How to effectively run and manage a recruitment business

I am not going to pertain to know all the answers. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but I’ve learnt from them and tried not to make them again. Here’s what I’ve learnt about effectively running and managing a recruitment business

First and foremost, I have surrounded myself with a team of first class professionals. The people that you work with and that you can rely upon are absolutely key to your success. I favour the Jack Welch school of hiring — surround yourself with people that are better than you if you really want your business to flourish.

For me, having a streamlined, not overly staffed back office and administration support is essential. Competent staff can do the job of 4 people and having a CFO, Office Manager, Marketing, and PA that I can rely on means that we stay small and nimble and can move quickly when tough situations are thrown at us.

Communication is also key. I’ve met many peers in this industry, and some of them were fantastic fee earners who rose the ranks of recruitment without ever being given formal management and communication training.

This leads to difficulties when you are growing the business, because if you cannot communicate your messages clearly it will lead to delays and potentially poor output and delivery, and that will hamper the direction you are trying to take the firm in.

Tips for management

For me, running a recruitment company, dealing with a lot of very strong characters in different countries, one of the most important things to have is real clarity of strategy and a clear direction. The simpler you can keep your messages and strategy, the more buy in you will get.

Transparency is a word I use a lot. I have always involved all the staff in the process and I am open with them about how the company is doing financially, where we spend our money and where we are growing — this also leads to buy in, because everyone knows where they stand and where we are heading.

We are constantly looking at training and improvement at all levels, and for a firm of our size we put a big budget into L&D for our staff. This increases engagement within the staff.

Finally, make your staff feel like the company is growing and be open about your strategy. People like to feel that they work at a progressive firm.

Tips for managing a highly engaged team of recruiters

Firstly, you must have a competitive commission scheme, even if it means you take less profit. I’ve seen too many business owners care more about their own dividends than what their key earners are taking home and I think that is a mistake. If people feel they are not getting a fair share, then they will leave.

At GRM we spend a lot of time with the staff, making sure we understand their personal goals and the career path they wish to take — so that we can build around them. Don’t keep people down, if they want to grow, let them

Anything that helps managers be better managers and get better results out of their teams

As mentioned before, for me it is all about transparency & honesty — even if its negative feedback. Your people need to know where they are, where they are going and what is happening around them. If you treat people like adults they will return with loyalty and engagement.


Rob Green

Rob is the CEO of GRMSearch and has been with the company since its launch in 2013. He is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the group as well as operational oversight of the Hong Kong, Australia, Japan and Johannesburg offices.

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  1. Brian Kent
    Brian Kent says:

    “I am not going to pertain to know all the answers”

    Gosh Rob – You have managed to ‘fail’ in your very first sentence…………. !