Our broken relationship with email and how to reach inbox Nirvana

Our broken relationship with Email   

Everyone is a slave to the inbox. We fought Nazism and Soviet Communism to be free and yet have allowed email to become our master. I am being melodramatic, but, what was once an amazing productivity tool has become most destructive productivity tool in the office.

So, first, let’s assess the problem with emails.  

  • We all get too many – it never seems to end.
  • We are always on – we respond to emails at nine, ten and eleven o’clock at night.
  • We use email instead of phoning – instead of a 2-minute call we spend 20 minutes writing an email.
  • We read them once, twice, three times before acting – we read an email, then again, then again and finally maybe do something with it. Maybe.
  • We do not create and set rules for the inbox and our relationship with email – email is done in a haphazard way and with a real process.

We can all be guilty of the above. Essentially all of these items are really important in the reason why our inbox takes over our lives and destroys our productivity and be addictive.  

The Inbox addiction

 The addiction can manifest themselves in all sorts of crazy and mad ways that people deal with email. You have the ‘1001 folders people’, the ‘1001 emails in my inbox people’, the ’email is Facebook messenger people’ and ‘always emailing all the time even at 11:30 at night people’.   

Whatever person you fit into above the thing to remember is that email is addictive because it creates a dopamine hit (the happy chemical) that is similar to other fun and addictive behaviours like sex, gambling, alcohol, and tobacco.

Indeed, they are called Crakeberries for nothing! So whatever stress email gives you, you may find that you also at a deep neurological level get a hit from it that you like and in some short-term way, you enjoy.   

So how are we going to deal and change our relationship with our emails and ultimately change the way that we work within and without the inbox? Firstly, we have to understand what our email is for and what it is not for.

What is an Inbox for?

Electronic Mail was essentially created as a replacement for the letter and internal memo during the cold war to ensure that nuclear missiles could be launched. Over time it morphed into something that has become a weapon of mass productivity destruction. 

Email exists to spread information and communication that needs:

1) an audit trail,

2) cannot be done face-to-face or over the phone,

3) are non-urgent/time specific and

4) communications that needs to be done on an a one-to-many basis.

So, for recruitment the Inbox and Email is for: Submitting CV’s, Sending terms of business, confirming interviews, marketing to clients, candidate applications.   

What it is not for: negotiating terms of business or offers, seeing where people want to go for after work drinks, your amazon orders, etc. To rectify this situation, we have outlined 13 actions you can take that will change your relationship with email for ever.  

13 Actions to reach Inbox Nirvana

Stage One: Getting into good habits

 1:  Process to Zero: You need to start with a clean slate. So even if this take you an entire day to do, process every email. When processing you need to follow this workflow.   Read email. Is action required Yes or No. No – Archive or delete. Yes – Action is needed. Actioned needed. Will it take 2 minutes?

Yes – Do it now. No – put it into the action folder and add to your to-do list.   Repeat until you hit inbox zero. What I suggest is that you pause your inbox for 45-minute bursts. Do 45 minutes of processing to zero, unpause the inbox let the messages get sent out and then get a coffee and repeat the cycle until you hit zero.   

2: Delete all (almost all) folders: Folders are just a place for storing brain farts. I have eight folders, and an archive folder. Email search facilities are so good in Google inbox and Outlook that when you search you will find what you are looking for, so why have a folder for every client?

Just type what you are looking for in the search bar the most important folder is the action folder and this is the folder that you use for all the stuff you cannot do instantly. This means all you must do is archive once read and it will never trouble you unless you need it.   

3: Batch emails: two, three or four times a day you need to batch you emails and get back to inbox zero. So, at 8am, 12midday and 4pm work on each email and the inbox until it is down to Zero. Now I know that a lot of people will be horrified by this idea. What if I miss a candidate before a competitor?

What if I miss a role? They are legitimate questions, but my response would be, wasting time in your inbox is time that could be sent getting and find exclusive roles and exclusive candidates, so the time pressure does not matter.  

Stage two: becoming more effective

 4: Candidate emails: When candidates make applications to your inbox they should straightway be process onto you ATS as an applicant and then dealt with at the appropriate resourcing time. No further action is needed.   

5: Eliminate 90% of internal emails: A huge amount of wasted email time is from internal emails. At the last place i worked, I went on holiday and came back to 35 emails about birthday cards and leaving cards. 35 emails. Total waste of time. If you have the power, move internal coms to Slack or Facebook for Work or just talk to the person.   

6: Templates: 80%-90% of emails can be dealt with by, or close to a template. Depending on your email system templates will save a bucket load of time. I use Google Inbox. It is an investment in time to create them, but once created the time benefit compounds.

Additionally, if you share the templates with the rest of your team company, what maybe took you a day to create, format and edit could be saving that each and every week or more.   

7: Call instead of email: When processing to zero, call instead of email, whenever you can. If you speak to the person that is great and will normally take two minutes. If you cannot leave a voice-mail and then just respond to the email and say I have left a response via email.  

Stage 3: Creating marginal gains

 8: Be ruthless: Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. Make sure that you unsubscribe to all the nonsense you are getting. Ask yourself, does this email newsletter help me bill more money? Thought not.   

9: Use language that eliminates emails: Not all emails need to be responded too. Indeed, not all emails you send need responses. So use language and writing that, when needed eliminates the quick responses that people send and fill up your inbox. So for example instead of saying “Are you happy for me to go ahead” say “if I have not heard from you by 4pm I will go ahead and xyz”.   

10: You need rules: It is your inbox and it is your time. So, you need rules and processes on how to deal with email, how it fits into the other areas of your job and how you work with it.   My rules are: 1) Email is not my workflow. 2) Batching 4 times a day 3) Do not look at emails after 7pm 4) when not batching turn the inbox to pause or silent 5) Inbox zero before I stop work.   

11: Holiday emails: When you go on holiday process everything before you leave. Then put your out of office on with the following message. “I am out of the office on holiday. I will be returning on xx date. Your email is important to me.

However, after annual leave I can so many emails I miss the important ones. If you can re-send this email on the xx date. If this cannot be delt by then, please call xxxx” This works, because if it is super urgent, the sender will call. If it is nonsense they will forget and if it is important they will email back.   

12: Don’t sell via email: Just don’t do it. Call.   

13: Turn email off: If you are a decision maker, turn the email off between 7pm and 7am. Nothing is that urgent. If it is that urgent then a call or text will be sufficient.   

These 13 actions I hope will help you to make the most of your time, but also to allow you to leverage your time for the benefit of clients and candidates. If you think you were not able to do any of the above because of internal “processes” or culture, ask for forgiveness, not permission.

You will be amazed how forgiving people are when it works.   

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As ever we would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to email joseph@thenakedrecruiter.com about your thoughts on this or any other topic.

The Naked Recruit is funded through our affiliate link program with Acuity Scheduling.

It is a tool that has saved me dozens of hours.

Check out Acuity  

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Thank you for reading this Recruitment Hack. You can get a daily Recruitment Hack sent to your inbox by visiting Recruitment Hacks.

The Book: Recruitment Hacks is now available on Amazon.   

How to make recruitment success predictable

So why do these three make success predictable? Interviews Generated: Candidates in front of clients is what everything from business development calls to candidate meetings to CV’s submitted all about.

All that matters is generating a certain number of interviews every week, month and quarter Interview to Offer Ratio: This is the number of meetings that need to be made to create an offer and becomes a ratio example 1 and 10.

This ratio makes you successful because you understand just how many people you send for interview end up with an offer in hand and thus have a chance of taking the job.

Offer to Passing Probation: This one is actually fundamental to building long-term relationships with clients and indeed candidates. It makes you successful because it outlines just how candidates you get to offer who stay at the company long enough for you to keep your job.

Using these Ratios to predict success

So how do you use these ratios and KPI’s to promote your recruitment business at or desk successfully?

Firstly, decide how many placements you want to make a month. This could be determined by a financial target or just a simple number like three placements. For our example, we are looking for 2 interviews.

Secondly, you need to understand your offer ratio to a candidate passing probation. The best way to figure this out is to do some digging over the last 18 months, find out how many candidates passed probation and how many offers you generated. Divide offers by candidates passing probation. So for our example, we have a ratio of 3:1 (three offers for one passing placement probation).

Thirdly, you need the ratio of interviewed candidates to offer made. For this delve deep into your stats and find the number of interviews generated over the last 18 months and divide it by the name of offers. In our example, we have a ratio of 10:1 (ten candidates interviewed for one placement).

Lastly, bring it all together. Take your goal times it by the number of offers and then times it by the interviews to get the total number of interviews generated.

In our example Goal:

2 placements per month Offer to Placement Passing Probation:

3:1 Interview to Offer:

To generate for 2 placements is 60 interviews or 15 per week or 3 per day.

Moving forward

Use the method above to focus your goal for each day. That way if you produce three interviews per day (as in our example) you will end up each and every month hitting your placement target. As ever we would love to hear what you have to say.

Feel free to email joseph@thenakedrecruiter.com about your thoughts on this or any other topic.

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The Naked Recruit is funded through our affiliate link program with Acuity Scheduling. It is a tool that has saved me dozens of hours. Check out Acuity

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Thank you for reading this Recruitment Hack. You can get a daily Recruitment Hack sent to your inbox by visiting Recruitment Hacks.

The Book: Recruitment Hacks is now available on Amazon.   

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Key Performance Indicators are useful for you

Recruiters, KPI’s and Goals Shhh, I have a little secret for you: KPI’s are not goals. They are just the stepping stones on the way to achieving your goals. For many recruiters, the goals they work towards have been outsourced to managers and executives and defined by KPI’s that take the place of genuine, authentic intentions.

You need to take control of your professional goals and personal goals. Why? Because you are always going to be motivated more by things that matter to you and do them for reasons that mean something to you.

The company set KPI’s are just there so your boss, and his boss get a bonus and pay their rent.

Taking control of your own goals will inspire and motivate you to succeed.

Before I begin on my personal goals and how I set them a quick note on internal management. Always remember you may have to work on your own goals in secret while also keeping up with “management” goals. If it ever gets tough, just pretend you are a secret agent in your own story.

Timeframes for goals setting

Below I have outlined the timelines for goals I keep and why. Daily: Because every day needs a goal or objective. Weekly: My weekly goals are mostly the KPI’s that I feel will meet my financially drive metric.

I have got to eat after all. Monthly (I don’t do monthly goals, find it an odd time frame) Next 90-day goals: These are five big things I want to achieve/do in the next 90 days. Yearly goals:

These are essentially big-ticket items that I want to do with my life.

What are my goals today?

Daily Goal: 1 Job on and 6 CV’s submitted Weekly Goals: Hit my KPI’s 90 Day Goals: Bill £30,000, Pass my CBT, have a city break in London, get fitter. Yearly Goals: Place 24 candidates into jobs, reduce my total debt by 50%, pass the driving test, take a holiday with my significant other and tick 5 things off my bucket list.

As you can see on the 90 days and 365-day goals only one of them was a recruitment goal. Why was that? Entirely merely I run my own small recruitment business so I can live a life I want.

So the four-goals below are for inspiration, and when I hit them, they make all the stress of candidates and clients worth it. If you notice I have not passed my driving test. The reason is I have failed my driving test ten times.

But one day I will give. Tenacity is key.

How should you set your goals?

Using the old adage popularised by Stephen Covey ‘start with the end in mind’. What are the four things you really want to do this year?

Go on holiday to Asia, or is to buy a Mercedes? Whatever the goal is it must be actually what you want. Once you have figured out what those four goals are, what is the amount of billings or placements you need to achieve.

Once you have worked that out, you start to work everything backwards right the way down to your daily goals. If you found this article interesting, you may see the section. What are your top three most important tasks helpful as well.

As ever, if you want to email me about this topic, my email address is joseph@thenakedrecruiter.com

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The Naked Recruit is funded through our affiliate link program with Acuity Scheduling.

It is a tool that has saved me dozens of hours. Check out Acuity   

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Thank you for reading this Recruitment Hack. You can get a daily Recruitment Hack sent to your inbox by visiting Recruitment Hacks.

The Book: Recruitment Hacks is now available on Amazon.  

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Motivation needs a motive, even in recruitment

Motive and Motivation

A little known and understood area of motivation is the thinking about what is my purpose for doing this is. Having a reason is what drives people forward, urges them on to do bigger and better things with there career, life and goals. You cannot spell Motivation without Motive.

For many people, the motive can be provided for there family. For others to is being ‘the best’ or it can just be the will to win, or the will to win. Material things inspire others, experiences other people.

Generally, money is not a very good motive or motivator. No one wants a big pile of cash, they want a big pile of money to buy a house, nice things or go on that holiday they have always wanted.

Finding your motivation is about digging deeper into what you want. Once you have your “motive” and think about it clearly, you will be able to push ahead with focusing on the day job in an important, and successful manner.

My Own Motivational ‘motive’ Journey

In my own regards, since starting out in my recruitment entrepreneurial journey, I have found that my motives have changed over the years. My periods of peak performance have been when I have had a clear purpose.

The biggest funks (in retrospective) have been caused by a lack of motive or a misalignment between my daily activities and my purpose. When I started the business achieve was to achieve freedom from corporate serfdom.

I hated being a recruitment battery hen, churning out CV’s and BD calls and other KPI’s for no other reason than “it was thus” from highers-up. Over the next four years, the motivation and motive changed to being able to live a life that I felt was authentic and in-touch with what I wanted.

For nearly two years, I wanted to build a business that becomes another big recruiter, and this put me into numerous funks. After many sleepless nights souls searching, I realised two things:

  • I am motived by teaching people (this blog fulfils this)
  • Having an impact on peoples lives (the recruitment does that).

So now my mission and motives are to have an impact on my 9-5 and then teach people to improve the positive impact they have during the recruitment process via my blog. Through this simple act, I get to both find my motivation and have an impact that far exceeds what I could in my day job.

How to find your own motivation

So how do you see your motive and thus your motivation? To find your purpose ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. If I won the lottery and money was not an issue what about my job would I still love to do, or get a heavy positive feeling from?
  2. What action or activity, would have the most significant positive impact on my professional or personal life?
  3. How would my day job look like if I helped me to personally grow?
  4. What three things do I want to achieve in the next 90 days in my professional life and personal life (three each)?
  5. What three things do I want to achieve in the next 365 days in professional life and personal life (three each)?

Once you have answered the above questions, write out a one-page answer for each of them and then post the answers to yourself. When it arrives in the post if when you agree with what you have written bring all this detail into a five bullet motivation mantra and read it out loud 10 times every morning for 90 days and then rinse and repeat.

Repeat the above questions if you do not agree with the answer until you finally agree with what you have written.

As ever I would love to speak and converse with you about this or any other topic. please email joseph@thenakedrecruiter.co.uk

*****

The Naked Recruit is funded through our affiliate link program with Acuity Scheduling.

It is a tool that has saved me dozens of hours.

Check out Acuity

Thank you for reading this Recruitment Hack. You can get a daily Recruitment Hack sent to your inbox by visiting Recruitment Hacks.

The Book: Recruitment Hacks is now available on Amazon.