7 Simple Self-Care Habits for Recruiters

massaging own toes

While it may seem counterintuitive, the best way recruiters can serve their companies and clients is maintaining healthy self care. That’s what Franny VanHatten-Morin told me in a recent blog interview about healthcare and hiring. She recruits for Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado.

Just like self-care for someone struggling with an eating disorder can be life or death (sometimes literally), so can self-care be a life and death issue for staying in recruiting as a profession. Those who don’t look after themselves will drop out sooner or later.

Turnover in the recruiting industry is high. Recruiters have a hard job; they need to take care of themselves or they’ll drop out, and starting over sucks.

VanHatten-Morin is based in Denver, so self-care for her looks like literally snowshoeing on a Sunday to get ready for Monday’s grind. She says, “It is so hard at times to be a recruiter. You sit there and might want to put your head down on a desk. People don’t realize how hard it is to find the right talent, because you’re not just looking for anybody.”

In our interview, VanHatten-Morin emphasizes the importance of self-care for recruiters, especially when you’re recruiting for healthcare organizations: “As a recruiter, we’re on stage so much. We’re out there smiling, happy, regardless of anything that’s going on in our lives — we don’t let people know. You won’t know if your kid had a bad morning or your mom is sick and in the hospital. What I try to tell people is, ‘Hey, go take care of yourself; take that time.’”

Here are seven ways to take care of yourself as a recruiter. These practices will:

  • Make you physically happier
  • Keep you recruiting longer

Provide a means for healthier relationships

  1. “Treat Yo Self.” At least that’s what Parks and Recreation says to do. What I say to recruiters is give your self three things to look forward to every day. I learned this practice from Donald Miller’s Storyline Productivity Schedule, which is a free 45-page download that revolutionized my workflow … and my treats.
  2. Meditate for 15 minutes every workday — alone without any distractions. This means no emails, no cell phones, no texting. People castigate meditation as an Eastern religious practice, but it’s gaining popularity in the West for good reason. Find your own way to meditate on something good for 15 minutes a day or longer. It has proven neurological benefits.
  3. Focus on family and friends. Don’t put work over your people. Friends and family first, then finding candidates. The first will help the second and will keep you going for the long haul. First things first.
  4. Organize yourself. Even if you’re not an organized person, you need some personal organization off the clock. I’m a little frustrated with how “spontaneous people” say unorganized because it’s their “personality.” Truth is that everyone needs organization no matter your personality type. So can take care of your self, because when you take care of your personal life well, you’ll be a better recruiter.
  5. Practice awareness for 10 minutes once a week. David Benner opened my eyes to this one. He writes as a psychologist and emphasizes the importance of awareness to people and things around you. In Soulful Spirituality he suggests taking time to focus on one thing (whether a something in nature or at work) for a set period of time, just observing it. This will help you as a recruiter, because it helps you be aware of what’s going on around you. By honing acute awareness, you’ll be more focused on what matters when finding top talent.
  6. Run or something. With such a high stress job, get some cardio in for 30 minutes four days a week to reduce stress and make you happier.
  7. Sleep for eight hours every night. Over and over again, studies show that adults need about eight hours of sleep every night. If you think you’re a better person because you work long hours — staying up to late, getting up early — you need to stop. Why don’t you want to be at 100 percent energy on the job? Recruiting is hard work, so get enough sleep. You’re literally dangerous to others and to yourself without adequate sleep.

With regard to self-care for recruiters, VanHatten-Morin says, “If you don’t have anything to give to somebody at the end of the day, you’re not going to be very nice to them over the phone. Really taking care of yourself and your team is the self-work that you do.”

Different strokes for different folks, so you’ve got to find what works for you. I’ll say this much: Find what works for you to stay in the game. Here’s what VanHatten-Morin does:

“If I know there’s nothing major going on, I’m going to go home. I’m going to go home and love me. I’ll just go home and shut off the world and recharge, because I’m on the stage so much. That can look like anything, whether it’s taking the time to go to the gym and take care of your self.

“This Sunday I actually decided I’m going snowshoeing. We’re very lucky to have the outdoors at our fingertips. I use that a lot as a way to recharge and just go on a hike for a couple of hours. Then, go back and review resumes. So that way my head is fresh and I’m not bringing any biases of the day and any biases when I’m reviewing someone’s resume.”

Self-care is important for serving well your employer. While it seems counterintuitive, you need to take care of your self to serve well your clients and your company. Recruiting is built on healthy relationships, and that starts with being a healthy you.

You can’t build healthy relationships — even if they’re business relationships — without being healthy yourself. So once you’ve attended to self-care you can give back by building energizing relationships with candidates.

VanHatten-Morin summarizes the benefits of self-care for recruiters: “Take care of yourself, so that you’re pleasant for the people, because you’re getting the ability to change their life and give them a job. That’s probably the best advice that anybody could have given me when I first became a recruiter and I could pass on to others!”

If you’re not ready for all seven things, start with one and add the others slowly over the next seven weeks (one a week). It will do your body good, which will make you a better recruiter.