When I first started in the business back in 1994, I was fortunate to hear Peter Leffkowitz speak at a recruiting seminar in Los Angeles. One of the sections of his training that particularly stood out to me was his approach to time management and planning. He described the two main ways that recruiters tend to work a desk:
Reactively working a desk: This is the method that 80% of recruiters use to work a desk. This method can best be described as S-T-R-E-S-S. This is the land of soaring peaks followed by deep, dark valleys. It entails little planning, sporadic execution and lots of reacting.
Reacting to incoming email, incoming calls, interruptions, client demands etc. It involves chasing deals, working from adrenaline and a production-oriented focus. Essentially it’s a neurotic way to work a desk and often leads to burnout.
Proactively working a desk: This is the method that 20% of recruiters use to work a desk. There is a subtle but powerful difference in focus. Instead of simply focusing on production, proactive recruiters concentrate on building the activity that generates production. This involves planning and then executing from a proactive stance.