The juggle is real.
Most days, you simply don’t have time to meet everyone’s expectations. Your right hand is sourcing top talent while the left is fielding ‘urgent’ questions from clients.
If the boundless tasks weigh you down, you’re not alone. In fact, recruiters in the U.S. and Canada are among the busiest. Over 45 percent of respondents in those regions, in a 2017 Social Talent report, say they work more than 45 hours a week.
Busy-ness rears its ugly head in various ways. It decreases productivity, increases stress, and leads to burnout. However, you obviously can’t just stop hustling to meet deadlines or networking with talent. Besides, clients placing you at advisor status is not only an honor — it’s good for future business.
To better manage talent sourcing and advising, simultaneously, you must find your balance. We understand that achieving this kind of balance is no easy task so we’ve provided five tips to help you find your sweet spot:
1. Establish a clear communication strategy — and stick to it
Sporadic communication is sometimes necessary. However, treating every notification as an immediate concern isn’t reasonable. Allowing constant ‘urgent’ distractions zaps productivity, meaning you’re not doing clients or candidates any favors.
Set realistic expectations from the start by creating a clear communication strategy. Map out the best times for clients to reach you with questions and concerns. Let them know how long it typically takes for you to reply. This way they know when to wait to follow up or can decide whether they need to reach out another way.
Then, clearly explain to clients how their team can reach you if there’s an emergency outside this time period. If it is known that is by phone, this allows you to turn off email notifications for a few hours when you need to focus on other tasks.
2. Determine where you’re an expert
It’s easy to get caught in superhero mode when juggling your recruiter and trusted-advisor roles. But it’s more important to set appropriate limits than to solve every client problem.
Sit down with clients to discuss their biggest pain points. Assess what areas you’re actually equipped to address for them based on your skills and experiences. Draw the line where your professional offerings end.
The benefits of clearly defining your strengths and setting these boundaries are two-fold. You’ll receive fewer questions you can’t quickly and easily answer. This frees up time in your schedule to tackle the obstacles you can handle. And clients won’t waste time waiting for solutions while you’re looking for information outside your expertise. They will know when to quickly turn to other resources. It’s a win-win.
3. Make resources readily available
You know you are a valuable resource to clients. Your knowledge and experience help them successfully hire and retain top talent as the market shifts, technology evolves, and trends change.
But when all of this information is kept in your head, clients have to come to you with every question. Providing clear direction and resources, however, means you won’t have to field simple, repetitive questions.
Create an FAQ with common questions you and your team see from both current and former clients. Answers to these questions may seem simple but will help clients troubleshoot numerous issues before contacting you. This grants you extra time to work on solving bigger problems and focus on acquiring new information and skills to keep in front of clients’ talent sourcing needs.
4. Be proactive, not reactive
Recognizing what issues send each client spiraling in stressful circumstances gives you the opportunity to take a proactive approach in advising them. Pay attention and listen intently to their concerns. This prevents you from reacting in the moment and ultimately brushing off something clients view as critical.
For example, one client may not adjust to changes in your candidate review process as easily as another. Be sure to provide them with advance notice of any changes you’re planning to make. Offer to jump on a quick call to walk them through.
Another client may struggle with technology and frequently contact you to troubleshoot something their IT team could handle. Don’t dismiss their concerns or embarrass them. Simply develop a system to quickly connect them with the right source of help.
5. A/B test your schedule
When you aren’t able to achieve all your goals, you probably blame your overloaded schedule. However, while this is often a major factor, there’s also the issue of understanding your peak productivity times. The way you’ve structured your current daily routine may not be the most effective way to focus your energy.
For example, you could think it’s best to clear your inbox early in the morning. You feel less stressed going into lunch after responding to at least three client emails. However, you may not have all the answers you need and meeting that goal eats up the entire first half of your day.
Finding balance with how you block your day requires stepping outside your comfort zone. A/B test your schedule. Write down when you were interrupted by notifications and if they negatively impacted your workflow. If they did disrupt your productivity, pencil in time to turn off your notifications. Then, test to see if this improves your workflow or if something else was the culprit of slowed productivity.
Build out a strategy for optimizing your most productive times a day and you’ll feel the weight of your schedule lift day by day. As you discover more time to manage your responsibilities hiding right there in plain sight, you’ll find balancing the roles of recruiter and advisor easier and more rewarding.