Flow: A ‘non-recruitment’ tooling guide to recruitment

TL:DR A list of generalist apps, tools, extensions and hacks to improve the productivity and workflow of a recruiter.

Working in recruitment is busy. We perform a juggling act to split our time between different people (candidates, hiring mangers, colleagues) and tasks (sourcing, interviewing, scheduling, events, managing processes, negotiating offers etc.). It often feels like a challenge to get everything done within the confines of a working day.

I’ve found that managing my productivity and workflow is becoming increasingly important. Everyone’s workflow will be unique to them, but I have curated some of my favourite tools, tips and tricks that can help the busy life of a recruiter by reducing disruptions and noise.

Storage

  • Trello: I’ve just started using this as a place to store interesting recruitment content. It’s not the traditional way to use Trello, but I’ve found that it’s brilliant for storing everything I need in one place. I’ve created a board for the different parts of recruitment (tips on sourcing, interesting articles, great careers websites etc.) and every time I come across something new I pin it to the board. Instead of trying to remember what that article was 6 months after I viewed it, I know I’ll have it readily available at the click of a button. I’ve pasted a screenshot of what the early stages of my board looks like:
  • Pocket App: This is a chrome extension and mobile app for saving things that you want to read later. It will reduce the number of tabs you have open and keep everything in one handy place. Common use case: Someone circulates an article that you want to read, but you are in the middle of something else and don’t want to break your flow. You can open the article, click the pocket extension, and it will save it for later. You can then read the article at a more convenient time; either in your saved list online, or on-the-go in your mobile app. Like this:
  • Wunderlist: I was using this in a similar way to Trello before making the switch. For me, it’s an easier and more effective way to store your miscellaneous notes than the iOS Notes app. Outside of work, I’ve found it amazingly useful for creating lists of books, films, restaurants etc. in separate folders that are easier to edit and browse through across multiple devices compared to the iOS Notes app.
  • To Try More: ToDoist: This is another task manager app that some people love to use when managing projects and tasks. I’ve been playing around with it, but haven’t yet found a way for it to greatly increase my own productivity.

Mini Automations

  • Keyboard shortcuts: One of my favourite and most simple hacks has been to create a few keyboard shortcuts for sentences that I have to type frequently when writing Emails or messages on Slack. One common use case is having to type the address of one of our offices to a candidate. To create shortcuts on a mac: open ‘system preferences’, then click ‘keyboard’ then ‘text` then you can add the shortcut followed by the sentence you want to replace it with. So now instead of typing the whole office address every time, I can just type ‘add1’ or ‘add2’ and it will be replaced by the full address of our first or second office location. An equally important shortcut I have created is replacing the word ‘thingy!’ with this emoticon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Need I say more?

When editing this article, I discovered the ‘Typinator’ app will also help you do this.

  • Folders: This one is not rocket science and is similar to keyboard shortcuts. You can (and should!) set up your mailbox so that if an Email mentions a certain word in the subject or body text, it will automatically go to a folder. Common example: I have set my mailbox up so that when I get an Email from a recruitment newsletter (Hung Lee on hiring, NOBL, Office Vibe, PeopleGeeks to list some of my favourites) it will automatically go to the ‘Stuff to Read’ folder. Or when I get a mail from a job board we use to advertise, it will go to my ‘job board’ folder and keep my actual inbox neat and tidy.
  • To try next: I’ve heard great things about Zapier and IFTTT. These two apps help automate tasks by allowing more web services and apps to work together. I tried IFTTT a couple years ago but couldn’t find any practical use cases for recruiting. I’d love to hear from people who are using either of these apps in day-to-day recruitment life. I’m also about to trial Boomerang for easier Email scheduling.

Misc Extensions

  • The great tab suspender: This is a chrome extension that automatically suspends unused tabs to free up system resources. It will help you if, like me, you constantly have a high number of tabs open that start to slow down your computer. The extension will keep the tab open but pause activity on that page until you click on it again.
  • Clipboard history 2: Keeps your clipboard history and allows you to rollback to any item. Use case: Copy 3 things. With a regular paste you will just paste the most recent one. With clipboard history you can click it and see all your previous copies and pick the one you want to paste.

FTW

If you’re interested in the idea of increasing personal productivity and workflow not specifically related to recruitment tasks, then I would also recommend subscribing and listening to the ‘Cortex’ Podcast for both educational and light entertainment purposes :)

This post has focused on making the life of a busy recruiter easier by using generalist tools. I’d love to hear from anyone with further examples relating to productivity in general or specific recruitment related tools for tasks like sourcing.

Thanks for reading ¯\_(ツ)_/¯