The REKRUTR Vault: Smart Recruiters Set SMART Goals

As a recruitment professional, setting goals, especially in anticipation of a new year, is an important part of achieving your long term vision. If you haven’t started planning for 2014, it is time to get busy!

Besides the self confidence you build each time you attain a predetermined goal, just the act of putting down your goals in writing will help you to organize your time and focus your resources in ways that improve your business. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing tangible results in what sometimes can seem like a daily grind of phone calls, emails and meetings.

Think Big

One mistake I’ve seen a lot of recruiters make is only planning for daily goals. They quickly jot down how many calls, send-outs, placements, etc. that they will have each day and they feel they have a plan. While those are important, and I talk more about those below, it is important to capture the big picture of your recruiting career before you begin.

Where do you see yourself a year from today; five years; or ten? What rewards will successful completion of smaller goals allow you to obtain? Will your company exceed 5 year projections? Will your staff grow in size? Will you have a new office? Maybe, your company wins an award. What type of things will this mean for your personal life? Could you buy a new home, or maybe a better car? Will you be promoted to partner? Keep all of these long term goals in your sight everyday.  I like to use a white board in my office for this. I often draw pictures or stick notes or photos of things I would like to see happen as a long term vision. Long term goals give you motivation to accomplish the daily, weekly, and monthly goals you will set.

Once you have a long term vision in mind, it is time to begin to narrow that down in to goals for the year, month, day. It’s used frequently, but I like to stick to the basics when it comes to goal planning. You’ve likely seen it before, but here is a refresher.

Use S-M-A-R-T Goals:


Specific- Write down the goals and keep them where you can easily access them.

Measurable – Be sure that each goal is something you can actually measure. Stay away from broad ideas like, “Next year I will find better candidates.” If you can’t quantify it, you can’t really measure your success. Instead your goal might be ” I will have a 50% increase in send outs in 2014.”

Attainable – Make sure the goals you set are actually achievable.  Once achieved, you can always raise the bar. The satisfaction of achieving a goal you set is extremely valuable in the self confidence it builds. If you are constantly chasing goals you can’t meet, you defeat the purpose of having them in the first place.

Realistic – I recommend that you focus on realistic performance goals relevant only to your role.  If you are a manager, have your team members set goals for themselves and then you can make sure they are in line with what you find acceptable. There is much more accountability when each team member plays a part in the planning process. When you create broad organizational goals only, you risk being demotivated by others that are not achieving the standards you set.

Time-bound – Each goal should be time bound and something that you can track. Calls, send-outs, various levels of interviews, new clients, new candidates; anything you can track, you can build a goal for. Write down specific dates that each goal will be accomplished by. I encourage you to write out your goal with time in a sentence. ” I will increase my new hire average to 6 per week by January 31, 2014.”

Whatever your role, or line of business, setting goals is an excellent way to stay focused in your business and motivated about what is relevant. Then, you have the self confidence to achieve what you want out of life and leave the irrelevant, day to day frustrations at the door. Do you have a formal process for setting goals each year? How does your goal planning differ from what I’ve discussed? Comment below.

Amy McDonald is the President and CEO at REKRUTR. She has been working in the human resources and recruiting industry for over 20 years. Amy has worked with hundreds of recruitment professionals throughout her career, training best practices in sourcing candidates and refining the recruitment process. In her spare time, Amy participates as a thought leader and contributor for recruitment information with BIZCATALYST360.

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