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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

February, 2005

Setting Goals for Peak Performance

Last month, we discussed the importance of making friends with your numbers. This month, let's put the numbers to work as you set your goals for the coming year.

If you look at any top recruiter -- or high achiever in any field -- you'll find that goals are the engine that drives success. The problem is, most people don't set goals. Either they don't understand the power of goals or don't know how to structure a program to achieve them.

Setting goals isn't difficult; in fact, it's a lot easier to know where you're going and the status of your performance than it is to wander aimlessly without direction or a point of reference. By visualizing EXACTLY what you want, you can achieve more than if your objective is simply to "get better" or "make more money." And that's why your numbers are so important. They can act as a benchmark as you work towards your goal.

Successful Goal Setting Strategies
In order for your goal-setting program to work, you need to observe the following rules:

1. Goals must be measurable and controllable. Pick specific numbers you wish to improve. For example, if you're making 40 calls a day, you can set your goal for 45 calls; or, if you recruit five new candidates a week, you can set a goal for seven per week.

Make sure you have a mechanism whereby you can accurately track your numbers; otherwise, your performance may be shrouded by guesswork. Also, avoid setting goals that are indirect or out of your control. For example, you can't directly CONTROL the number of placements you make, but you CAN control the related activity that preceded them.

2. Goals should be time-bounded. Be specific about the time frame you've set for your various activities, and measure the results accordingly.

3. Goals need to be realistic. Aggressive goals are fine. In fact, if your goals are too modest, they're not really goals, they're just quotas or repetitions of what you already know you can do. On the other hand, if your goals are too ambitious, they might become FANTASIES and defeat the purpose of goal setting, which is to visualize something that's achievable through planning and hard work.

If you're arranging three interviews a week, a realistic goal might be to increase to four a week. Once you achieve consistent results, you can then raise the number to five. In other words, you're looking for incremental improvement, not a giant leap all at once.

Here are a couple of additional points regarding goal setting. First, it's always advisable to commit your goals to paper. Write them out in great detail, and sign off on them. And second, keep your goals to yourself. Share them only with other people who are themselves committed to setting and achieving goals. The last thing you need is to subject your efforts to criticism from people who can't set goals or appreciate the power of sincere and thoughtful self-improvement.


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