If you work in recruiting, you may have seen this article floating around in December. It was the end of the year and recruiters were feeling the strain. For some, the strain was more than just your standard stressful day. It was leading to complete and total burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” (Source) It isn’t simply having a bad week or feeling some strain that you are able to check out of when you leave work. It is a level of exhaustion that affects far beyond your day-to-day work duties.

What to Look For

When feeling burned out becomes your norm it can be really difficult to decipher when it has become a problem. Having regular check-ins with yourself and ask yourself some questions about how you’re feeling at work. The Mayo Clinic suggests asking questions like:

  • Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
  • Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Do you feel disillusioned about your jobs?
  • Have your sleep habits changed?
  • Have you been experiencing new and stress-related physical reactions?

Having these frequent check-ins with yourself can help you to see when you’re feeling stressed out versus when you may be approaching burnout. If you find that you are able to pinpoint what is causing stress and you are able to see a solution or endpoint of the stress, chances are it’s not burnout. Yet if you feel overwhelmed with a lack of motivation and care for the work that you previously had, that’s where burnout may be the culprit.

What Causes Burnout

Burnout in recruiters can be caused by a number of different work issues. A lack of balance (i.e. defining yourself entirely by your career and being incapable of viewing yourself as successful outside of work) could leave you feeling like success is unattainable.

A lack of resources or control could also lead to employee burnout. Without the tools you need to be successful or the control you need to feel hopeful about your work, the gap between what you want to do and what you can do can become too large to bridge.

Unclear or constantly changing expectations leave employees feeling lost about what to do in their workday. Dealing with an unstable workplace will, at best, leave a recruiter stressed and, at worst, will lead to burnout.

Burnout can also be caused by a sheer lack of desire to remain in the industry. If this is the cause of your burnout then it’s quite impossible to have any sort of solution that you leaves you happy and in the same position.

What You Can Do

The best way to deal with burnout is to prevent it completely, but if you are starting to feel yourself slipping there are few things you can do to pull back and regain your positive outlook.

Work through your emotions and your reactions to try to find the particular cause of your burnout. Knowing what the root is can help you find the solutions that could work for you. If unclear expectations are the cause, set up a meeting with your manager to get IN WRITING what you’re responsible for and what the goals for the position are. If you’re being hit by a lack of tools or skills, find out what would make your job more effective and bring your pitch to the people who can make a difference.

Something as small as beginning a new exercise routine can be enough to kick out the feelings that come from burnout. Changing up your routine and doing something that is solely for you could be the self-care that you need to get back on the road to success.

If you’re looking to prevent burnout (and we all should be):

  • Build goals that are attainable. Ride that wave of success whenever you reach one and extend that positive attitude to the people that you work with.
  • Let automation help. If you’re feeling bogged down with how to handle all of the admin tasks that you’re faced with, the solution is to let someone or something else handle them. Consider if an automation tool would be a good fit for you.
  • Take a break and build a life outside of work. If your job is your sole source of satisfaction in life, the pressure can become too much to handle. Taking some time off is probably one of the most difficult things for a recruiter to do as there is ALWAYS something else they could be doing, but a break may be exactly what you need so don’t put it off.
  • If you’re a TA leader, keep in mind that your recruiters are doing their best. Piling more requisitions on them or subconsciously punishing them for taking breaks when they need is not only detrimental to them as a person, it’s detrimental to them as an employee.

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