Recruitment’s No1 Rated Advisor, Award winning NED, Founder RDLC & RecCeleRated, Accurately opinionated champion of the Recruitment Sector. Passionate advocate of innovation & change. Tennis, Golf & Laughing.
Recruitment is facing its biggest challenge: shifting from bums on seats to consultancy. This is not evolution, but revolution, and as a business leader, you need to embrace where the market’s going and adapt to Business 3.0.
We’re not the only ones going through this transition. Everyone’s having to compete online and adjust to modern customer needs. The point is figuring out what this looks like for recruitment.
In order to innovate, don’t listen to old hacks (we don’t). They offer nothing to recruiters and only end up giving themselves a pat on the back. Instead, think outside the box, learn from allforward-thinking companies and build genuine solutions to customer issues…
Don’t focus on the past
There’s very little we can learn from other people’s stories in recruitment. In fact, as far as the Pirates are concerned, hearing how someone got a Porsche after six months of trading (10 years ago!) doesn’t excite our members – that’s just LinkedIn fodder.
That’s why Dean and I have always championed the aggressively disruptive, regardless of industry. We get it. Business leaders who lean upon academic theory and blend that into their practice are useful – not dinosaurs unfamiliar with today’s challenges.
Look to the business anthropologists, web psychologists, automation experts and futurologists. These guys are saying the things that reallychange the way you work. And I guarantee that your competition won’t be identifying these trends till much later.
Challenge the theory
Success in recruitment doesn’t equate to the number of business books you’ve read. At RDLC, we expose the often contradictory theories and debunk the myths that overcomplicate them. It’s also important for leaders to recognise useful ideas outside of their sphere, gaining a clear understanding of actionable insights in the wider world of business.
We want to see individuals transform ideas they’ve come across and use them as a springboard for success. In fact, this approach to learning is exactly the style we encourage and highlight at our Global Recruitment Summit in Ibiza. The themes we cover there match movements in our members’ businesses. It’s designed to help the network embrace change and self-regulate.
None of the above means that our members aren’t innovative on their own accord. In fact, many recruiters don’t give themselves enough credit for their forward-thinking approach. We’re already successful cash cows with a meritocratic structure. We now need to keep seeking business betterment.
And that comes from networking. Organisations want recruiters in the room because we’re agile and do things right. Recruitment business leaders can add value to other networks and gain insights from them to impact their company.
Email email@example.com to start taking notes from the movers and shakers in all sectors – and see why RDLC is the only network to support you at every stage of your business growth.
Successful business leaders don’t need complete oversight of the operation. But your vision, value and voice do need to be seen in all decisions across the company.
Combined, these things form your personal brand: the perception others have of you. It’s all about how you act, how you stand out from the crowd, and how you make clients see why they should choose you over a competitor – both online and offline.
While most daily choices can be decided by gut instinct, the general direction of your organisation needs to embrace your personal brand. The trick is achieving a balance atevery stageof your journey as a recruitment business leader.
In the beginning, you trade based on your own values, experiences and motives. You’ll describe them to others and that’ll be the basis of your personal brand. But even before you get staff on board, you needto understand your position.
You’re pissing in the wind if you think people will listen to a podcast or webinar of you saying the same thing as everyone else – it has to resonate and be unique.
Don’t speak in public unless you’ve got an audience who wants to hear it (your mum doesn’t count). Once you’ve got an idea worth taking note of, see it through. Don’t start waxing lyrical about an idea you’re not committed to. Try to get a sense of you across, and be authentic.
Building the business
When you start working onthe business rather than init, you’ll need to act as the glue holding the operation together. Who else will attract talent and take the lead?
As staff start handling the day-to-day aspects of your role, personal brand works to sustain the business instead of growing it. It reminds people whythey work for you, and for clients with you.
Keep being disruptive. Everyone’s personal brand is unique, and your business needs to follow suit. People aren’t going to buy from you if you’re an industry echo chamber. Play around with alternate ideas and have fun.
As you consider an exit, make sure the succession layers are equipped to fill that void. The company can’t rely on you. Yeah, you’ve got to be a leader and drive progress, but if you’re the celebrity of the business, it devalues the organisation when you leave.
There comes a point when you need to be magnanimous and take a step back – without throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Want to avoid getting trapped in an earnout? Plan for each stage and keep your personal brand as rooted in the operation as possible. Make sure your sentiment can be found in your service offerings, marketing, and even in the personal brands of those you lead. The more ingrained those principles are within the organisation, the more self-sufficient it is.
Your personal brand should be versatile, changing as your business grows. If you need support in translating your values and getting them to permeate your company, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
GG: Recruitment’s No1 rated advisor. Founder of The RDLC & RecCeleRated Networks. Accurately Opinionated. Tennis, Golf & Banter. “Always be owed a favour not a fiver” NED & Business Driver
If you have seen Split, you will know all about the power of personality - multiple ones too. But in recruitment, all you need is one good one.
If you Google the personality traits that recruiters need, you will be met with dozens of articles saying you need things like resilience, grit, honesty, resourcefulness, and empathy. This is all very unfortunate considering how long the waiting list is for people in need of personality transplants.
Your company’s personality as recruiters is critical to your business success. But, your personality is what you have been dealt. Yes, it can be enhanced, and you can improve on the traits that you supposedly ‘need’ to be a better recruiter. But, someone who is a logical, reason-based thinker doesn’t suddenly become an empathy-based and emotional decision maker overnight. Your inability to suddenly change aspects of your personality doesn’t mean you can’t be a great recruiter. The most important thing to remember when it comes to personality and recruitment is to HAVE ONE.
Differentiate your company by being yourself
We have already spoken about the importance of the human face of your business to help you obtain the best candidates. Almost two-thirds (61%) of job candidates would rather in-person interviews than digital recruitment methods. If you want to bring them on board, they need to get you. What can your company offer them that other recruiters can’t? What makes you the best choice? What are your business values?
There is no better way to portray this than through your company’s personality, which should trickle down throughout the rest of your company. It should be your unique selling point - the thing that makes you different. Most people have others that like them, and some that don’t. Maybe they find them too bold, too timid, or too dull. It’s the same with your recruitment company, but by showing your personality, you can guarantee at least some will like you, and a lot will reallylike your company.
This makes you the go-to recruiter for those candidates that share your values and ways of working. Recruitment isn’t Pokémon. You can’t catch them all, which means the candidates you do connect with, need to be worth your company’s time, and you, theirs. Making your personality your unique selling point means that the best candidates for your business come to you. Once they do, you will be able to relate to them, get the most out of them, and understand what they want much easier.
Be sure of who you are
In a changing industry, that is becoming more focused on technology, recruiters are too eager to increase productivity, efficiency, and everything else that can get them better profits. But they are beginning to neglect the fundamental human face of recruitment. Big mistake.
When you need your company to be relatable online, or on social media, and be approachable to new candidates, how will you distinguish yourself in a saturated market with a dead business persona? The answer is simple; you won’t. Personality is essential when meeting people face-to-face, as well as online, and your brand needs to be consistent, not like a scene from Split. A charming business leader in real life needs to be just as lovely online otherwise one of those situations is going to look fake and forced. There go your likability and candidates.
These are just small factors that agencies need to consider if they want to give themselves a winning edge. Personality is critical, but it’s not about what personality you have, it’s whether you have one at all and whether your clients can see it and relate to it. If they can, you are creating a business that is sure of itself and will prosper in this industry. If you don’t have the best business personality, it’s time to do what you do best, and hire someone that does to work for you.
Now is the perfect time to start turning your business into a brand that you are at the centre of, contact Gary: email@example.com
How do we inspire people to be superhuman at work? Short of buying them a cape, spandex and a steroid injection, the answer may be unclear at first. That’s why held a themed super lunch event earlier this year, putting Psychology at Work in the spotlight. We’ve pulled together a five-strong speaker list from all walks of corporate life, to help you understand how to get the best from your team.
Here’s a snapshot of the key reasons why psychology at work matters.
Happiness = hard work
Happy people make money, but happiness comes in many guises. Everyone wants to be inspired, but not everyone is motivated in the same way. Successful leaders understand this. They create an environment that lends itself to all kinds of personalities in a team.
There’s a lot of talk about work-life balance, although in our experience people who are motivated at work won’t look for early finishes and more holidays – they actually put more hours and energy into your business.
That’s why it pays to get savvy on psychology at work. You need to boil that word – ‘happiness’ – down to its true meaning to both your organisation as a whole and the people within it.
People engage differently
One style of leadership won’t work for all. Nail down your approach to distinct personality types, and you can motivate and empower any team. Equally, you’ll be able to recognise when employees are struggling and under strain so you can make a change.
People respond to pressure in different ways. Some people have a competitive streak, others prefer to be a team player. Some are driven by incentives, while others take a longer view of their career goals.
Leaders with a grasp of psychology can engage with employees in a way that gets buy-in and loyalty from day one. They can profile people they bring on board, help them get the right start in the business, and then give them room and enough challenges to excel.
Everyone needs a common goal
Individuality is great, but let’s not get carried away. Ultimately, everyone has to be working to a common goal. People need to understand exactly what is expected of them and why you’ve hired them in the first place.
A competent team should come to work buzzing, not stressed. A common goal gives people purpose in what can be a high-pressure environment. Communicate targets in the right way and they’ll be seen as challenges, not problems.
Surround these targets with structure, consistency and support, and your people will thrive. If not, they might not be right for your business, and then the focus should shift to the way you go about your own recruitment…
My 16-year-old recently started a psychology group at boarding school. Her friends get together and talk about derangement, strange motivations, and 'potentially' criminal ambition. Which are all traits, you might say, that a teenager is familiar with.
But one subject got me thinking more than I usually do.
She mentioned The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson’s wildly popular piece of cod-psychology, and said that much of his argument can’t be proven. A brain isn’t 100% psycho. The weirder, less empathic parts of our minds don’t rule how we think. They can be tamed and, sometimes, let loose.
This is especially true when leading a business. Psychopathy has negative connotations, but also positive ones – success, focus, a willingness to do more than most of society can deal with.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading. This is the first part of a series on why being a bit of a psychopath isn’t bad for business, but often beneficial. Let’s start with the research…
The condition is everywhere
So how many of us are psychopathic? The general consensusis: 1% of the population. Amongst violent offenders, men are three times more likely than women to be considered a psychopath. Pretty much all of us are on the spectrum though.
How much these symptoms manifest depends on both our genetics and the environment we grew up in. It’s even possible to tell whether we have more psychopathic traits than someone else from a brain scan. Neurology, family and culture all play a role in where we fall on the scale.
You may be wondering what ‘being a psychopath’ means. The most common aspects are:
Take a look at that list again… To me, it sums up a whole lot of business aptitude. Taking risks where others fear to tread. Being strong-willed and savvy. Knowing what people want, in regards to you or what you provide.
Embracing the psychopath inside of us can be a killer (forgive the pun) professional tactic. We don’t have to be Christian Bale wielding an axe. Or even Katie Hopkins. But we can be forthright about harnessing the sides of our mentality that, in so many cases, help us succeed in the world.
Where business and psychopathy unite
Look, we live in a capitalist system. For good or ill, that’s the way of things. If you aren’t the best, you will fail.
A psychopath would probably tell you that they never fail. It’s not in their DNA. So shouldn’t we focus on how their predilections – self-certainty, commitment to a task, being able to leave emotions at the door – can reward us sometimes? It’s so much truer to life than the ‘everyone wins, everyone gets a Participation Award’ nonsense that many business cultures go for.
The recruitment sector is full of pointless backslapping and nervous leadership. I’ve seen this far too much. And it’s damaging, because it doesn’t prepare a team for the hard knocks they’ll have to take. Remember – you are the individual who sets the moral compass. ‘Taking part’ doesn’t count for anything. We shouldn’t tell those we work with to be flaky, lazy, charmless or neurotic. Steer the psychopath inside, and you’ll learn to push an organisation to its peak. All it takes is a little behavioural step sideways…
There’s so much more to say about this. In my next article, I’ll be exploring how we can tame the beast within. Because I don’t want you to be a raging maniac – far from it. I only want you to see what psychopaths can teach us about making powerful decisions. As my daughter says, “Calm your psycho, Dad.” Cheeky thing!
If you believe me when I say I’m not Norman Bates in a tie, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more business advice.
A lot of people I work with can’t wait to have a business where they don’t have to go in on a Friday. “At what point can I start to ease off?” they ask. My heart sinks: recruiters with this mentality are never going to move beyond a lifestyle business.
Building a legacy gets harder, not easier. But it should also get more rewarding at every milestone. After all, if you don’t enjoy your business more than everyone else put together, why on earth would people come and work for you?
So, let me dedicate the final part of my Lifestyle or Legacy trilogy to the importance of keeping up momentum, and why you’ll reap the rewards if you remain passionate and committed to the vision you started out with…
Leading by example
In recruitment, if you’re not moving forwards, you’re going backwards. You simply can’t afford to cruise when things are heading in the right direction. As a leader, you have to set the tone: be thoroughly immersed in the business, enjoy it, and work just as hard as everyone else.
Bosses that put in half the hours and earn five times more than their team quickly begin to see cracks in the infrastructure - loss of loyalty, higher churn rates, and a culture that moves away from the brand values the company started out with.
The best bosses are the first amongst equals. They sit amongst everyone, not locked away in a glass room. When the going gets tough, they are prepared to muck in. Most of all, they remain accountable, not pinning the success and failure of the business on others within it.
If you start coming into work at 10am and leaving at 4pm, others will quickly follow suit. Or worse - you’ll be exited from your own business. You have to be a role model, always leading by example. And the further up the food chain you get, the harder this is.
Working on (not in) the business
I don’t know any CEOs of FTSE 100 companies who don’t work 7 days a week, thrive on 4-5 hours sleep, and travel around the planet to be everywhere they need to be. That’s the gig. You can’t just expect it to happen.
But what about Richard Branson, you say? Sure, he may be sat in a hammock, but don’t tell me the guy isn’t still working ridiculously hard. The difference is that your role changes as your business grows. Instead of being the main breadwinner, you become the spiritual leader of the brand - working on the business instead of in it.
In time your responsibility should shift to learning (and eventually outsourcing) other areas of your business that require just as must focus as the day to day. Finance, marketing, HR… in order to keep the business going, you have to have your fingers in a thousand pies.
Building something you’re proud of
This might sound like a lot of hard work, but the truth is that if you’re doing something you love, and building something you’re proud of, it doesn’t feel that way. It’s far easier to keep momentum going in a business than building one from scratch.
Watching a company with your name on it make you more money, year on year, is incredibly rewarding. Especially when you’ve created an environment where other people share your passion and work equally hard.
The day we floated I made 27 millionnaires. It’s hard to put that feeling into words. But even before that point, the satisfaction of hearing people use your lines, share your mantra and talk in your tone of voice is insurmountable.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and it’s a glorious thing if you get it right. It also leaves you in a difficult position - if you build a business that you love and are proud of, you probably won’t want to say goodbye. That’s when you know you’ve created a buyable business.
So, in answer to the question “when can I start to ease off?”, you’re asking the wrong thing. Financial freedom and a perfect lifestyle start with understanding what gets you out of bed in a morning. Then use your business as a tool to create a legacy you’ll never want to let go of.
Not quite there yet? Email me email@example.com to start building a future, not an exit plan.
There are 50,000 recruitment agencies in the UK. The last thing the world needs is another one. To rise to the top, you need to bring something clever and genuinely different to the market, and have the balls and brains to make people believe it.
Hopefully Part 1of this series will have given you exactly what you need to ask yourself honestly whether you’ve fallen into the lifestyle trap. But, if you’re wondering how you’re ever going to lead a multi-million-pound business, don’t worry – I’m not going to leave you high and dry.
In Part 2, we’re going to look at how you can get match-fit in order to not only survive, but thrive in the competitive world of recruitment.
Be honest with yourself
As I hinted in my last piece, moving from lifestyle to legacy requires an honest appraisal of two things: your business, and you as its leader.
Question yourself in terms of your fitness to take the business forward:
Are you inspirational? Can you tell a good story? Are you truly believable? Are you consistent? You might have been a top fee-earner in your old job, but that only makes you a good recruiter. A good leaderis always on and they do unselfish work for others to reach a common goal. After all, without a loyal team to lead, you will be lost.
Meanwhile, it’s crucial to make sure you’re not flogging a dead horse with the business idea itself.
What does your business stand for? What are your USPs? Are you doing anything genuinely clever or innovative? Spend some time noting this down so that you have clear answers to these questions. And when reading them back, if you can say ‘so what?’ to any of them, make a change or give up altogether.
Take strength from others
But don’t give up. The journey ahead may look like a mountain, but you won’t be climbing it alone. Take a look around you to understand how you can get help. Nobody is perfect, and no business model is without its flaws. The trick is understanding those flaws and surrounding yourself with people who can help you address them.
Part of this involves getting match-ready as a leader. Business coaches, mentors, networking… all of these can help you evolve from recruiter roots to become a well-rounded entrepreneur. But that doesn’t mean doing it all yourself… Leaders drive businesses by working onthem, not inthem. So learn to delegate, and fast.
Identify your genius – what is it that you are brilliant at? Identify this, and free up your time so you can focus solely on it. By empowering your team and outsourcing to experts – finance, marketing, and the like – every element of your business will benefit from nothing but the best expertise and closest attention.
Recognise and prove a winning formula
When you recognise a winning formula, pile in with energy and resources to get the most from it. Understand where the gap is and make sure everything you think about or deliver is aligned with your value proposition. And, most importantly, make sure you can demonstrate exactly that: value.
If you’re all about customer service, are you measuring it with reviews? If you claim to deliver candidates in the top percentile, how do you prove it? Or perhaps yourpeople are the experts. In which case, how much training are you giving them, and how much exposure are you getting?
Put weight behind your concept and people will begin to believe and buy into the winning formula just as much as you do.
Don’t go stale
The thing about innovation is that it doesn’t stay innovative for long. You may have filled a gap in the market now, but how will you stay different as your competitors cotton on and catch up? To build and sustain a legacy, you need a dashboard to make decisions quickly – and the bravery to not just execute them, but to make a change if it goes wrong.
In theory, lots of things look like they will work, but look quite different in the cold light of day. So don’t persevere for the sake of it – it’s critical to make sure that the business can stand in its own right. If you keep having to prop it up, it will never survive and thrive.
As you grow, you might also reach your own limit to take the business forward. Don’t be frightened to employ someone higher than you. Some of the people in our network have employed CEOs over them in time, and their business has thanked them for it.
In recruitment, you never get to a million-pound business. It’s multi-million or nothing. If you hit a vein of gold, that’s you set for life. That’s why it’s worth putting in the graft to go from lifestyle to legacy, but also why so few leaders and businesses actually reach their potential. It’s survival of the fittest at its finest.
Want to join the ranks of the elite? Stay tuned for Part 3 or, to fast-track your way to the top, email me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on what I bring to the table.
This is Part 1 of three parts:
Part 2: How to lead Multi-million pound business...
Part 3: Keeping Momentum...
People often ask me how to succeed in recruitment; how they can reach the golden horizon at the end of a £10m exit strategy. That’s everyone’s goal, though. The question I’m often asking in my head is: “Are they serious?”
Most of the time a recruiter has parachuted into their business without the vaguest idea of how it should be managed. By the time they realise they’ve landed far from their target, they’re stuck in a lifestyle earner.
And you know what? Most people are happy to have a lifestyle business. At least that’s what they tell themselves. I see a lot of bravery and potential that may be squandered for comfort.
Personally, I’d rather leave a legacy. I’d rather build a huge company where my passion shines through. Deep down – whether you’re starting out on your own or have been active for a number of years – the same feelings will reside in you too.
So join me for a new, three-part series on taking a lifestyle business much further than a cosy pay cheque. In part one, I’ll explain what I mean by this, and how you can prepare to leap over anything holding you back.
Falling into the ‘settling down’ trap
Ah, the rags-to-riches story… It holds sway over so many young recruiters. They’ve worked somewhere as top biller, and done well out of it. They’ve seen their boss trot happily to the bank, having secured tens of thousands in take-home pay each month. The problem? They have gumption, but are lacking the skills to be an entrepreneur straight out of the gate. I like their style, but fear for their leadership credentials.
Let me hit you with a few stats – such as the fact that only 1% of owners leave their recruitment business with any meaningful financial gain. 50% of recruitment startups fall on their arse during their first year; 53% of those are in London. And finally, 67% of owners earn less than they did as top biller in their old firm.
A knowledge gap tends to open up when a recruiter becomes enamoured with the idea of working for themselves. Unfortunately, they fall into it– the full cost of a desk, for example, is one of the things that gets buried in the momentum of their self-belief. Staff costs are more than basic pay. We’re talking hardware, rent, utilities, sick pay, holiday allowance… all the extra expenditure that typically ranges from £5,000-£8,000 a month.
Rigour is another trait that goes missing. The majority of businesses I speak to don’t fully appreciate the value of a cash forecast. 11 out of 12 may not know when their VATs are due. They rely on an accountant or clued-up mate to handle their finances.
Which isn’t good enough, right?
BOOM – suddenly, plans for world domination have been held back. You’re trying to claw back money all of the time. Before you know it, you’re settling for a lifestyle business, not a legacy.
How to break out and do more
However, even if you have succumbed to the lifestyle trap, you are able to change. Like an alcoholic clearing his throat at an AA meeting, the first step to recovery is admitting you were wrong.
My recent series on psychopathy in businessmay give you some tips for a fresh mindset. These articles speak about the importance of an unwavering focus on the culture you lead. Qualities such as strength, tenacity and perseverance will set you up to succeed – which may cut into more of your personal time than you’re used to.
But that’s alright. If you reconcile yourself to doing more than ‘getting by’, your kids and partner will end up with an easier life in the long run.
So my initial advice is to pluck up the courage to say, “I may need some help here.”
Try to answer the following:
What niche are you filling? The last thing the world needs is another all-comer recruitment firm that targets too many sectors at once?
When’s the last time you upgraded your technology, to make processes or lead generation easier?
How are you making your voice heard? And is it being taken seriously? Perhaps it’s time to rethink your marketing if not.
What allows you to measure and forecast growth? Track invoice collection timelines, the number of interviews you lock down, or where staff are being held up internally; chances are you’ll be lacking a key metric.
Defining your story so far is critical to changing its outcome. Imagine you’re a stranger – someone who’s never heard of your company. Convince yourself why the brand exists. Play devil’s advocate, and challenge old assumptions. Speak to other recruiters (the successful ones) and ask them to pitch their business to you. Listen to their story. Then distil your value in a similar, relatable package of qualities and specialisms.
Like Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” When you know what’s coming, by having a support network and a full picture of your business, you’ll take fewer punches. That’s what we do within my community of recruitment leaders – we share ideas and help one another achieve our goals.
I can show you a way into the legacy you deserve. Look out for my second blog, which will tell you how a better form of leadership can be achieved! After all, there’s never been a sounder time than right now to earn big from the recruitment industry…
Contact me at email@example.com to discuss your next step as a recruiter who goes down in the history books.
This is Part 1 of three parts:
Part 3: Keeping Momentum...
Everyone tells you to be niche. Not everyone takes the time to explain what this means or how far you should go in practice. Having strict discipline about your markets is imperative if you want to grow fast, especially as the recruitment sector becomes even more saturated and squeezed.
But while it’s too broad to call yourself a ‘tech recruiter’, you won’t get very far pushing left-handed .net developers in Southport. So where do you strike the balance? It’s not niche - it’s super niche.
Become famous for something and start in a region with plenty of opportunities. Refine your value proposition and internal processes, and you’ll have a scalable model to roll out over and over again.
An element of trust
Generally speaking, people distrust recruiters. To the outside world recruitment agencies are all the same - they bring nothing to the table but a middleman. All recruiters claimto understand the roles they’re talking about, yet credibility is soon lost unless they know their onions.
To understand what ‘good’ looks like for both candidates and clients, specialist knowledge is critical. Only when you’ve invested the time in getting to know your market inside out will you be able to demonstrate what makes you different from every other recruiter.
Niche is at the heart of this. It also involves getting to know people in your space. Trust is built on relationships - you won’t get very far cold-calling candidates saying “I’ve got the perfect job for you!” How could you possiblyknow?
You simply cannot build trust if you’re talking about 15 things to 15 different people. Instead, channel your time into becoming a subject matter expert. That way, you’ll get to know the market and the best players in it - what ‘good’ looks like and where things are heading.
Do this, and you’ll gain an ability to get hold of talent where an algorithm can’t.
The niche multiplier
A recruitment agency with a niche is more than the sum of its parts. When you really hone in on a specialism in a different location, everyone gets to know who you are. You become a trusted agent in a space; as a result, the noise about roles, companies and projects goes bonkers.
What’s more, you have the power to predict the future. If one company is doing something, you can use this intel to ‘insight sell’ to similar organisations. helping them get ahead in their market.
People pay for knowledge. You’ll easily get onto PSLs (if that’s your bag) when you demonstrate the value you bring to a specific area. Equally, PSLs quickly become irrelevant if a recruiter comes to a company with an absolute niche that their current suppliers are unable to match. To be blunt, specialising quashes competition, drives better deals and justifies higher fees.
You only need to look at the Frank Group to see the outstanding multiples being super niche can bring. Despite only really working perm roles, they became the unquestionable leader in the Dynamics arena globally. They chose one area of tech and went at it, region by region.
Frank Group would reach 30-40 people in a region before they even considered the next one, which would be led by the best people in the team. Of course, now they’ve branched out beyond Dynamics and into contract, but they didn’t do this until their first sale event.
In short, you can get to 200-300 people just by doing one thing brilliantly.
Finding your super niche
Niche can make a recruitment agency, but it can just as easily break one if you don’t get that niche right. Too broad - again, like ‘tech recruiter’ - and you risk becoming part of the noise. Too leftfield, and you’ll make life too difficult.
I don’t believe there’s value in being a first-mover in recruitment. Just make sure when the availability of candidates and clients is there, you become the best at it before the market is saturated.
Germany, for example, has no need for more .net recruiters, but an agency specialising in AR devs in Boston would do very well for itself… Investing the time in research is therefore critical before you start piling resources into a niche. If it won’t sustain 50 people, don’t start it.
When going about your research, challenge limiting beliefs. It’s a myth that you need to speak the same language as the country you’re hiring in. And why should you be based in the same location?
He (or she!) who dares wins. Just ensure you’re making informed decisions, not bets.
Looking to develop an absolute niche? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to back the right horse in 2019.
GG: Recruitment’s No1 rated advisor. Founder of The RDLC & RecCeleRated Networks. Accurately Opinionated. Tennis, Golf & Banter. “Always be owed a favour not a fiver” NED & Business Driver
Too many leaders find it difficult to explain themselves clearly and pass on responsibility with confidence. As a result, they end up being the limiter to their own business. It’s a bad coach that says if a job’s worth doing, do it yourself. Why? Because if you skill your people up and delegate early, you’ll make them feel embedded in your business and ultimately build a succession plan.
Here are five tips for doing exactly that:
1. Champion your weakest link
People should play to their strengths in business. But that doesn’t mean abandoning your duty to ensure that everyone in the team becomes a well-rounded recruiter. After all, you’re only as good as the weakest person in the group.
If someone is bad at an aspect of their job, make them champion it. For instance, put the poorest reporter in charge of keeping the board, CRM and reporting 100% accurate. If they do, the team gets a reward. If they fail, it’s on them!
This changes behaviour and brings the average level of competence up to excellent.
2. Train people to train others
It always amazes me how much better people listen when they know they need to pass information on to a peer. So if you’re trying to train somebody, tell them they’re going to train the next person coming through the ranks.
They’ll concentrate, take good notes and make sure they fully understand – no going through the motions. What’s more, it makes your team comfortable with training and coaching from the get go. You only need to be one page ahead to be the fountain of all knowledge.
3. Have as many managers as possible
It’s tempting to pick one leader and back them when looking at succession. However, you’ll get a lot further as a business if you break down your team into agile scrums, with five or six leaders managing a couple of people each. This builds competition and makes it easy to work on multiple tasks and projects at once.
4. Engage every member of the team
While every business needs a management structure, don’t delegate only within the leadership team. If you’re looking to engage staff, make sure the entirety of the group has a role in your success.
Following meetings, for example, break down key tasks. If there are six actions, distribute them amongst six people rather than assigning to one. Let everyone know what you want, when, and the quality level you expect from them – no ambiguity. People will always try to please you, so help them do so by giving very clear direction.
5. Empower people to run with ideas
Some individuals in the business will be more proactive than others when it comes to impressing you. Encourage this, and give the people that come to you with ideas the opportunity to run with them. I wrote recently about the importance of having finishers as well as starters in the business. If you can’t be both as a leader, it’s invaluable to identify people who fill the gaps.
Delegating takes patience, and it may often seem easier to do it yourself. However, if you want to free yourself from day-to-day operations and build a succession plan, you must invest and believe in your team.
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