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Everything in recruitment works backwards

Film aficionados will recognise I've slightly plagiarised that from Million Dollar Baby, swapping boxing for recruitment

The relevance sometimes feels very acute when you're running a desk though.  It can feel like you are in a constant fight for efficiency when juggling all your conflicting priorities against the background of static noise created by all the distractions around you.

However, there is one way you can eliminate the static noise and get a very clear and simple view of your tasks in order of priority. 

We tend to think of the recruitment workflow in the natural chronological order of process, which is absolutely right:

However, when assessing the order of your work priorities, try reversing the above and turn each stage into a question:

Prioritising your tasks in this model would therefore go like this:

Are you about to make a placement?

Yes - great, you must have an offer on the table so pick up the phone to that candidate and make the offer.  That's obviously your number one priority (and of course when your candidate has given their notice then your priority is to pick up the vacancy they've created in their current company).

No - OK, do you...

Have anyone at final stage interview?

Yes - Well then the priority is to take feedback from both parties and close the decision.

No - do you...

Have anyone at first stage interview?

Yes - Number one priority is to obtain feedback and close commitment to second and final stage


Have submitted CVs you are waiting feedback on?

Yes - Follow up & chase


Have you got candidates to submit?

Yes - submit them


Have you got a vacancy that you need to source candidates for?

Yes - source them

No - do what you need to do to find a new vacancy to work on

The beauty of looking at your workflow in this way is you can work down from the top and at any stage identify what the first critical priority is.  Naturally, at whatever point in the chain you arrive at that first priority, the subsequent links below form your second, third, and forth, etc.  If you follow this method, you will always be working closest to the pound and your next placement.  While sectors vary as to where the key drivers are (for example vacancy or candidate led) the same priority principle works across the board - it's just the specific nature of the work at each stage that changes. 

In order to keep consistency within your pipeline you must work through each priority stage quickly and efficiently though.  In other words, don't dawdle taking more time than needed on your favourite part of the recruitment cycle.  Unfortunately, even in candidate led markets, those new vacancies rarely find themselves.


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