Betting on recruiters: How to avoid burnout

Man working on laptop at home

3 mins, 40 secs read time

With the ebbs and flows of the economy, and still a record high number of open jobs, recruiters are working around the clock to fill open requisitions and hire talented people. And many have been feeling the pressure, becoming overworked and depleted.

It’s no secret that the effects of recruiter burnout can certainly have consequences on your business. When the hiring team is inundated with a mountain of tasks that become impossible to achieve, they may not be able to effectively build strong alignment with hiring managers or stay organized, which can result in making the wrong hire – a costly mistake.

At Greenhouse Open 2022, author, career advisor HR consultant Laurie Ruettimann led a discussion with apanel of talent professionals to share what strategies they use to help put themselves first and find motivation when they’re feeling disconnected and burnt out.

Joined by Israel Gutierrez, VP of Talent Acquisition at Axios, Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, and Carlos Rios, Human Resources Director at Nordstrom, the conversation centered on actionable tools they use and encourage on their teams. Here are the tips we learned during this session.

Be aware of your needs

While many resources might exist through your organization’s benefits package to support burnout, employees first need to take a step back to understand their personal needs.

Understanding your needs can often signal how you can show up and set expectations. Carlos shared, “It’s really important for me to say ‘this is where I start, and this is where I stop, and this is where you start and stop.’” This practice of boundary setting is so important for maintaining realistic expectations for what you can accomplish, and avoiding moments of disappointment when making commitments.

Boundaries are my love language.
–Carlos Rios, Human Resources Director at Nordstrom

Self-awareness takes practice and great managers can support individuals by creating a space of trust to have conversations about their employees’ individual needs.

Israel recommended an exercise he does with his team to reduce burnout while working remotely. He challenges his team to proactively come up with tactics for taking care of themselves when they need it most. He shared, “For example, you’re burnt out, and dreading the next 3 hours of back-to-back Zoom meetings. What action are you going to take to mitigate that? Take a walk? Get a coffee at your favorite coffee shop? Especially for recruiters, it’s incredibly important for us to really be our full selves when we come back to work. This is when we’re the best at recruiting. This is when we’re the most engaging with candidates, and can talk about the Axios mission and role at hand.”

Don’t pretend life outside of work doesn’t exist

We are all human with human emotions that affect our day to day. The first day of Greenhouse Open was on the same painful morning when attendees were confronted with the devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Carlos described feeling heavy, shocked and pained after hearing the news and reminded his team of self-care. “We are going to be flexible, we’re going to lead with heart and with trust, and whatever you need to get your work done is what you need.”

Sometimes companies believe that you have to choose between being high performing or highly empathetic. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, letting people be flexible and deal with what they need to in their own way leads to better trust, and in turn better work.

“Courage and vulnerability are brother and sister with one another, '' mentioned Claude. “That person that wants to take a risk on themselves will say, ‘I am at my max, or I need to be off camera today...” She encourages recruiters to be honest with their hiring managers when their commitments are overshadowed by life. Prioritizing honesty and vulnerability is key.

Laurie closed the panel by encouraging learning as a strategic tactic to overcome burnout – the same practice she recommends in her coaching. “Try to learn one new thing in the next 30 days,” she suggested, “It doesn’t have to be about your job, but about life.” This is how we move forward at put ourselves first.

Learn more about how to be a successful recruiter in today's challenging market, here.

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