How to Combat Stress as a Recruiter

Stress management strategies for recruiters

May 5, 2022

Overcoming-Stress-Recruiters-meta

With millions of Americans each year living with mental illnesses, we need to destigmatize talking about mental health and be better equipped to help ourselves and our peers who maybe struggling. Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we’ll be focusing on our posts on the realities of mental health in the workplace and impactful ways to address it. The goal is to help teams, and specifically TA professionals, find ways to make mental wellbeing a priority at work.

To kick things off, we’ll be discussing the impact of stress, plus healthy coping mechanisms to help you avoid burnout and other stress-related side effects. In a way, stress is a fact of a life; it’s something that knows no boundaries in terms of industry, level, or role. However, there is a difference between positive stress which can help motivate you to complete tasks, and negative stress which can result in more serious health problems.

What stresses recruiters out 😰

Recruiting is a incredibly demanding and competitive profession that often requires long hours. Recruiters are also accountable to many different groups of people, including hiring managers, executives, and candidates. There is a lot of pressure to hit KPIs like signing new business contracts, reaching financial goals, or hiring a target number of new employees.

There is often internal competition amongst TA teams. Some competition can be healthy, but it’s important to recognize whether your team encourages one another to succeed or whether they put others down if they’re not performing at their best. Collaboration and a supportive environment is much more conducive to a positive work environment (and less stress) than internal competition.

Working with hiring managers are one of recruiters’ biggest pain points. Whether they don’t know what they’re looking for, take forever to provide feedback, or are overly critical of candidates, hiring managers can make the recruiting process longer and less efficient. Recruiters can only work as fast as the manager they are working with. As a recruiter, it can be very stressful to feel like someone else is adding a roadblock as you try to progress towards your goals.

Candidates are another factor that affects your mindset as a recruiter. They can flake or fail an interview just by not doing their homework. Like with hiring managers, candidates are human, and their actions, while they impact your business, are out of your control. No one likes to feel powerless when it comes to solving their problems, and that alone can cause extra stress.

Signs and symptoms of stress 🤯

Stress can impact your behavior and manifest in physical ways that can negatively impact your health. If you are experiencing some of the below symptoms, it may be time to talk to your manager, reassess your workload, or just give yourself a break.

  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Feeling irritable, anxious, or depressed
  • Loss of interest in work
  • Trouble focusing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach issues
  • Social withdrawal
  • Coping with drugs and/or alcohol

What exactly is burnout? 🤔

Burnout is now a part of most discussions about today’s workplaces, especially post-pandemic. Burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. Along with exhaustion, you may feel especially frustrated, angry, and have a diminished sense of accomplishment. Most people don’t know they’re burning out until it’s too late. Recognizing burnout is the first step to tackling your stress.

Stress management tips 👍

Here are some measures you can take to prevent burnout and feelings of anxiety from escalating.

Educate yourself about mental health. Knowing the signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and other mental struggles will help prevent issues from escalating and alert you that changes need to be made.

Take time for yourself. Don’t judge yourself or others for taking a break and other measures needed to stay healthy. Our “go go go” culture that encourages people to “hustle” and always be on the clock which ultimately isn’t sustainable or healthy.

Plan ahead.

  • Set goals, lay out concrete plans, and realistic timelines to reach those goals. Doing this will help manage your expectations and make the amount of work you need to get done more digestible and less overwhelming.

  • Break down your larger tasks into manageable chunks. It’s more efficient and less stressful to look at a project in steps rather than one giant mountain you need to climb. You’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment after completing each step, rather than feeling like you’re only a partial of the way done.

  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t check off everything on your to-do list for the day. Recruiting is an inherently human job and your progress is often dependent on other people like candidates or hiring managers. Projects can take longer than anticipated and unexpected timely tasks can pop up that cause you to rearrange your schedule or priorities for the day. Review your plan and make adjustments accordingly from what you’ve learned. Be flexible and forgiving with yourself.

Manage your time.

Find organizational and time management tools that work for you. Different tools work for different people. For some, a simple checklist is all that’s needed. Some people need to write things down by hand rather than keep notes and tasks digitally. We’ll share a few of the tools available to help you organize and get tasks done more efficiently later in this article.

Prioritize yourself and set boundaries.

  • Schedule time to take breaks. Honor this time as you would any other meeting. It might not feel like you’re being productive during a break but stepping back and recharging your own batteries will help you be more productive later.

  • Say yes to saying no. Everyone wants to be a people pleaser but don’t say yes at your own expense. Consider what falls under your job description and your schedule. If a request doesn’t fall under your list of responsibilities and you’re busy with your own work, there is no fault in respectfully saying no. Setting these boundaries let’s others know that you’re not to be taken advantage of.

Communicate with your team.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are under water or if you are struggling with something. Others can’t support you if they aren’t aware of what you need.

  • Delegate. It can be hard to hand over work to someone else. Especially if you like being in control. If you’re a manager with a team, identify tasks one of your teammates can take on. If you’re part of a team and your colleagues offers to help you, let them.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Especially when deadlines are looming, it can be tough to remember that there is life outside of work. Constantly working and being “on” is a sure way to burnout.

  • Find hobbies that bring you joy.

  • Disconnect from your phone after work hours.

Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments.

Instead of focusing on what you didn’t get done, make a list of everything you accomplished. You’ll be amazed at how many tasks you get done each day.

Accept that you’ll make mistakes.

Everyone does, it’s part of being human. Look at mistakes as a learning opportunity. Ultimately, making mistakes and learning from them will make you a better recruiter.

Use your vacation days.

Plan a trip somewhere new. Enjoy a staycation. The important thing is to actually take time off; it’s crucial for your mental health. These breaks will refresh you and allow you to be more productive when you return.

Above all, be mindful. Noticing when you’re stress levels are rising is the best way to keep yourself healthy.

Tips for decompressing when you’re feeling overwhelmed 🧖‍♀️

Taking proactive measures above will help to prevent you from getting to the point of burnout. However, we all know that things happen and sometimes, stress gets to us. And that’s ok! Below are a few reminders of ways to take care of yourself when anxiety does creepy in.

Learn your own personal warning signs.

There are common stress symptoms but each individual will have their own unique warning signs. Maybe you’ve been snapping at loved ones, suffering from tension headaches, or having trouble sleeping. Take note, and rethink your plan ahead to de-stress.

Put things in perspective.

Will the world stop turning if you respond to that email tomorrow instead of immediately? Absolutely not. Take a breath and realize that work will still be there for you tomorrow.

Talk to a mental health professional.

Sometimes just talking about your stressors and what’s troubling you can lift some of the weight off your shoulders. If you’re currently dealing with burnout or struggling otherwise, take time to research and find a mental health professional ASAP; it can sometimes take time to get an appointment scheduled. Speaking to someone regularly can give you a new perspective, on good days and less-than-good days.

Let go of what is beyond your control.

Again, your business is dealing with humans. Candidates flake and your boss may throw something on your plate that makes you rearrange your day. Getting irritated and fixating on the negative won’t change what’s happened. When you need to, give yoursel time to breath and regroup so that you can keep moving forward.

Accept that not every day will be smooth sailing.

Whether you’re sick or just feel stuck in the mud, everyone is bound to run into bad days. Give yourself grace and do some extra self-care in the evening. Tomorrow is a new day.

Do something physical.

  • Take a quick walk. Even 5 minutes around the block can clear your head and improve your mood. Put on your favorite type of music or a podcast for an added boost, and to take your mind off of work.

  • Try simple desk stretches. Not only will this give you a nice mental break, these stretches also combat physical issues that come with desk jobs like neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, and carpal tunnel.

Remember the basics.

Taking care yourself is as simple as eating regularly and getting a good night’s rest. Take time for lunch and try not to eat at your desk. Sleep is critical to your overall health. If falling or staying asleep is a problem for you, check out these tips from the CDC.

Take a day off.

If you are feeling sick, overwhelmed, or low, use your sick days. They’re there for a reason. If this doesn’t feel like an option, set aside a day over the weekend that’s just for you.

Ways that tech can help📱

Unfortunately, because we live in such a fast-paced and digital world, more and more people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. The upside is that mental health has become a public priority, and there are many tools now to help us proactively take care of our mental health.

Medition apps and therapy apps

The benefits of meditation are backed by science. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep, and boost your self-esteem. There are many options for meditation appsout there with pre-recorded meditations of different lengths. Some are as short as 3 minutes so you can quickly sneak it into your morning routine or even after an intense meeting. Meditation can feel challenging at first but many of these apps aim to teach you how to meditate. Most apps have a free trial or free version.

Even before Covid, new telehealth companies were launching that provide online therapy for customers. Signing up and setting up appointments are typcially much faster than booking with a traditional provider.

Organizational tools

We now have our choice of organizational and time-management tools today. There are note taking apps, meeting scheduling tools, and collaboration tools that will help you and your team prioritize and stay on task.

Recruiting software

Give yourself more time for the more rewarding parts of your job, by letting tech handle routine, repetitive tasks. Check out our blog post breaking down the recruiting tech stack and see all the tools that can help reduce manual work and reduce stress.

With the technology we have today, there are so many ways you can make your recruitment process faster and more efficient. For example, with Fetcher, you can have batches of highly qualified candidates sourced just for you. You’ll be able to automate your outreach and nurture campaigns while still keeping emails unique and personalized. Fetcher’s analytics also take the mystery out of how your recruiting processes are going, where you need to make improvements, and how your team is performing.


The bottom line: remember that you’re human, and every human experiences stress and mental health struggles. Taking preventative measures to reduce and relieve stress will help fortify you against burnout, anxiety, and other negative symptoms. Prioritize yourself and your own health, and it will become easier to recognize when you need extra support, and advocate for yourself. Remember there are practices, people, and tools out there to help you be the best version of yourself.

Check out our other blog posts for more talent acquisition tips and insights into recruiting trends.

About Fetcher

At Fetcher, our mission is to introduce companies to the people who will help them change the world. Our full-service, recruiting automation platform automates those repetitive, top-of-funnel tasks, so you can focus more on candidate engagement & team collaboration. Simplify Sourcing. Optimize Outreach. Hire Top Talent. Learn more at fetcher.ai.

blogPost Tag

Recruiting Strategies, Workplace Trends