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Hey, Recruiter! The Secret Strategy You Can Learn From Google On How To Set Goals

A great recruiter is a great goal setter. Actually, strike that. A great recruiter is a great goal setter and an even better goal chaser 

Which is why it’s so important to learn how to set goals that have clear, measurable outcomes matched with defined deadlines. 

It also helps if they’re a bit exciting and stretch you a little (or a lot): goals are much easier to achieve when the prospect is exciting- and even a little bit scary! For recruiters, your goals might include reaching that big billing target you’ve set yourself, applying for a promotion as billing manager, or moving to a new sector.  

There are plenty of goal setting ‘formulas’ out there, some of which you may have heard or even tried, such as SMART, which works on the principle of setting goals which are: 

1. Specific,  

2. Measurable,  

3. Agreed Upon,  

4. Realistic, and  

5. Time Sensitive.  

While SMART is probably the best known of them all, it’s not the only goal setting framework out there—far from it. Because no magic formula works for everyone, it can be helpful for recruiters to keep abreast of some of the other goal-setting strategies out there.  




The one we’ll be talking about today is OKR’s, which originated at Intel, got taken up by Google, and is now used by companies like LinkedIn, Twitter, and lots of other heavy hitters. So it’s safe to say that there’s something in it! 


What are OKRs? 

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results. It may not be the most thrilling of titles, but just like the title, the simplicity of this strategy is what helps it to work.  

How does it work? 

Your objective should be big; it should be bold, it should scare you a little. It doesn’t even matter if it might not be achievable—it’s the dream that every effort goes towards. You might want to stick with one objective, but you could pick three to five. (Objectives might be things like ‘become top biller in my sector’, ‘become a subject matter expert in my industry’ , ‘triple my network’ etc.) 

Your key results, on the other hand, must be achievable, time specific, and intensely measurable. This is how you’ll know you’re making progress towards the big objective- that’s why they’re called ‘Key RESULTS’ and not ‘Key TASKS’. 

You should pick 3-5 key results, and review them at least every quarter.  

Let’s take an example of a big, bold OKR that might be relevant to you. 




Your Objective 

To become the top biller in your company within 12 months. 

Your Key Results: (how you’ll know you’re making progress!) 

1. Make 200 more calls each month 

2. Add 10 passive, high-quality candidates to talent pipeline each month 

3. Post 100% of roles on social media 

4. Post 3 pieces of relevant, engaging content on social media per week to grow followers 

5. Attend two networking events per month and gather 20 relevant business cards. 

a. Sit down to score your progress. Because you’ve chosen such easily measurable key results, it’s straightforward to see how you’re meeting your goals. If you wanted to make 200 calls but only made 150, your score is 75%. Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect score: 70% is considered pretty excellent in the world of big bold OKRs! In fact, if you’re hitting 75% or more across the board it’s probably a sign you need to aim higher.


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Some tips for setting and ticking off OKRs

a. Make sure the goals have a specific deadline attached, woolly goals are rarely reached. 

b. Make sure they’re written down. 

c. Make sure they’re broken down into the smallest possible tasks. (Don’t just write ‘build network’- write how many followers/contacts/networking events you’ll reach.  

d. Always review what you’re doing today in light of your OKR’s. Does it move you forward? If not, why are you doing it?  

e. Celebrate the wins! Reward yourself, with a massage, a night out- whatever makes you feel good. 

f. Share your OKRs with others in the team to keep you accountable. 

When you finish your quarterly OKR’s and have scored them, it’s time to start a new cycle, amending your key results to suit the changing circumstances. With time, you should reach your Objectives and have to change them too! You’ll be top biller before you know it.  


Until next time,  


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