Tips on scaling up your recruitment business (part two)

Tips on Scaling up your Recruitment Business (part two)


The second biggest challenge recruitment business owners experience is when they decide to appoint a manager and relinquish direct control of their sales team.

This can be a challenging and extremely stressful time, like leaving someone else to bring up one of your children. Many of us who have gone through this process are keen to not be controlling like the managers we have worked for in the past and give our new appointees the freedom to manage in their own style but at the same time if the sales go backwards this can be very worrying.

Typically many directors and business owners fail at their first attempt at this.

Often this is because the new manager has not been prepared for the role. They have received no training and frequently there is an assumption on the part of the owner/director that if the owner could do it then the manager can too.

This is the most common mistake I see as a coach. Sadly this is rarely the case, as often the new manager does not have the same abilities, drive, passion and commitment to the role as the owner/director.

In addition owners and directors do not recognize that their role has changed as well. They have a tendency to step back totally from running the business without properly preparing their manager.

The first step to resolving this situation is to understand that your role as the owner/director has changed from being the team manager of business to being a coach yourself. Like modern sport managers who have themselves become coaches, Warren Gatland, Eddie Jones, Arsene Wenger, Pep Guardiola, Jorgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino are all coaches first and foremost and you too must be a coach too.

You may find it helpful to accept that your role is to guide your new protégé through their first few months. They are likely to be very inexperienced and do not know all the challenges of managing your business. Very often they do not initially think like a manager but as a consultant. They too make the mistake of assuming their consultants think and see the world like they do. So everyone is learning.

As the owner/director you still need to keep a handle on the businesses KPIs but instead of intervening directly you have to work with your manager to make the corrective actions. It may help to have them analyse the KPIs themselves and come to you with the conclusions so you together can decide what challenges need addressing and discuss a corrective action plan.

Often I run workshops with newly appointed managers and directors where we have the managers’ review the key performance figures of the business. In the most recent workshop managers and team leaders came to the session with the following data:

Best Quarter Ever (X date till Y date) Last Quarter Last 30 Days
CV Sends
Total Sales £
Average Fee £


By making the comparisons themselves prior to the session, in every case the managers were able to self-diagnose their issues and self-correct their teams performance by making adjustments to where their teams focus needed to be.

Each manager then conducted the implementation of the corrective actions after the workshop with their team members. Not every manager succeeded in getting the desired response from every member of their team but that is another story.

The secret as a director/owner is to work through your managers and to have your managers ask the questions that you would do. The skill is to ask the right questions, often these will be rhetorical and designed to get the manager to analyse the business KPIs themselves.

Clearly if you do not record this sort of information historically you will find this approach more challenging but the principle remains the same.

Investing in some coaching training for yourself and perhaps your managers is essential if you want to transition this period with minimal impact upon your businesses bottom line. Coaching is about guiding the other person. The GROW coaching model is a great starting point. This breaks the coaching down into four elements:

  1. Goal   – Agree with your manager the outcomes you wish to achieve. What does “good look like”.
  2. Reality           – investigate with your manager through asking questions to understand where the business is and what are the issues.
  3. Options – explore with permissive language patterns what options the manager has to remedy the issues. It is helpful to avoid “telling” the manager what to do.
  4. Way forward – Use SMART goals to gain commitment and ALWAYS have your manager write them down. People are 65% likely to commit to them.


A good lesson to remember as the owner/director is that delegation is not abdication. By that I mean you are still responsible for directing the business though you are now responsible for managing through another person.

You need to continue to think for your manager as well as anticipate the problems and pitfalls that they are not aware of. It is rare that businesses owners can recruit a highly experienced manager from outside the company who can transition into this role with minimal impact on the performance.

Typically businesses promote from within and often the first port of call is your top biller who sadly may not necessarily have the qualities and attributes to manage.

It is extremely rare for newly appointed managers to be successful without themselves receiving training in the basic fundamentals of management. We at the Recruitment Training Group, offer a four-to-five day future leaders training programme.

Our courses are bespoke but typically cover what we all regard as the bear essentials a new manager needs:

  • Leader Behaviour: Focus on            Self-awareness and development: Introduction to leadership – An assessment of current leadership style, appraisal of style, and identification of tools and processes to assist them with improvement in style to become a more effective leader.
  • 2 Leader Performance: Focus on delivering results: Developing Performance – measuring performance, assessment of where managers are now and how they want to develop and how they want to develop their teams. Also Time Management – A Key part of a billing managers role is to become experts at managing their own time and that of their teams. We explore this and help guys develop and implement their own framework.
  • 3 Team Performance: Focus on team deliverables and behaviour: Input/Outputs – what needs to be achieved, agreeing targets, minimum standards, competencies and KPI’s, activities – behaviours – results. Communication and motivation, how to give feedback, constructively discuss difficult subjects, managing under performance, clarification of what under performance is related to competencies and KPIs.  Team building stages and Developing Team Talent. Team Meetings – purpose, inputs/outputs, frequency, agenda, chairing meetings
  • 4 Leading High Performing Teams: Focus on alignment, responsiveness and adaptability to change: Inspirational Leadership, Team Values, Aligning Team Vision with Company Objectives, Strategic Planning, Agreeing Strategic Team Goals aligned to shared Vision and Values, Targets, KPI’s and Competencies and Monitoring Tools. Leading Teams through Rapid Development/Growth, responding to internal and external factors and driving change through the business.  Types and stages of change, helping others adapt.  The Leadership skills needed for identifying the need for and defining the nature of change and managing change.
  • 5 People Development Focus on Developing Individuals: The benefits of nurturing talent – systematic approach to people development, identifying skills’ gaps, selecting the right way to develop someone, identifying individual learning styles. Coaching: the benefits of coaching, what is it, structuring a coaching session; coaching techniques and skills
  • 6 Resourcing for Teams Focus on selecting the right people: Hiring the best – competency based interviewing, UK Legislative Framework, Ensuring Recruitment ‘Best Practice’ process, Hiring and on-boarding.

We will also work on an action plan for delegates to take back to your desks to aid effective implementation.

Whatever route you choose there are trainers and coaches out there that can help you and I would encourage you to find one and work with them as you grow your business.

The extra cost of an experienced coach/trainer is rarely more than one permanent placement or 10% of your monthly temp/contract GP. The cost of failure is often 10-20 times that amount so it is usually money well spent.



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