Keep it Simple: How to Get More Done

Ed. Note: We’re in the final month before recruitDC’s Spring Event on May 26th (Tickets? Click Here). We’re continuing our preview of the speakers who’ll be joining us for the event. Conor Nicholson, Founder of NSS RPO is on deck today with a sample of what he’ll discuss in his session “I’m a Recruiter, Now What?”

Seriously. There are only about 50 tickets left, so if you haven’t gotten yours, grab a latte and a laptop and we’ll see you there! 


By: Conor Nicholson

Want to accomplish more during your work day? Start focusing on less tasks. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? How am I going to get more done if I cut my to-do list in half? The answer is by focusing on one task at a time and doing it until completion. Easier said than done as these days, recruiters are pulled into all sorts of meetings and their focus can be shifted, sometimes multiple times a day.

But if you let external forces pull you away from what you want to accomplish, you’re never going to feel whole. You’re never going to feel like you’re giving your job and your co-workers the very best of you. Far too often, we start our days with the best intentions to make a real dent into major projects or lingering deadlines. But by the time 5:30/6PM rolls around, you look at what you’ve accomplished and want to kick yourself. Not only did you not achieve what you wanted to, your to-do list just got bigger! So the next morning, you feel even more overwhelmed and helpless. This can turn into an endless cycle that has major impacts on your personal life, well-being and health. Life is too short. It’s not worth it.

Earlier in my career, I was a legitimate hot mess. I had no direction and focus was a major challenge. I would start something, get distracted, see another email, take a phone call and an hour later, realize I hadn’t accomplished a damn thing. Think that felt good?

It wasn’t until I was 25 that I really started to take my recruiting career seriously. Instead of trying to solve every problem and make every placement in a single day, I simplified my days and saw my productivity skyrocket. If my candidate pipeline was light, I might spend 4-6 hours resume sourcing. That’s right, 4-6 of my 8 hours focused on a single task. Unlike the old me, I wouldn’t spend 10 minutes sourcing, get distracted and then see 5:30PM pop up. I turned off all notifications and checked email a max of 4 times. We’ll have a blog post about that soon.

I’d throw on headphones, close my office door and put “conference call” on the whiteboard outside my door. People got the drift that I was not to be interrupted. I had a laser focus and could really see who was the best candidate for the job. My goal was always on quality over quantity. Much better to court 3 superstar candidates versus 10 so-so candidates. The results were enormous. Instead of averaging 3 hires a month, now I was hiring 5. As I was reaching out to less candidates, I had less email interactions to manage.

Other days might be focused on making phone calls while other days might be focused on a ton of face to face interviews. My compass was always focused on pushing candidates that much closer to the deal and by simplifying my day, I left work with a clear conscious, energized for the what the evening might bring. It changed the way I viewed work and made me a better recruiter. If the guy who was voted most disorganized in his high school class can do this, trust me, so can you.

Conor Nicholson is the founder, President and CEO of NSS RPO, a DC based firm that specializes in placing recruiters. He learns something new every day and loves helping fellow recruiters meet their potential. Follow him on Twitter at @NSSRPO