Three productivity hacks to make you a better recruiter

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is named after a kitchen tomato timer, of all things, that was invented by an Italian chap. And mostly, it’s a productivity tool that is simple, straightforward, and it’s really, really quite useful. What you’re doing is you batch your time into 25-minute slots called a Pomodoro, and in that slot, you focus on one thing and one task only and nothing else.

During that 25 minutes, that’s all you focus on, either until you have completed the task or the timer goes off. When the Pomodoro goes off, and it rings the bell, you take a 5- to 10-minute break, get away from your desk, then you come back, and you do another Pomodoro. You just keep repeating like that all day.

What this technique does is it sets an artificial barrier of time, it blocks everything else out, and it focuses you through creating a sense of urgency.

And it’s brilliant. And the great thing is if someone is coming to disturb you, all you do is say, “Can you come to me at the end of Pomodoro? There are about 10 minutes left.” And then you continue. It’s great. Use it. I use it. Fantastic stuff.

Batch tasks

Do all of one type of work, at one time, in one big batch. Why? Because it’s more efficient. If you have to process candidates registration meetings and calls onto the system, do it once a day or week. Why? By switching between tasks, it can take up to 10 minutes to 15 minutes for the brain to shift into gear for that new task, which means that you will probably either take longer or will do the job poorly.

So if you meet 10 candidates in a week, on a Friday afternoon, set yourself an hour to put all their details on the system, bish bash bosh, and in an hour, you get all their details onto the system. You’ve saved yourself a lot of time, but also, as you put their information on the system at the same time, you’ll be consistent in the way that you do it because you’ll be following the same process.  

Although it means that your stats won’t necessarily be updated day to day on that type of thing, over a weekly basis, batching matters and will have a significant impact. You should batch your BD calls. You should batch LinkedIn time. You should batch your emails.

Batching should be part of your daily business.

Go Dark

No this is not about going all James Bond. However, sometimes you literally just have to go dark. You have to turn off everything. You have to turn off your phone, you have to turn off your email, and you have to get on with work. You have to ignore the notifications.

Now, in recruitment, ignoring communication and telephone calls has always been a bit of sin, almost a heresy in some circles. But I for one believe that if you’re still responding, you are not responsible. So sometimes you have to go dark to focus on those critical tasks and use the dark going method to essentially make crucial decisions. Say for instance you have to make a decision on a software purchase between two suppliers.

Say it’s for an Application Tracking System. Now you’ve gone over all the details and what you do is you go dark. You take the details. You turn off your phone. You turn off your internet, everything. You go through the decision for a certain amount of time, say 25 minutes. Once that time has ended, you make a firm decision.

That’s how going dark can be used for decisions. Additionally, if you have work to do that is not based on communicating with people, going dark is a great way of getting it done quickly and getting back on with other subjects.

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