Managing Recruiter Stress and Burnout

We may be halfway through 2021, but that doesn’t mean that 2020 stress is gone. Despite the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re still dealing with the effects of the ongoing pandemic and the dramatic recruiting and economic changes it sparked.

Recruiters have been facing everything from total hiring freezes and job insecurity to being overwhelmed with positions to fill (we see you, healthcare recruiters). In the last year, 61% of recruiters reported an increase in stress, with 19% reporting a drastic increase. On top of handling work stress, everyone is dealing with personal stressors, like child and family care, and you know, trying to take care of your mental health during one of the most stressful times in recent history.


We wanted to carve out some space to share how you can care for yourself and your mental health this Mental Health Awareness Month.

Notice Your Triggers and Stressors

For some people, any meeting at 9 AM is enough to start their day with anxiety and stress. For others, having to use a particular meeting software throws their entire mood into flux. Take note of the stressors that seem to have the highest impact on you. You can’t always avoid them, but by being aware, you can create a plan to deal with them.

Check In With Yourself Often

How often do you take a minute to check in on how you’re feeling? If you can, schedule just 5 minutes a day to register how you’re feeling. If you have a few extra minutes, question how you can continue your good feelings. And ask yourself how you can combat the negative ones. 

Tackle Perfectionism Head On

Recruiters are notorious for striving for perfection. You want to find the perfect candidate at the perfect time and build the perfect teams while keeping your hiring managers happy. It’s a lot of work.

While perfectionism can cause tons of stress, that doesn’t mean you should immediately let go of those perfectionist standards. Instead, try to focus on the impact of your work and recognize the point of diminishing returns in your efforts. Ask yourself, “If I work on this for three more hours will it get better or will it just be me spending three more hours working on it?” 

Talk (Or Write) It Out

Being involved with recruiting communities or groups could help you bring down stress levels. Or pick up a pen and write out what you’re feeling. Taking a moment to write things out could help change your perspective.

If you’re a recruiting leader or in executive management…this next one is for you:

Support Your Recruiters and Invest in Caring for Them

Are you giving your recruiting team the time they need to take breaks? Are you providing enough support by way of more staff, better tools, or adjusted productivity expectations to account for the mental strain people are facing? How are you checking in with your employees to ensure they’re feeling supported?

It never hurts to ask what you can do better to help your team better manage work stress! Make sure that as a leader you’re giving your team space, time, and tools they need to care for themselves. Free yoga and meditation classes can be great, but many teams need support in the form of resources that help them complete their tasks effectively, not just being able to breathe through the stress.


As we move forward in Mental Health Awareness Month we hope that you’ll take a little bit of extra time to take care of yourself. 2020 may have taught us just how much the world can throw at us, but now it’s time for us to learn how we can take care of ourselves and our communities no matter what comes our way.

If you feel like you’re already burned out, you’re not alone. We put together some suggestions of how to handle it here.
If you need professional support, you can find resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness here.

Don't stop now. Keep reading!

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