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My Present to all Recruitment Leaders for Christmas!

My Present to all Recruitment Leaders for Christmas!

Written by James Osborne

Last edited May 3, 2023

My Present to all Recruitment Leaders for Christmas!

Door 22 of our #TRN Advent Calendar is our Chairman, James Osborne, with his Present to all Recruitment Leaders for Christmas!As we close out on 2017 and start looking forward to the New Year, this tends to be an ideal time for us to reflect on where the biggest wins and losses have come from this year, the lessons learned and accordingly where we should be gearing up our focus for 2018.


… and whilst the world seems to be a very different place from 12 months ago with all that has gone on in 2017, I’m not sure this year will be particularly different from any other year with regards to the core principles that are needed to thrive and survive over the next 12 months. So, this is my one P.R.E.S.E.N.T. to all recruitment leaders, 6 core principles to focus on now to close out the year…

Present for Recruiters


The so-called War for Talent is not exclusive to the markets within which we recruit. It affects us as directly when it comes to us trying to source talent for our own businesses and for some this year, the inability to find great talent has held them back significantly from achieving their growth plans. With over 9,000 new recruitment businesses registered in 2017, the war will be even more hard fought in the new year as agencies battle to secure the best consultants and resourcers in the market to support their evolution.


Whilst we here at The Recruitment Network have a number of very exciting initiatives to launch in the new year to help our members source the best talent in the market, it is critical that recruitment organisations do all they can at the same time to hold on to their existing talent. This is where the concept of Purpose comes in to play.

Purpose is about creating a deep rooted reason for being as an organisation, something that will capture the hearts and minds of your staff to want to go above and beyond what is typically required of them.

We have worked hard with many of our members this year to get this right – if you are not sure what this looks like, the following two videos from thought leaders Simon Sinek and Dan Pink should trigger your thinking:

Question to think about over your first mince pie: what is it that really motivates and engages your workforce?



I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at Louise Triance’s UK Recruiter End of Year Conference a few weeks ago where we discussed the UK and Global economy in relation to its impact on the recruitment sector today and tomorrow.


It was agreed that whilst we are currently experiencing a period of what economists refer to as VUCA (volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) there are many reasons for recruiters to be optimistic about the future BUT we had to be realistic about the conditions we are working in (economically, socially, politically etc.) to ensure we can capitalise on the opportunities that do lay ahead.

One of the speakers at one of our recent members Huddles, Mark Pollock (a Northern Irish adventurer, athlete, rower, author and international motivational speaker who became the first blind man to race to the South Pole) talks about the importance of adding realism into any sense of optimism to ensure you deal with the facts, as highlighted by the Stockdale Principle experienced by Prisoners of War:

Question to think about over your second mince pie: what is currently happening today that will impact your market tomorrow?



We have spent a lot of the year talking about this with recruitment leaders, debating how we can ensure that every component of our businesses, every process, tool, system and strategy behind everything we do is producing the maximum return on investment based on the amount of effort that we are putting in.


I ran a session back in November with a group of recruitment team leaders and mid-tier recruitment managers as part of our Trailblazer programme, comparing the philosophies around marginal gains brought to Team Sky (cycling) by Sir Dave Brailsford to recruitment leaders making their teams more efficient, more effective, fit for real purpose in 2018.

The principal of improving small components of every single part of your business by a mere 1% is simple but the outputs can be exponential when added together. Watch the short interview below between The Recruitment Network expert speaker Jeff Grout and Sir Dave Brailsford discussing Marginal Gains:

Question to think about over your third mince pie: where are the tweaks in performance you can make across your business to gear you up for 2018?



Consolidation will be a big driver of success in 2018 for many businesses as many seek to lock in and secure their existing client base and strengthen their ability to generate MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) and consistency of billings from their current customers.


The concept of Land and Expand, deep account penetration, can often lack strategic focus for many organisations and that is just wrong! Maximising the relationships you have and ensuring you are increasing market share across your top tier clients at the very minimum (we refer to these as the As and Bs) is the simplest ways to create a more stable flow of revenue and even more importantly, profitability.

You can find some simple ideas around this online at the free recruitment video dashboard REX.


Rex Dashboard


Blank Months, where any one or more of your team doesn’t generate revenue in any one month, should be an obsessive target to minimise for any recruitment leader. The fluctuations of revenue these feast or famine cycles create can have a crippling effect on a business’ ability to forecast and plan properly.

Question to think about over your fourth mince pie: how much market share are we missing out on from our top 20% of clients?



One thing is clear about the evolution of technology in the recruitment sector, in particular AI (Artificial Intelligence) this is not about robots taking over the industry, but instead enhancing and improving how the industry works, how recruiters work faster, with more agility, more objectivity and work with greater efficiency.


If recruiters embrace AI technology, and wrap it in personalised, deeply human consultancy skills, then they will have a very secure and fruitful future. If we fight against what is clearly evolving at a breakneck pace, then we will be left behind. It stands to reason.

Customer and Candidate experience can be augmented by tech, but cannot be replaced by it. We brought in guest expert Geoff Ramm to talk to our members about how to deliver Celebrity Service earlier this year and coupled with our unique online Customer Experience Toolkit you can literally transform the experience your candidates and clients receive and in return the volume of referrals, repeat business and testimonials you receive.

Hear from Geoff about Christina’s story as an example:

Question to think about over your fifth mince pie: are you and your team delivering a celebrity level of service across every touchpoint and moment of truth?



Less than 15 months ago we launched The Recruitment Network Club as a way of bringing leaders of recruitment business together to work collaboratively and support each other alongside our panel of advisors and thought leaders to enable each other maximise their growth aspirations and outperform the market.


We didn’t know if it would work to be honest simply because we didn’t know if there was a good enough appetite amongst recruitment leaders to share best practice amongst their peers and in some cases, competitors.

As we close out our year at The Recruitment Network HQ we have seen that the power of peer collaboration, controlled networking, is transformational for many recruitment businesses. Our members have recorded best ever months and years throughout 2017 and are geared up to enjoy further growth in 2018.

We don’t really take any credit for this – we just provide the right environment, tools, insights, advisors and training to make it all work. In reality it is down to the quality of our membership and the willingness to network effectively to challenge and be challenged. This is why the club has grown at such an unprecedented rate so far and why we are able to take the member offering to a whole new level in 2018.

If you don’t know what it is like to work closely with other recruitment leaders in this type of environment, take a look at this:

Question to think about over your sixth mince pie: how are you benchmarking your business against what other agencies doing to ensure you are maximising your opportunity?


Time Out

2017 has been an immense year and personally, my team and I have worked very hard to create something that makes a real difference to our customers. We are very proud of what we have achieved, have fallen ever deeper in love with the recruitment industry and are extremely excited by what we have planned for 2018. But right now is the time to take some quality time out of the day-to-day, do a bit of positive reflection, recharge the batteries and celebrate…. because we all deserve it.


Have a very Merry Christmas and here’s to your best year yet in recruitment in 2018!


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