12 Recruiting Life Hacks from Stacy Donovan Zapar

Merriam-Webster defines a life hack as “a usually simple and clever tip or technique for accomplishing some familiar task more easily and efficiently.” During Lever’s Talent Innovation Summit last week, Stacy Donovan Zapar shared her favorite life hacks to recruit faster and more efficiently.

1. Bucket reqs

Stacy says most career sites have an 80-90 percent bounce rate—meaning candidates come to your career site, don’t see a role they’re interested in, and leave. If you don’t know who they are, you can’t reach out about future opportunities. Instead of losing these candidates, gather some information from them, such as a resume or LinkedIn profile link. Lever user tip: This is a great way to build your database of candidates, which can be resurfaced later through Lever Nurture Recommendations.

2. No more email water torture

You could spend all day checking your email inbox each time a message comes in, or you can review your emails all at once and it won’t take as long. Email is very distracting, causing you to lose focus on other tasks. Instead, Stacy suggests you close email and only check it at the top of the hour. Consider doing the same for phone notifications.

3. Calendar “chunking”

Add blocks of time into your calendar to complete your daily tasks, like sourcing, phone screen outreach, phone screens, and hiring manager meetings. Stacy likes to focus on candidate sourcing first, to make sure she has candidates for hiring manager meetings later. She also reminds us to include a lunch break for much-needed recharging time. Play around with your own schedule until you find one that works best for you.

4. OneTab for sourcing

If you’re a “tab junkie” who opens up multiple candidate profile links while you source, this life hack is for you. Use a browser extension called OneTab. It will zap all of your open tabs into a single one so you can re-open each tab as you’re ready to review it.

5. Jiminy Cricket resume reviews

Do you ever leave a intake meeting with a hiring manager and feel unclear on what, exactly, they’re looking for in a candidate? Source candidates ahead of time and bring their resumes for the hiring manager to review out loud. You can learn a lot about their idiosyncrasies and get to know what they like and don’t like.

6. Tree ring sourcing

When you’re sourcing candidates, Stacy suggests starting narrow and working your way out. Use a Boolean AND operator for both required and desired skills, and use a small search radius. It’s better to nurture the right candidate from the start than it is to mass message 500 “maybe” candidates in hopes that something sticks. Remove requirements as needed until you find the right candidates.

7. Email patterns

If you found the perfect candidate, but aren’t sure how to contact them, there’s a quick way to find anyone’s email address in less than two minutes. Work emails tend to follow a pattern, like, or To find the pattern, create this string using the company’s URL: “contact OR email * * company”. To get you started, Stacy has graciously shared the spreadsheet she uses to track work email patterns.

8. The three step

If candidates aren’t getting back to you, Stacy recommends a three step outreach process. First, send a short, sweet, and conversational initial outreach. A few days later, follow up to let the candidate know the team is interested in speaking with them, and that you’d hate for them to miss the bus. Last, send a note to say “thanks anyway, and please stay in touch.” Using this method, Stacy has seen an 85 percent candidate response rate.

9. Phone contacts

How do you know when to pick up your phone and when to send the caller to voicemail? Add candidates and hiring managers to your contacts. That way, you don’t miss call when you want to talk to someone, and you don’t pick up if you don’t have an update handy. Tag them in your phone so you can quickly go through contacts each month and delete those you no longer need to store.

10. The magic question

At the end of every interview, ask, “Is there anything that didn’t come up today that would be important for me to know?” Stacy says this question is like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso—it makes people tell the truth. You can find out important information, such as employee awards your candidates have received, or pending offers they need to decide on.

11. Friday feedback blitz

Stacy says a day to recruiters is like a week to candidates. Rather than making candidates agonize about their status throughout the entire weekend, she suggests reaching out to each of them every Friday with a quick update. This helps your candidates stay engaged in your recruitment process.

12. Blackhole buster

How many candidates’ resumes fall into a black hole? Before closing out a role in your applicant tracking system, send an update to every candidate who did not receive a phone interview. Thank them for applying, offer to connect on LinkedIn and make introductions, and share links to job search resources. This helps you create a positive candidate experience, build your brand, create forever fans, and grow your network in a targeted way.

See Stacy’s full presentation below, and dive into the video recordings from our Talent Innovation Summit to hear from leaders like Cirque du Soleil’s Xavier Poulin Gladu and Matt Charney.