| April 28, 2017 2:22 pm

If you’re a recruiter, being pulled in multiple directions is par for the course. Your Hiring Manager wants to see more resumes, your candidate wants feedback from last week’s interview and Suzy in Compliance wants the OFCCP report that was due two days ago. You have 42 unread emails; your phone is ringing and two instant messages are blinking on your screen. Oh, and your staff meeting starts in 5 minutes.

You decide to take a breather and hop on LinkedIn. In your inbox, three candidates who live thousands of miles away and are in completely different industries from your own reach out asking for assistance. As you’re a recruiter, you find it intrinsically rewarding to help people. So what do you do?

There are 2 correct answers. One is to reply saying you can’t assist and the other is to not reply at all. While this sounds borderline inhumane, the fact of the matter is you’re a recruiter employed by a company and your job is to hire people for said company. Your job is not to try to help every single person who reaches out to you. You can’t help everyone. There simply isn’t enough time in the day.

You’re not here to save the world. You are here to perform a function and perform it well enough where you can have a good work life balance. You need to be selfish with your time and focus on what’s important to you. If you don’t manage your day, your day will manage you.

When we first start our careers as recruiters, we have this inflated sense of self-worth along with the feeling we can get anyone, anywhere, a job. That’s simply not true and if you haven’t realized that yet, you will. I’ve been recruiting for 17 years now and have built a pretty good network over the years. More and more often, people who I have no connection to whatsoever reach out via LinkedIn to ask for my help. These messages come at all times, day and night and the only thing they have in common is they have nothing to do with my life or my career. At first I felt guilty when not being able to assist folks but then I realized I had my own responsibilities and problems. Not to sound harsh but these are not my problem. If a stranger reaches out to you, you shouldn’t feel any self-imposed pressure to assist them.

Imagine if you were a doctor and you were on your way to see a patient. A random stranger stops you in the hall and asks for advice about their back pain. But you’re an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and this person isn’t even a patient of your practice. What you could do is give them a name of a good Orthopedic Doctor. In other words, you point them in the right direction.

What I do these days is copy and paste a template stating that my firm only places recruiters and we’re not going to be the best match. I also include our career site as we do assist companies hire folks. But that’s it. Then I get back to my work and hope to be home in time for dinner.

Conor Nicholson is the Founder and CEO of NSS RPO, a consulting firm that provides on-site and virtual recruiting professionals. Contact NSS RPO to learn about how we can help your organization meet and exceed it’s hiring goals.