Join "the Recruitment Coach" Mark Whitby as he and his guests unpack the secrets of what it takes to be a profitable and long-lived professional in the recruitment industry.
How to Improve Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Your Recruitment Process, with Jo Major
Most recruiters say that Equity, Diversity and Inclusion is important but haven’t actually updated their recruitment process accordingly. There’s a big difference between talking about ED&I and making a real commitment to implement it.
This is why a lot of the discussion around this topic is performative while in reality the candidate shortlists recruiters are presenting to clients are largely made up of the “usual suspects.”
In this challenging episode, it was my pleasure to interview a prominent champion of ED&I, Jo Major. Jo brings 22 years of recruitment industry experience and founded Diversity in Recruitment because of her drive to get ED&I on the agenda of recruitment teams. She believes recruiters can influence and lead the change needed to tackle underrepresentation in UK employment.
Through training and advice, she helps recruiters get to grips with ED&I and gives them the insight, tools, and confidence to attract diverse talent, make their processes equitable and accessible, and recruit inclusively and confidently partner with their clients and hiring managers.
Jo believes that a candidate's identity, background, and circumstances should never be the reason they don't make it into the recruitment process. If you are on the quest of helping your candidates, clients, and your own team, to align with ED&I principles, Jo’s insights and practical advice will be of help to you.
Episode Outline and Highlights
[04:37] ED&I - Jo’s insights on its importance to the recruitment industry. [08:17] What motivated Jo to focus on training instead of recruiting? [13:1]1 How impostor syndrome affected Jo when starting her business. [18:18] How Diversity in Recruitment supports recruitment businesses. [23:05] Jo discusses the “Performative Tickbox Exercise.” [27:58] How can recruiters support their clients in inclusive, accessible, and equitable hiring? [34:57] How can recruiters make a difference in the area of ED&I? [38:37] Why ED&I complements a retained solution for clients. [46:04] The critical role of equity in making the recruitment process more inclusive. [49:01] How job descriptions can include points of ‘de-selection’. [53:10] The most essential steps on ED&I from a recruitment standpoint. [59:25] Can ED&I only be afforded by big recruitment companies?
How Diversity in Recruitment Supports Recruitment Businesses
Jo’s two decades of recruitment industry experience gives her a valuable perspective on how diversity, inclusion, and equity should be aligned with the profession of recruitment. She also has a strong drive and passion for this topic.
This was the motivation behind launching her training business, Diversity in Recruitment. How does her organization support recruitment firms to include ED&I in their agenda? “I tend to take a training and advisory approach rather than a consultancy,” stated Jo. “I am a massive fan of module learning - bite-sized accessible training rather than days and days talking about new concepts to recruiters.” Below are some ways in which they can help recruitment businesses:
Understanding what is diversity and inclusion in the recruitment setting. Understanding unconscious bias, hiring habits, and preferences. Practical steps on how to make recruitment accessible and equitable and inclusive. How to attract under-represented talent. How to package your job differently from the way that you have always done. Turning marketing strategy to engage candidates not currently on your network. Moving away from the cookie-cutter approach. Looking at how to have conversations with clients.
ED&I - Is Making a Difference Really Worth It?
Let’s face it - making a difference can be challenging and overwhelming, especially for smaller businesses. In an environment where recruitment businesses have targets and placements to meet, the task of embedding ED&I in the core of their businesses can seem enormous. So you may ask, is it worth under
Meet The Recruiter Who Survived And Thrived Through Four Recessions, with Gail Audibert
Many recruiters are feeling anxious about the economy. Are you concerned about how a slowdown might affect your billings in 2023?
My special guest, Gail Audibert, has been a recruiter since 1984 and has survived four recessions. In this episode, Gail shares the steps she took in previous downturns to protect her business and achieve consistent, predictable billings.
Gail is a member of the Pinnacle Society and remains one of the top recruiters in the country while only working 20 hours per week. In this interview, she reveals how she designed her business around her family and her secrets to working less and making more.
Gail launched Gail Audibert Associates in 1988, specializing in Commercial Insurance. She’s the VP of the Pinnacle Society and President-elect for 2023. She’s a former president of the National Insurance Recruiting Association and its current education chair. She also served on the Board of the Connecticut Association of Personnel Services for close to 20 years.
Episode Outline and Highlights
[02:37] Why getting fired from her first sales job was a blessing in disguise. [07:05] How Gail built a successful business while putting her family first. [13:34] Key differentiators and success factors. [19:52] Doing well during a recession. [27:06] Gail’s strategy for winning RPO business that pays a monthly retainer. [31:23] Mindset and strategies to thrive in tough times. [34:42] The value of joining industry associations and attending events. [40:21] Identifying opportunities to offer an RPO model. [50:16] Insights on dealing with talent acquisition. [53:23] Gail’s non-negotiables when working with clients.
Designing Her Business Around Her Family
Given Gail’s career longevity and success in recruitment, it would be easy to assume that she had been working really hard with long hours, making sacrifices for her business and profession. On the contrary, Gail considers it her success that she is able to build her business around her family. She leveraged the flexibility of our industry to raise her family and be there for every sick day, snow day, and other activity of her children. She never let her work to-do list get in the way.
Gail works 20 to 25 hours a week and still manages to be really productive. “I don’t think I waste a lot of time on things that are unnecessary.” That includes positions that she isn’t confident of filling … “If I think that it is unplaceable, I just drop it. I call the company and tell them ‘this isn’t going to fly’.” Gail also believes that this job should get easier over time because you know more people, explaining “I have a very strong database of candidates or people that I know that makes it easier.”
Gail went on and also shared her success factors - making her a consistent top producer and becoming an esteemed member of the Pinnacle Society. Some takeaways are as follows:
Building relationships and a strong network in her niche. Understanding the benefits of industry associations. Mindset, attitude and accountability.
How to Sell Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)
Gail revealed that one of her secrets to survive and thrive during a recession. She explained how she pitched an RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) business model to some of her clients. She structured this in a way that was truly a win-win. It was extremely beneficial for her clients’ cashflow while giving Gail predictable revenue during a downturn.
During slow economic times, many recruiters drop their rates. Gail didn’t reduce her fees but instead let her clients spread out the payments over a longer timeframe. That reduced the up-front cost of recruiting for her clients, enabling them to continue hiring. This was a solution that her client’s CFO loved and gave Gail steady cash-flow as well.
Gail still offers an RPO business model - but only if she firmly believes that thi
Recruitment Mistakes #5: Doing Everything Manually Instead of Leveraging Automation, with Mark Whitby and Leanne Jones Hunt
When Leanne ran her own recruitment business, she managed to claw back 25 hours of her time PER WEEK by implementing automation strategies and hiring 4 offshore virtual assistants.
When was the last time you reviewed your full recruiting process and identified the recurring tasks? Are you still manually using spreadsheets and doing everything manually?
Doing everything manually instead of leveraging automation is costing you precious time and constraining your growth. In this episode, we will share the top three benefits of leveraging automation, parts of your business you can automate, and the do’s and don’ts when running automated campaigns.
Episodes Outline and Highlights
[01:16] The downside of doing everything manually instead of leveraging automation. [02:40] Three benefits of automation based on our own experience. [09:17] Automation should not replace the human touch or personalized approach. [13:25] What parts of your business can you automate? [15:04] Do you have a consistent nurturing process for your clients and candidate leads? [18:20] Steps you can take now. [21:21] The Dont’s - automation mistakes that cost you sales and reputation. [28:33] Tips on creating a personalized feel when writing messages for automation. [30:00] Preview of our next episode.
The 3 Big Reasons Why You Need to Leverage Automation
In our experience, these are the three reasons why you need to leverage automation ASAP:
Save time - Leanne personally implemented automation in her business and saved 25 hours per week! Although it did not happen overnight, it was absolutely worth it.
Better client and candidate experience - This is counter-intuitive but the time you save by automating certain tasks allows you to provide a more personalized customer. A smooth end-to-end experience for the clients and candidates also increases the probability of repeat business.
Automation is key in getting off the feast and famine roller coaster - Automation helps with keeping your sales pipeline full even when you’re busy delivering on current assignments. It enables you to have both your candidate sourcing and business development machines running on autopilot in the background.
We are not saying that automation replaces the more personalized approach when dealing with clients and candidates - picking up the phone, making personalized video messages, and other activities that provide that essential human touch. What automation actually gives you is time to be more personalized as it allows you to invest time in the right areas of your business.
What Can You Automate in Your Recruitment Business
The easiest place to start with by looking at your current recruitment process. What are the repetitive tasks that could potentially be automated?
Recruiting / candidate outreach Business development / client outreach Marketing / lead nurture campaigns
You can start by writing all the steps in your sourcing and recruiting process and look at which of those steps you could leverage automation.
Keep in mind that this is not an email broadcast. These are smaller, highly targeted and personalized campaigns that feel like a one-to-one message.
Automation Errors That Cost You Sales and Damage Your Reputation
We’re big believers in the power of automation to grow your business. Having said that, automation done incorrectly can have negative consequences.
Here are two common mistakes to avoid when creating automated campaigns. These tasks need to be done manually either by you or a member of your team:
Make sure you’re targeting the right people!
It sounds obvious, but it’s a complete waste of time sending messages to people who aren’t relevant. It’s essential to inspect the recipient list and confirm that they are relevant recipients before hitting send. Don’t rely completely on automation and get carried away to the point
Personalized Service as a Success Factor in Recruitment Business Growth, with Frido Diepeveen
If you believe in providing personalized customer service, you’ll love my interview with Frido Diepeveen.
In this episode, Frido shared his wealth of experience from 17 years in recruitment and how his Dutch-Hungarian upbringing influenced his service-oriented approach toward his clients and candidates.
Born in the Netherlands, Frido trained as a lawyer before discovering his true passion in recruitment and executive search in 2005. That’s when he joined a recruitment firm and helped the founder grow to 55 employees before selling it to Randstad in 2010.
After the transaction, he remained on the board as Commercial Director and helped the new owner achieve 20-30% year-on-year growth. He stayed with Randstad until 2018 when he decided to start a new recruitment firm from scratch.
Frido is now the MD of Diepeveen & Partners, a boutique search firm with a team of 15 based in Budapest, Hungary, and serving clients in North America and Europe.
Episode Outline and Highlights
[04:49] What inspired Frido to change careers from banking to recruitment? [14:30] Key lessons that Frido gained from his first recruitment job. [17:25] How Frido defines “personalized service.” [24:13] How to handle candidates you can’t help and those you can’t place right away. [28:49] Frido’s insights on cultural sensitivity when dealing with key stakeholders. [31:32] Success factors in rapidly growing a recruitment business. [39:50] Can you position your firm to recruit at all levels, from junior positions right up to senior leadership roles? [43:05] How Frido has grown a boutique search firm from scratch to a team of 15 [52:16] Outsourcing to Hungary - how Frido provides candidate sourcing and recruiting services to other recruitment companies around the world Loving the Recruitment Profession
Before becoming a recruiter, Frido worked in banking - first as an in-house counsel and then in a commercial role as an account manager. It was in 2005 that he found his true calling as a recruitment professional. In 2005 he was asked to join a recruitment firm in a start-up phase, called ProfiPower. Founded by Dutch-Hungarian entrepreneur Ilonka Jankovich, he later became an equity partner and they were able to build the business into a market-leading recruitment firm in Hungary. Prior to selling it to Randstad in 2010, they had a team of 55 employees! What were the factors that led to such rapid growth? Frido shared two factors:
Service Orientation - they stick to the principle of delivering personalized service. The Dutch way of being straightforward - doing what you say and saying what you do.
What Does Delivering a Personalized Service Look Like?
How does Frido define personalized service? Pretty much all recruitment firms will say that they offer personalized service to their customers.
Fido explained their approach, “Many of my clients have become personal friends over the years… Being personal to me means that you should not see an assignment as one of the many but you should consider it as a unique job that you are so lucky to get to work on.”
Frido elaborated on his commitment to client service. For example, he always meets his clients in person regardless of where they’re located. That involves lots of international travel. Why bother jumping on a plane to see a client when he could meet on Zoom or Teams? He explained how his mindset on personalized service builds chemistry and long-term relationships with his clients and candidates which eventually results to repeat business.
Quality Over Quantity
In 2018, Frido started his own recruitment firm from scratch - Diepeveen & Partners International. He leveraged his experience and learnings from his previous organizations. His own firm is rooted in the solid philosophy of quality comes before quantity. This philosophy not only guides the organization on the services they provide to their clients but on how they handle their own employees
How to Self-Destruct a $4M Search Firm and Re-Build on Stronger Foundations, with Mark Phillips
Imagine building a search firm from scratch to $4M in billings. An incredible achievement, right? Now imagine that same business suddenly imploding from 14 team members down to just one. How would you bounce back from such a devastating loss? Would you have the heart and will to rebuild?
This is the story of my special guest, Mark Phillips. Mark is the founder and CEO of HireEducation and in this interview, he shares his journey with unflinching honesty and self-reflection. He takes ownership of the behaviours and decisions that led to the decline of the business. Based on the lessons he learned from both his successes and failures, Mark is rebuilding his business and himself - this time on stronger foundations.
Mark got into recruiting in the late 90s and has specialized in the Education Technology industry since 2006. He launched his firm HireEducation in 2010 and by 2019 he built it into a $4M per year business. That same year, he faced his biggest challenge. You will now hear what he’s doing differently to build an even more successful business that he enjoys a whole lot more.
Episode Outline and Highlights
[02:34] How Mark knows our mutual friend, Jordan Rayboy. [04:38] Thoughts on recruiters as non-conformists. [12:47] How to build trust with people quickly. [25:26] Growing a firm from nothing to a $4m annual run rate. [40:41] The value of hiring someone to do the things you’re not good at. [44:23] Overcoming a massive upheaval in 2019. [52:40] Learning from hindsight - Mark’s retrospect on his most significant challenges led to him rebuilding his firm. [1:06:15] Mark’s core value in rebuilding his team. [1:09:40] What is now being done differently in Mark’s second version of his business? Building From Scratch to a $4M Annual Run Rate
Mark shared the key success factors that contributed to growing a $4m search firm in 9 years. There were a number of challenges they needed to overcome which anyone growing a recruitment businesses will relate to. The two biggest success factors were:
Market mastery - having an organized approach to his market. Hiring in 3’s - as it takes the same amount to train 3 people as it does to train 1 person. Hire Someone to Manage You
Another significant success factor that Mark mentioned is the value of hiring an assistant. Mark’s longest serving employee, Katie, was originally hired as his assistant and has contributed so much and developed her leadership skills to the point that she was recently promoted to CEO.
What is the added value of his assistant? “Operational details are not my strong suit. I am acknowledging that. When I hired Katie back in 2014, I said ‘your first job is to manage me and your second job is to manage my inbox.’” This actually makes a lot of sense. In our coaching group, we emphasize the value of hiring someone, like a virtual assistant, that can support you on administrative tasks or operational undertakings while you focus on your business’ vision and income-generating tasks. This is how Mark puts it, “Having somebody that I trusted operationally was really key from getting from $1M to $4M.”
Extreme Ownership: Improving Your Results Requires You to Own Your Mistakes
In 2019, Mark’s business imploded, shrinking from 14 people back down to 1. That was a really rough experience for Mark which led to a lot of soul-searching and shifts in personal and business focus. At the height of their success, Mark was really stressed and not sleeping well due to significant issues from his working environment. Due to cultural misalignment, a rift developed between Mark and some of his key employees who he had brought on and promoted to Partner level. Ultimately, this led Mark and his top billers to part ways, which snowballed into losing almost his entire team. It was a truly heartbreaking experience.
In retrospect, Mark is able to analyze the situation and identify his own role in the dec
Values-Driven Leadership: How to Grow a Search Firm to 7-Figures in One Year, With David Fleming
It always fascinates me to hear stories of recruitment business owners who succeed despite the most challenging circumstances. My special guest, David Fleming, shares an astounding story of both personal resilience and recruitment success.
David is the Managing Partner of Acuity Partners, the search brand from Stanton House. David established the business this year and is already on track for a 7 figure Net Fee Income in their first full year. Acuity Partners delivers leadership searches for C-Suite and Director level mandates within technology-led businesses and investors. David has 25 years of experience in recruitment and has run multi-million-pound P&L managing teams of over 100 consultants.
In this episode, David shares how having a set of clear values embedded in each team member plays a vital role in their success. Also, you will hear David’s story of resilience and how it influenced the way he leads his team and how it moved him to prioritize taking care of their mental health.
Episode Outline and Highlights
[02:04] How David got started in recruitment. [08:21] From 3 to 8 people in 8 months: FOUR key factors for rapid growth. [17:23] The role of curiosity in delivering insight and market intelligence to customers. [27:30] Can a young person without extensive commercial experience be successful in executive search? [36:06] David talks about Acuity’s values and their impact on performance. [42:22] One of David’s greatest achievements as a fee earner. [47:06] Excellent customer experience: bringing value to your clients and helping people without expecting anything in return. [54:27] Discussion on mental health in the recruitment industry. David shares his journey. [1:00:03] Acuity’s “Empathy Series”. [1:02:50] What is next for Acuity? Four Key Factors for Rapid Growth
When David started Acuity Partners in February this year, their vision is crystal clear: To enable individuals and businesses to outperform by relentlessly connecting brilliant people. Starting with 3 staff, they now have 8 people in their team and are on track to reach 7 figures in net fee income. What is the secret sauce leading up to this success? He gave four factors:
Building a business out of a successful business. His 25 years of recruiting experience with two recruitment businesses enabled him to have a network and client base. As the executive search brand of Stanton House, they are able to build on the philosophies and values of their sister company.
Developing Expertise - they build deep and narrow expertise on the market they are supporting, which is the growth market.
Customer Experience - delivering excellent customer experience gives them referrals, picking up business by osmosis.
Unique Value Proposition - they focus on building a proposition tailored to their market.
Values that Influence Success
David also shared the values that drive their culture and underpin their search methodology. He revealed how their recruiters embody the values and how it motivates them to be curious and interested in their clients. Here is the outline of the values he shared:
Relentless - “Today's customers expect a search firm to deliver a result... We are committed to doing what it takes to find the global skills for each role.”
Incisive - “I believe consultants must work hard enough to have an opinion, saying you are an expert in search is not enough anymore, you have to be able to challenge a customer on their thinking, and what can be achieved through the hire to add value and earn your fee.”
Humble - “Our business is very low ego. We have no hierarchy. We aim to adapt processes to our clients, especially when working with customers who are entering new markets where there is little precedence on roles to work from. Ideas that inform progress must come from everyone.”
Taking Care of Mental Health
David just had their second child when he started with Sta
One of the most celebrated recruitment coaches sits down with the heaviest hitters in the industry, asking educated questions, and getting to the bottom of what made them successful. It’s both entertaining and inspiring.
Mark’s podcast has changed the way I approach work and my perception of the recruitment industry.
Trust me — it’s good stuff. Tune in!
Massive Value of Excellent Recruiting Info for Any Level Recruiter
I am so glad I found this podcast. Mark’s guests are accomplished Recruiters who go in-depth about how they started in the profession and how they launched their own businesses. A lot of useful information is packed into a 1 hour show. From thoughts on different business models, to which tech stacks they use, training and development they have been through and much more. Mark is an excellent interviewer. He asks questions any recruiter would want to know and he asks follow up questions for clarification. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull over to jot down notes! GREAT podcast!
Best rec show ever
I’ve been doing tech rec on the agency side for five years and obviously still have much to learn. Among all podcasts I’m following done by fellow recruiters in the community, Mark’s is undoubtedly #1 in my rank. He always has been able to ask insightful questions to brilliant guests he’s invited on the show.