Using Inbox Zero for effective hiring

Daria Kurilina
November 2, 2020

Nowadays, anyone whose work is related to communication with people has at least once faced the problems coming from an overloaded inbox. Important and not that important work-related emails get mixed up with spam, newsletters, updates, etc., which eventually turns your Inbox into one big black hole. As a result, you don't reply on time, miss out on some important information and forget to take action on something when needed.

Here is one interesting fact: 28% of the workweek is spent on managing emails, reducing the time which could be dedicated to other areas of work [Chui M., 2012].

Now, I'd like to ask, have you ever thought about getting through your entire inbox every single day? This might sound crazy, but it is quite easy to keep your inbox empty. Moreover, this will increase your productivity and you'll never leave a single email without some action taken again.

Before we move further, let’s highlight a few advantages of this approach for hiring process:

  • all your candidates will receive replies to their emails on time;
  • interested candidates will be handled in a timely manner, so they won’t withdraw because of being ignored;
  • you won’t forget to follow up with a candidate in case you didn’t receive a reply;
  • and in the long run, your HR-brand will benefit from all of the above.

Sounds good? This all can be achieved by using the Inbox Zero approach for managing your emails. So let's move to the practical part.

Clean up your inbox

If you have never used Inbox Zero or a similar approach for managing your inbox, it must have thousands of emails by now. So the easiest way to adapt to this approach would be to open the inbox, select all the messages you have accumulated and archive them all at once. This will sound crazy to some people, but it's much easier to start from scratch. Another option is to sort out all the emails from the last 1-2 weeks (most of them will be archived anyway).

Deal with your emails in chronological order

To develop this useful habit, you will need some discipline. When you process your emails, start with the oldest message and move on to the newest one. This way you will maintain a chronological order and will not get confused.

Replied? Archive.

The main rule of the Inbox Zero approach: your inbox is NOT the place to store your emails. All emails in your inbox need to be processed as soon as possible. Read them one by one and either reply and archive if the message requires a reply, or simply archive if the message does not require a reply.

If for some reason you are unable to reply to an email immediately, there are two options:

  • Snooze your email until the date and time when you need to be reminded to reply (for example you still need to gather some information before replying to the email);
  • If you can write the answer right away, but the recipient should receive it at a specific time, use the delayed delivery function.

Just do it. NOW.

If an email requires an action that will take a few minutes, just do it now. Do not create a task for this on your to-do list. Do not leave it in your inbox. If you need to reject a candidate, thank someone for sharing some info you've requested, forward some feedback - just do it, this won't take more than a couple of minutes.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s clean up your inbox now!

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