Part four of my series “So you’ve become a recruitment consultant, what does that really mean…” and in relation to time management and organisation, there were 5 key lessons that hit home to me as a new recruitment consultant, which meant that I could take control of my business, rather than my business controlling me.
Tip 1 – Plan your day, but don’t plan your whole day. Leave space for the reactive tasks that will inevitably interrupt. It’s one of the exciting parts of the job that you can come in one morning and get pulled from left to right and you don’t always know what’s going to happen by the end of the day. My favourites were when, as a perm consultant I’d pick up a job in the morning, interviews organised for the afternoon and an offer and acceptance before I went home. That was a perfect day for me and it showed that I could work at just a fast paced as the temp consultants!
I always hear that “recruitment is a reactive business, so you can’t plan”. Well, knowing it’s going to be reactive, we can plan for that!
To be able to plan for the reactive tasks, it means that you need to do some analysis of your normal day/week. There will be some trends that you’ll start to identify. For example, as a recruitment consultant working in the commercial sector 80% of my average Wednesday was proactive. Knowing this, I would persuade my clients to meet me on this day, as I knew I could be away from my desk without too much reactive stuff happening for others to deal with and therefore I wouldn’t dread walking back into the office after a great meeting.
Tip 2 – Assess at the end of each day, what % was reactive and how much of it was proactive. By doing the analysis, you can decide how much to plan in and on which days, as they will be different throughout the week.
Each day it’s been proven that, if you spend a few minutes writing out what you want to achieve; you’ll gain that time back – and then some – by being organised.
Tip 3 – Write a To Do’s List. Have it written before you start work each day and update it with the reactive tasks throughout the day in a different colour, so that you are able to do Tip 2 easily).
Once you have your list, plan the activities into your diary picking out the important and urgent tasks first so that you can get them cleared first thing. By organising your time and getting the important tasks done when they should, it means that they shouldn’t get to the ‘urgent’ stage!
Tip 4 – When allocating time to tasks, always add more time than you think it will take. If you end up finishing early, there’s always other work to be done in recruitment – like sales calls!
Tip 5 – Create a weekly calendar whereby you have repeating tasks and copy / recur it. Identify the best times to do things and aim to stick to it. Use this as your base each week and update with your variable and reactive tasks.
Friday afternoons and Monday mornings were the most successful times of the week for me to ‘market in’ candidates to potential clients. This is likely due to the fact that people are more likely to hand their notice in at these times and then may not return or Monday morning is statistically more likely the time people tend to call in sick, so great for temporary staff cover.
By incorporating the 5 above tips into my daily routine, I was able to run 100 temporary workers per week (mostly short term bookings) when running my first temp desk and I made 112 placements in my first year as a recruiter – not a bad start.
Next week we’ll look at communication skills and how they can impact your relationships with your customers – internal and external.