There is a lot of information out there claiming to tell you what you need to be a good recruiter – things like: Confidence! Marketing skills! Fearlessness. Technology… Some of them are so generic (fearlessness?) that it’s difficult to actually know what do and how to do it.

Hopefully, you share and collaborate with your team on what works and what doesn’t down to the nitty gritty (in fact, that’s something that makes a good recruiter!). That very detailed sharing and collaboration is also the goal of this post – how exactly do you improve your recruiting? What are the things that no one – maybe not even you – think to mention?

Smile on the phone
It has been shown that smiling affects how certain vowels sound as you speak them. Because humans are attuned to verbal and nonverbal cues, the person you are talking to on the phone will be able to know if you are smiling or not. And smiling is contagious.

No matter how grouchy you're feeling, you'll find the smile more or less healthing. It grows in a wreath all around the teeth thus preserving the face from congealing. - Anthony Euwer

Organize your computer
In addition to the “recruiter’s desk” organization topic, having a wicked sense of folder organization on your computer will also lead to process efficiencies and time savings. Ensure that you determine a file naming system that makes sense for how you save and find your files – date first, requisition first, last name first? Pro tip: Utilizing the following date structure is the only way that your files will be organized in time order: YYYY-MM-DD.

Respond to your emails
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we could all probably use a bit of a refresher. Here are some tips to try to increase your email efficiency:

  1. Choose whether you want to deal with an email upon receipt or dedicate a certain amount of time/s each day to deal with accumulated emails. Sometimes we need a break from all distractions to get work done.
  2. When you do decide to work through your emails, decide what to do with each email as you read it. If you make the decision once, you do not have to use additional brainpower remembering to return to it and decide later.
  3. Try only responding to emails that actually require a response from you. Additionally, you could try only responding to emails when you can add to the discussion – if you have no relevant information to provide, file the email away.

Keyboard Shortcuts
If you are using a Windows computer, you can hold Alt and press Tab (repeatedly) to switch between (and cycle through) windows and programs you have open. Additionally, in Microsoft Excel, Ctrl + Tab will allow you to shift between different files. Finally, you can make your own keyboard shortcuts in different programs.

Microsoft Quick Access Toolbar
This toolbar sits below the ribbon in Microsoft programs. It is hidden by default, but you can always choose to show it, as well as add to, subtract from and reorganize the icons and commands that appear there. This customization for your repeated actions will allow you to work faster. Mine looks like this and includes commands such as inserting a hyperlink, symbol and page break:

Microsoft Quick Access Toolbar


I asked some of my coworkers – of all different types of duties – what are the things that they do that they think make them better at their jobs. Check out what they had to say:

People are really happy if you follow up on things, so I make sure that I follow up with everything by the end of the day, and usually within an hour.  Carly

I know that if I am interviewing a candidate and I get an email, I get distracted, so I set up all of my interviews in the morning when I don’t get very many emails. Then in the afternoon, I have time to respond to the few emails I have gotten and those that continue to come in, as well as dedicated time for my other duties.  April H.

One of my favorite things is using a color coding scheme in the calendar for phone screens: red is no way, green is move forward and yellow is further consideration.  Matt

I use the Touch It Once policy, particularly for emails: if you don’t have time to deal with it, then you don’t even look at it. But if you are going to open it, then do something with it – act on it, delete it, file it away, etc.  Deb

In essence, you are recruiting and hiring your coworker or the next hiring manager you’re going work with, so have that personal touch.  Heather

For emails we write a lot, we use quick parts and signatures in Outlook. You can save a whole word document in your inbox and every time you want to send an email, you just select it.  Amy and Eric

I make sure to be polite to every person I interact with. This means doing small things like saying “thanks” and “I appreciate your help with this” – being polite overall makes ANY interaction that much smoother.  April B.

I go through all of my unread emails in the morning and flag the ones I need to work on and move or delete the other ones – that way, I never have more than zero unread emails in my inbox.  Laura

I calibrate myself by making a list of all the things I have to do that day in the morning, or even the night before. That way, I can wake up and know what I have to do and get started right away. I also encourage people to email me. With an inbox that gets 150 emails per day and a voicemail box that get 10 or more, I utilize email to keep everything organized and prioritized. (My secret: text messages are reserved for urgent things – I will always respond quickly to text messages.)  Greg

As a recruiter, I like to do the most daunting task of my day first (assuming the timing is right). This way, it is over with and I don’t have to continue to think about what that task is. Overall, I feel like my work load is lighter just by having that one task completed.  Elizabeth

The relationship-building aspects are things that help me be successful. So, if I need to communicate with a hiring manager, instead of sending an email, I pick up the phone and talk to them. Also, be sure to find something that is going to make you sticky in the relationship – find the common ground, put in the work, keep the lines of communication open so that they know you are doing the work. At some point your stakeholders will see you as a subject matter expert and will come to you for advice.  Rick

There are three mentors that have influenced me throughout my career, so if I am stuck, I ask myself what one of them would do in the situation.  Sue


What are the little things that you do that make you a better recruiter – or simply better at your job? Let us know @CieloTalent, on LinkedIn or on Facebook.


This post was brainstormed, partially written and chased down by Katie Marks – ask about what she does @jkatiemarks.