Recruiter Burnout: How to get your hiring team back on track

Recruiter Burnout: How to get your hiring team back on track

Recruiter Burnout can have a devastating impact on a recruiter’s mental and physical health. But it also affects the wider team and the business too. 


During the pandemic, recruiter burnout levels rose. That’s not surprising, but what is surprising, is they still remain high today.  


In this blog, we’ll dive into the causes of recruiter burnout and explore the potential outcomes for businesses. We’ll also share some strategies for overcoming burnout, including setting reasonable goals, providing the right software tools, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. 

Table of Contents
quote about recruiter burnout

What is Recruiter Burnout?  

Recruiter Burnout is a serious issue that many people working in the hiring industry face. It’s so common in fact, that it even got the name ‘Recruiter Burnout’. And it’s likely one of the main reasons the recruitment industry has one of the highest turnover rates 


But what is ‘Recruiter Burnout’?  In layman terms, Recruiter Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that tends to affect recruitment professionals. One of the things that makes Recruiter Burnout dangerous, is that sometimes it’s symptoms can go unnoticed.  


Despite this, there are things you can look out for. The below list are symptoms of visible burnout.  

  • Low energy  
  • Mood swings  
  • Trouble sleeping  
  • Physical symptoms (tachycardia, migraines, etc)  
  • Prolonged or frequent absence from work  
  • Negative attitude to work  
  • Depression 


Now it’s important as well to mention that there are three different types of Burnout


Overload Burnout 

This type of burnout is the result of prolonged work at an unsustainable or unreasonable pace. A person suffering from overload burnout will probably work long hours and take minimal holidays/breaks until eventually they burnout.  


Under-Challenged Burnout 

This burnout comes from doing a job (often for a long time) that you’ve grown very comfortable with. You no longer find the work challenging or exciting, and it’s become monotonous and boring, leaving you with no motivation.  


Neglect Burnout  

This type of burnout tends to happen when a worker feels ‘invisible’ or ‘under-appreciated’ by a company, hence the neglect. Your efforts go unnoticed, leaving you frustrated and unhappy until you give up.   


Now we know about the different types of burnout, let’s look at the causes of it. 


What causes Recruiter Burnout? 

Human Resource professionals are more likely to experience burnout than other professionals because their jobs revolve around “people and their problems”.  When you couple that with some of the other factors below, it’s easy to understand why. 

recruiter burnt out with head in her hands

High Pressure 

Recruitment Managers face intense time pressures, especially when dealing in a high-volume hiring environment. The constant need to meet tight deadlines and fill a high number of positions can be overwhelming, leading to burnout. 


Lack of Resources 

Recruiters often struggle with the large number of tasks they have to do. The role typically comes with a lot of repetitive admin that takes up time and mental energy. That coupled with the lack of resources (budget, recruitment tools, staff) can leave them feeling helpless. Eventually, all this does is increase stress levels to a point that’s hard to cope with – leading to burnout and high turnover.  


Lack of Support 

The pandemic only increased remote/hybrid working. That means a lot of recruiters work from home or even away from a company’s base. That means recruiters can end up feeling isolated and alone. Often, Recruitment Managers are left to manage undersized teams, with little to no support from their overheads. That leads to frustration, emotional exhaustion and a higher chance of burnout. 


What are the outcomes of Recruiter Burnout? 

Recruiter burnout can have a dire effect on businesses as a whole. When a recruitment team isn’t functioning, it can have a huge impact on the bottom line of businesses. That means it’s even more important for Recruitment Managers to manage their workloads and take precautions to avoid burnout. 

bored employee playing with a pencil

Exhaustion and Lack of Motivation 

Burnt-out recruiters experience a significant decline in motivation and passion for their work. The lack of enthusiasm can impact their ability to carry out the work they need and represent the company in the best light. Overall, this slows down the recruit process. An exhausted and unmotivated recruiter can actually put off candidates simply by giving off what a candidate might perceive as negative energy, or lack of care.  

Reduced Productivity 

As burnout takes a toll on recruiters, their productivity suffers. Delays in hiring can lead to missed opportunities and impact the company’s growth and success. If it’s a Recruitment Manager who’s being less productive, that can impact the wider team. As a Recruitment Manager managing a team of recruiters, you set the example. An unmotivated and unproductive manager means the team are likely to also follow and do less than they otherwise could.  


How to overcome Recruiter Burnout 

So we’ve looked at the causes and the effects of Recruiter Burnout. But what steps can you take to avoid it? After all, prevention is better than the cure.  


Set reasonable goals 

To avoid burnout, it’s crucial to set achievable goals and expectations. Break down the hiring targets into manageable milestones, allowing recruiters to celebrate progress and maintain a sense of accomplishment. There’s plenty of strong research out there already that links goal setting (and achieving) to improved mental health 


Provide the right software 

As we mentioned earlier, a lack of resources is one of the main causes of Recruiter Burnout. Without the right tools to support them with their work, recruiters become weighed down with tasks.  


Using a good recruitment system that automates repetitive parts of the hiring process is a huge resource for a recruiter. This can take away a significant burden by freeing up a recruiters’ time to focus on strategic tasks and spending time with people instead. 


Create a good work-life balance  

As a Recruitment Manager, encouraging a healthy work-life balance for your recruiters and creating one for yourself is a must. Create a system that provides support, regular breaks, holidays, and mental health days. A balanced lifestyle leads to happier and more productive team members.  

employee stood with a cup of coffee smiling
holiday being highlighted on a calendar
sign saying mental health matters

Make sure there’s mental health support within the organisation. Offer access to counselling services or workshops that help manage stress and promote emotional well-being both in and out of work.  


As a Recruitment Manager, it’s important to realise that not everybody will come direct to you to talk about mental health issues. That means it’s up to you to look at some of the symptoms mentioned previously and check in if you suspect someone is having trouble. Also, by encouraging your team to be forthcoming, you’ll allow for other members of your team to come to you with information if they suspect another colleague is struggling.  


To wrap up 

Recruiter Burnout is a problematic side effect that can sometimes happen to recruiters and Recruitment Managers when the pressures of recruiting get the best of them, and proper systems of support aren’t in place. By understanding the causes and consequences of burnout, and using the above strategies to prevent it, businesses can create a healthier and more productive talent acquisition team.  


Remember, a supported and motivated recruiting team is key to attracting the best candidates and driving organisational success. For more information on how to significantly reduce the workload for your recruitment team, download our guide: 4 Ways to Reduce Recruitment Admin.  

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