A Missing Piece In Most Recruiting Firms' Success

recruiting recruitment staffing May 18, 2022

Most recruiting firm owners and leaders are dissatisfied with their results. They're making money but believe they can do better if they only knew how. Their previous attempts to grow and scale haven't worked as hoped. After a few failed attempts to grow and scale, many gave up even though they wished their success wasn't primarily dependent on their own production. 

Based on my research and experience, 95+ percent of recruiting firms get stuck at the 2-5 employee level. A small percentage of these reach 10-12 employees before their growth stops. Why is that? One reason is that much of what makes you a productive recruiter gets in the way of scaling. Productive recruiters predominately focus on the day-to-day tactical issues that are urgent and important (closest to the money). They tend to resist anything that gets in the way of these urgent and important tasks. Examples include sourcing and recruiting, business development, account management, closing deals, etc. 

Urgent and important tasks involve working in your business instead of on your business. Certainly, when you run a small recruiting firm, most of your time needs to be spent working in your business. Unfortunately, focusing on the day-to-day urgencies can become a habit that consumes you. You then have little time and energy to work on the strategic tasks that move your business to the next level. Examples of "strategic/working on your business" tasks include improving processes, learning how to hire the right people, and learning the best practices to lead and manage these people.   

Can you relate to the above challenge? If you don't develop the habit of regularly investing time to work on your business, where do you think your business will be six months from now?  How about a year from now?  How about 3 years from now? Most recruiting firm owners and leaders realize the truth of this situation. But, their good intentions to invest regular time working on their business usually falls by the wayside when the reality of making placements comes calling.  

This is why most recruiting firms experience rapid growth initially and then get stuck at the same level of revenue and staff indefinitely. Their revenue may fluctuate yearly, but it's basically flat when you plot it on a chart over several years. They try to solve the same problems repeatedly but can never scale. After multiple frustrating attempts, many give up and accept the reality of always being dependent upon their own production for their success and income. 

I realize that carving out time from your busy day will initially seem uncomfortable for you. Your mind will tell you, "I need to deal with the issues right in front of me. I can't afford to take my eye off the ball right now." The good news is that if you commit to investing a small amount of time each day (even if 15 minutes at first) to develop this habit, it will become easier and easier for you. You may start to look forward to this time and as it becomes a habit and wonder why you weren't doing this all along! 

The nature of the habits determines the quality of our lives. Years of research demonstrate that the most successful people may appear extremely disciplined but that's rarely the case.  They simply have success habits that they automatically perform every day. What looks like willpower and discipline are really habits they've developed.  Ultimately, willpower is not sustainable, but habits are. 

Would you be willing to hang in there to be uncomfortable to take small steps that gradually become bigger as you build momentum? Your answer to this question will have a significant impact on your future. 

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