Clare Evans is a Time Management and Productivity Coach. She has worked with Business Owners, Executives, Directors, CEOs and Partners from a variety of industries and organisations who want to improve their time management, and increase their productivity. We asked her some questions about Time Management for recruitment.
How do you define "Time Management"? What are its advantages?
Time Management is a generally accepted term that covers a person's ability to manage and organise the choices they make with the time they have. Good time management is essential if a person is expected to manage their workload, handle multiple priorities and projects and organise themselves and their teams or direct reports.
-Good time habits enable them to work in a more productive and efficient way, waste less time and they're less likely to become stressed when things get busy.
-They make better decisions about how and where they focus their time to achieve their goals and objectives and get results.
-It increases confidence and reduces stress when they know they can manage their workload and deliver the results.
-Be able to adapt and be flexible when priorities change.
-Have good, clear boundaries around their time, both in the working environment and at home and BE able to maintain and re-inforce those boundaries when necessary.
-Create a better balance and working environment when they're able to plan and organise their time, without having to constantly juggle tasks, change priorities or end up working long hours.
Poor time management results in poor career opportunities, poor performance and frustration. It has an impact on the person, who's not able to achieve the results they want and the people around them who are affected by their lack of organisation, being late and not delivering on time. It's often cited as a reason people are held back from progressing in their career, not getting the promotion they feel they deserve or worse still, losing their job.
I work with people where their lack of time management is a key factor during their performance review. They've missed out on Bonuses and career progression as a result and in some cases have had to leave their job or lose out on work opportunities, because they weren't able to organise their time. They ended up feeling constantly overwhelmed and stressed by their increasing workload and inability to manage multiple priorities and demands.
Why is it a sought-after skill in companies today and how do you explain it?
With so many demands on people's time, it's important that a person is able to make the right choices on how they use their time. It shows an ability to decide on different, often conflicting priorities and get the most out of the time and resources available, including other members of their team and direct reports.
-They are able to plan and organise their time to get results.
-They become known as a person who can be trusted to deliver on time or to do what they say they're going to do.
-They're able to take advantage of opportunities, because they know how to allocate their time and focus on getting results.
-They know when and how to delegate effectively and when to push-back or renegotiate when things change.
-It enhances their own professional reputation and that of the organisation they work for.
-It reduces sickness and absenteeism when people have better control of their time, are more proactive and less likely to become stressed and overloaded.
-Good time habits and time management skills at a senior level can filter down and be used as examples of good working practice for colleagues and employees. Conversely, poor time skills have the opposite effect and impact performance, morale and staff turnover.
-Poor time management leads to stress and burnout which has an impact on the productivity and profitability of the individual and the company.
How do you assess this skill in candidates?
Initially, a simple quiz or skills test to understand their basic level of understanding and performance. This might highlight areas where they perform well or areas for improvement and development.
Asking questions to understand how they spend their time and avoid distractions, how well do they plan and organise their time.
Look at how they perform or have performed in the past and their ability to deliver results on time and as needed. Do/did they turn up on time or submit information requested in a timely manner?
During an initial interview, asking relevant questions on different scenarios or asking for examples of when they've performed well or managed a challenging project or changing time frames to see how well they plan, organise and prioritise their time.
Assessing the right level of required time management skill saves time and effort in the long run. Making sure you recruit the right person for the job from the start rather than finding out on paper they seemed like the perfect candidate but in reality after a few weeks in the role, they're not performing as expected or their lack of time management is a problem. I've seen this happen in several organisations, where they then have the option to:
-Let the person go before the end of their probationary period.
-Come to a mutual decision that they're not a good fit for the team or the company
-Provide additional support and training to learn good time habits.
In the first two instances the company has to go through the whole recruitment process again. The third option can be a win-win for both.
Which jobs are concerned by Time Management? At what level(s) of a company?
Any job where a person has responsibility for planning and organising their own tasks and projects or they're working as part of a team when they need to collaborate, communicate and deliver results.
It's a key skill at all levels, although some job roles are more time sensitive than others, for instance where employees have more or less control over their time.
CEOs need to be able to deliver results and delegate effectively to their team and direct reports. They also need to set an example of good time management to their employees.
Directors, Managers and Team Leaders need to manage and understand their own priorities and workload, as well as leading and supporting their peers, colleagues and staff.
All employees need to have a good level of understanding of the basic skills in planning and organising their time, managing the demands of their boss and colleagues and being able to prioritise their workload.
At what point in the recruitment process would you advise a recruiter to have a Time Management skills test? After a first selection of CVs, after a first interview?
An initial skills test can be used as part of the first selection process - either when they submit their CVs or as the next step. Especially if good time skills are a key part of the role. The sooner this is assessed the better. It may help to select or eliminate candidates to take forward to a first interview.
-For instance, it may be important that a candidate is able to plan and organise their own time but don't need to have good delegation skills.
-A more senior role might require better prioritisation and delegation skills when leading a team or managing projects for a department or company
More relevant, focused questions can be asked as part of a more indepth test, such as Maki, or during a first or second interview.
If they haven't been assessed during the recruitment process, knowing if there are any time management issues or opportunities for development can be helpful in the early stages of a new role to prevent it becoming an issue later on.
Clare is a Time Management and Productivity Coach. She has worked with hundreds of clients and organisations, both in the UK and internationally. They include Business Owners, Executives, Directors, CEOs and Partners from a variety of industries and organisations who want to improve their time management. She is also the author of the book "Time Management For Dummies".