend, they’ll often take advantage of the friendship. Or when they do something they shouldn’t do, they just feel you’ll understand because you’re their friend.” Being mindful of setting boundaries up front will help you better navigate client interactions and make placements that are in the best interest for both your clients and candidates.
5. Talking too much during interviewing preps and debriefs.
While it’s tempting to jump in and add commentary during candidate interviews, focusing more on what candidates have to say will ultimately serve everyone better. Letting candidates speak about themselves and what they bring to the table will allow you to learn more about their strengths, before you dive in and make your pitch. According to Barbara, “Our job is to put ourselves in their shoes, see the world through their eyes, and then we’ll make a better match for them.” By honing your listening skills, you’ll get your candidate relationships off on a better foot, showing you truly care about placing them in positions that are the best fit for them.
6. Failing to generalize your interview approach.
Rather than interview a candidate with one job in mind, it’s best to conduct a more general interview with candidates so you can get a better sense of other potential jobs they may be qualified for in the future – if those opportunities present themselves. As Barbara says, “If you interview them for one specific opportunity and the questions are slanted, you now don’t know what’s important to them, and in order to present anything else, you’ve got to re-interview them if they don’t accept the position that you presented.” Taking a more generalized approach will also show the candidate you value learning specifically about what qualifications they bring to the table, rather than being solely focused on filling a job at hand.
7. Alleviating the incidence of surprises.
Most recruiters know that the interviewing process can lead to many changes in candidates, from inconsistent interview answers to changing life circumstances. Eliminating the amount of surprises you encounter throughout the interview process will allow you to have a better handle on streamlining candidates for various jobs. Barbara says alleviating surprises is as simple as asking candidates, “Has anything changed since our last conversation?” This will open the door to hearing about where a candidate currently stands with his or her job search, so you know exactly what to expect.
8. Starting every recruit from scratch.
Having a regularly organized database will allow you to effectively perform your recruitment process without the hassle of having to access information from scratch each time. You can do this by maintaining an active ATS database from past recruiting presentations and filing all the materials used for easy retrieval. Furthermore, by organizing the names of candidates by experience, industry and other key criteria, you’ll be well equipped to fill jobs requiring similar credentials.
9. Working with candidates who are window shopping.
Working with candidates who are not serious about their job search will only lead to dead-ends. During candidate interviews, it’s important to ask candidates about what type of change they’re hoping to make and why. Gauging a candidate’s answer and how genuine they are in the opportunities being presented to them will help you determine how good of a fit they will be for placements.
10. Taking high maintenance candidates.
Candidates who are difficult to work with from the beginning are likely not to change once the process gets underway. Being able to successfully manage high maintenance candidates early on will allow you to get things off on a better foot, building a stronger rapport with them from the start. Some of the ways you can do this include establishing fluid, two-way communication and taking the time to understand each candidate’s professional goals.
Re-thinking how you approach your candidate recruitment process can be extremely transformational for your placement outcomes, client satisfaction and overall productivity. The sooner you reverse the above time-wasters and put better solutions into practice, the sooner you can start focusing your time and energy on efforts that reap the best results.
TrackerRMS is a leading recruitment and applicant tracking software designed for the SMB Staffing Agency. Our industry-leading support, onboarding and technology will improve both your recruitment speed, process and quality. With over 20 years of experience, our ATS System is built with you, the staffing professional, in mind.