Uncategorized Archives - I-Intro

Why Even Coronavirus Can Breed Hope for the Future

We’re still in the early days of this crisis, but I already find myself looking ahead and wondering what the new “normal” will look like.

Everyone seems to be clinging to the idea that it’s only a matter of time before things return to the way they were. But I’m convinced, not only that this won’t happen, but that it shouldn’t.

Because, lets be honest…

Before the Coronavirus pandemic came to dominate every facet of our lives, things weren’t that great.

Why are we so eager to return to a world where we argue with our family and neighbours over Brexit…

A world where religion-fuelled hatred spilled over into fights, murder and even war…

A world where our right to make money and spend it how we want, took priority over a planet being systemically destroyed by pollution and deforestation.

A world where we’d become so desensitised to national and global tragedy, we just scrolled quickly through the news headlines like it was a social media feed.

We’re only a couple of months into this global pandemic and it already feels like some things will never, and can never, go back to the way they were.

And maybe that’s for the best.

In fact, if I have any fear over this current situation, it’s that the valuable lessons we’re learning about ourselves, about our families and about our society will be too soon forgotten.

Society has shaped us into believing that success is defined by our bank balance or celebrity status. That the size of our homes, the value of our cars, and the scale of our vacations are the comforts we can cling to while we try to climb to the top of a ladder that only has room for a few.

And perhaps most damaging of all, it’s convinced us that our relationships with friends, business partners, work colleagues and even family should be cushioned with restraint and mistrust, lest we expose ourselves to pain, rejection and disappointment.

This crisis has already put the lie to all of those empty philosophies.

It took only a few weeks, maybe even days, of social isolation to feel the absence of our loved ones. To miss their presence, their embrace, the tangible connection between kindred spirits that no amount of virtual chats can replicate.

And it took even less time to be awed by the sheer volume of people sacrificing their time, their energy and even their health to care for those around them.

Whether it’s the doctors, nurses and care workers remaining at their posts. The supermarket staff and delivery drivers working overtime. The volunteers helping the elderly and vulnerable to get the groceries and medication they need.

Or, in my case, seeing my colleagues embrace remote work and pull together to keep the ship running.

Everywhere we look we see beautiful examples of people doing beautiful and extraordinary things.

To the point where our former suspicions, that these kinds of people where the minority, have been replaced with a new perspective that perhaps there is more good in the populace than we could have possibly imagined.

In decades past, before most of our lifetimes, people could look up at a star-filled sky and the petty worries of the day would fade away to be replaced with questions like…

 “Why are we here?”

“What does it all mean?”

“Are we alone?”

Those pauses in a busy life would create room for reflection, meditation and, yes, spirituality. Thoughts that would add context and perspective to troubled lives.

But these days, with the suffocating effects of light pollution, the magnetic lure of our smartphones, and entire generations of schoolchildren taught the atheistic dogma masquerading as science that we’re all just pointless specks of matter in an infinite universe with no purpose or hope, those questions have been drowned out.

The daily grind of life has left us too busy and cynical to take the time to think about the things that add richness and texture to our existence.

Maybe… just maybe… this current crisis will help us to reclaim some of that space for thoughts and ideas and hopes that transcend even the worst of times.

One of the greatest abilities of mankind is its ability to find beauty, art, love, compassion, and hope, in even the darkest of moments.

Why should this current crisis be any different?

It’s said that a tragedy only remains so if we don’t learn from the experience and grow as a result.

My hope in all this is that, in the midst of our anxieties, our bereavements, our financial losses, we can use this time to reset our brains.

See what really matters.

Appreciate the difference between the trivial and the true essentials of our existence.

Family. Community. Friendship. Spirituality. Self-sacrifice. Love.

We all suspect that, after this crisis ends, the world will never be the same again.

I hope and pray that we’re right.

How would Churchill have helped my recruitment business survive COVID19?

By now you’re most likely self-isolating or at least working from home. The sands beneath your feet are moving ever-so rapidly and you sense you’re on the brink of a mini-meltdown.

Fears for the economy are gently simmering underneath the surface, and you find yourself wondering whether or not that was a real cough or just a dry tickle.

And that’s before you’ve opened your eyes in the morning.

Although it may feel like the world is ending… it really isn’t. So, we wanted to take some solace from people who’ve been there, done that, and earned themselves the ultimate accolade of being turned into a GIF.

Churchill’s strategy to defeat the German opposition was to break down the periphery and open up new fronts. His objective was win peripheral victories and support.

Ring any bells with your recruiter brain!?

After all, opening up new fronts in recruitment is how we stop our pipeline for petering out. Even if you’re a predominantly retained recruiter, there is always room for new business.

So, use this time to have the initial conversations and open up new fronts. Whether clients are hiring or not, you can still build relationships and, ultimately, win support!

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Sir Winston Churchill.

This is the first opportunity in peacetime we have had to truly earn our stripes, to differentiate ourselves and to come out stronger on the other side.

Only the men and women who are willing to enter the arena and put 150% into their business will come out of this; the rest will merely critique their efforts.

Get inside the arena and do anything you can to stay afloat during this period of uncertainty.

You will never regret trying.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…” – Theodore Roosevelt

The world has been turning increasingly digital for years now. Many do all of their shopping online: food, clothes shopping, utility bills, banking, socialising…

We’re in a virtual world 90% of the time and practically everything we do can be streamlined and done more efficiently via the web.

It’s time for the recruitment industry to keep up with the times and go digital in every area they can.

21st Century recruitment utilises multiple levels of scientific, objective and technological methods for selection and assessment. If your recruitment is stuck in the 20th Century, vending CVs, merely adding video is not sufficient to improve the overall process.

At i-intro® we enable 21st Century recruitment to ensure that recruiters can deliver efficient recruitment processes to employers. Which right now is more important than ever.

Remote working options may well remain for a while after the bounce back, and embracing this will be of benefit to every agency. Now is the perfect time to embrace digitising your recruitment process.

“In many recruitment processes the only thing that’s changed in the last 30 years is that CVs are now sent via email and not fax” – Paul Hickey, MD – GrassGreener Group

Whether you’re a one-man-band or you’re leading your team into what feels like a battle, remember that every single person has a unique perspective and can inspire thought and action that we would never have thought of alone.

Talk to one another, open up conversations with people you never thought you’d get the chance to speak to, speak to other agencies, speak to your team.

There is power in unity.

You have the time and opportunity to give your agency some life again and build some great relationships. Stop talking about Coronavirus, stop talking about the trials of working from home and how the world might end, and instead share some positivity.

People don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel; and right now, everyone needs some positivity.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”- Ken Blanchard

We have no time for pessimism. Staying optimistic may be the only tack you have that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Everyone is getting caught up in the drama and the worst-case scenario, but there is no room for strategic thinking and innovation when you’re in that mindset.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama.

What Does Climate Change and the Recruitment Industry Have in Common?

What does climate change and the recruitment industry have in common?

No, that isn’t the start of a joke; I’m being deadly serious.

And the answer to this question has everything to do with your future success in the recruitment industry.

Deniers or Sceptics?

Those who are convinced that climate change is real, and that it’s caused by human activity, label sceptics as “climate change deniers” or even “science deniers”.

This is unfair and unhelpful.

Personally, I believe there’s plenty of evidence to support climate change and the need to act, but I don’t think calling the critics names is helpful.

Scientific progress goes something like this:

1. One person challenges a long-held theory.

2. This person is mocked and labelled a crank.

3. Others study the evidence, recognise the new theory has merit, and lend their vocal support.

4. These persons are mocked and labelled as cranks.

5. More people begin to accept the new evidence and theory until they form the majority.

6. The understanding snowballs until only a minority still hold to the original belief.

7. This minority is mocked and labelled as cranks.

This pattern exists because most people don’t have the time or inclination to study the facts for themselves, so they stick with the general consensus. This doesn’t stop the progress, but it does reduce the speed with which people accept the new reality.

Unsurprisingly, this pattern can be found in every part of human endeavour, and recruitment is no exception.

Recruitment, as a process, has changed dramatically over the last few decades, and strategies have had to change as a result.

But the pattern of progress described above means that recruitment firms who recognise the need for change earlier, have generally performed better, whereas recruitment firms that are reluctant to accept that change is taking place have found business growth a struggle. And some have even gone under.

Whereabouts in the seven-step journey do you think recruitment is right now?

1. One person challenges a long-held theory.

The “long-held theory” in this instance is that contingency – or transactional – recruitment is the best and simplest method to generate profits. And the “one person” is actually several experienced recruiters who believe that employers are tired of the inefficiencies and poor service provided by recruiters and that a more consultative approach is necessary (via retained recruitment and MSPs).

2. This person is mocked and labelled a crank.

Perhaps a slight overstatement – but if you’ve ever read some of the more critical comments on my articles, you’ll know what I’m getting at. For every recruiter that agrees with our stance on the superiority of consultative recruitment over the transactional variety, there are a handful that regard this as a threat to their main business model.

3. Others study the evidence, recognise the new theory has merit, and lend their vocal support.

I, and others like me, have pointed to data published in various studies that indicate that transactional recruitment is falling out of favour. I’ve added to this body of explanation by pointing to additional data that support this interpretation – such as the 96% of our placements that are still in the role after 12 months.

Over 1,000 recruiters have adopted the i-intro® strategy focusing on retained and managed service recruitment, and most have found this approach to be effective. This doesn’t necessarily prove my position beyond all doubt, but it adds to the growing weight of the data.

4. These persons are mocked and labelled as cranks.

More and more recruiters are recognising the importance of developing value-added consultative recruitment services, but they’re still the minority. And, as such, they still get some stick.

We’re still some way off reaching step five, but I believe it’s only a matter of time.

Data is Never Enough

Numbers are good, but they only get you so far. For example, adding to the large body of facts and figures is the Economic Report 2019, produced by the World Employment Confederation.

According to this global study, sales revenue from RPO and MSP services are up 16% and 10% respectively.

In the top five markets combined (USA, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia), direct recruitment makes up 13% of the market (agency work still makes up the lion’s share) and MSPs accounts for 5%.

It’s difficult to make definitive assertions based on this snapshot (from two years ago), but one reasonable interpretation is that RPOs and MSPs are gaining in popularity.

But this is just more of what I’ve been saying for years.

At some point the numbers just become noise and those who are on the fence don’t know what to believe.

Which is why it can take dramatic events to underscore what numbers alone cannot.

For instance, many climate change sceptics who were unmoved by the data, became convinced by the arguments when they saw freak weather events and melting glaciers.

It became harder to question the data interpretation when the predicted changes were all over the news.

It’s hard to imagine something quite so dramatic taking place in the recruitment industry, but it doesn’t mean that significant events aren’t capable of moving people to act. It’s simply that the events will be more localised and more personally felt.

For example…

A good friend of mine has been recruiting for a big company for years. The arrangement is exclusive but still transactional in nature.

Recently, the company put together expansive plans that called for hundreds of new hires over the next few years. To facilitate this, the company has decided they want an MSP, but instead of inviting my friend to set it up, they’ve opened it to tender.

Any recruitment firm that can prove they have the experience and capacity can throw their hat into the ring.

Why didn’t this employer just continue to hire through a contingency contract? The tender invitation document makes it clear – they want an efficient, value-added service with guaranteed levels of employee retention.

It’s very likely that my friend is going to lose this client, and for him personally, this might be his “polar bear on a floating iceberg” moment.

It’s hard to argue against retainers and MSPs eventually dominating the recruitment industry when you’ve just lost a long-term client because they want a service that you don’t currently provide.


There’s one more way in which climate change and the recruitment industry are similar.

Wait and see, is not an option!

Maybe, in a few decades, it will turn out that CO2 isn’t the reason for rising temperatures. But it’s no good doing nothing until we know for certain when definitive proof that it IS the villain in this drama is the extinction of the human race.

The same is true for recruitment.

If you wait and see whether retained recruitment and MSPs are going to kill the contingency market BEFORE you act, you might find that the definitive proof is when you go into administration.

And look at it this way…

Where’s the harm in adding retained and MSP services to your skillset?

If transactional recruitment survives, you’ve still opened up some lucrative business opportunities. And if transactional recruitment dies, you’re well placed to survive the chaos that will result.

What does climate change and the recruitment industry have in common?

Ignoring the signs, and delaying progressive action is to risk extinction!

Most Recruitment Guarantees are Pointless

Imagine for a moment that you’re in the boardroom with a prospect and it’s your job to convince them that they should give you ALL of their vacancies.

What can you say to them that they haven’t already heard before?

Today I’m going to share with you one of the most effective questions you can ask to a prospect to win that retained or MSP recruitment contract you’re chasing after.

When you get this right, you can effectively win the prospect onto your side in that very moment.


Uncomfortable Questions

A popular element of the i-intro® process is teaching recruiters how to create, pitch, win and deliver retainers and MSP contracts.

And a key part of the i-intro® method is to ask the prospect questions that expose the weaknesses in their current strategy, or even the weaknesses in the current contract they have with another recruiter.

The idea is to position yourself, not so much as a recruiter touting for business, but as a consultant who is on the same side as the prospect and in a position to identify and fix inefficiencies and problems in their hiring strategy

There are various questions, depending on the industry and size of the employer, that have powerful effects, but here’s one of my favourites…

Q. What is your attrition rate after 12 months?

A response of “70-80%” is common. Some will claim a retention rate around 90%, but this is unusual and doesn’t tend to hold up to scrutiny. It actually doesn’t matter. The point is to get a baseline figure on the table to work from. It’s what comes next that ignites the powder.

The above question can be followed with a discussion of how retention rates can be improved. The i-intro® method typically delivers 96% retention after 12 months, so this is a good selling point. But that comes later. Here comes the follow-up question…

Q. What is the average length of time before you let a bad hire go?

Unless the prospect has all of the metrics to hand, this is a tricky one to answer with precision. But most can offer up an estimate. A response of “6-9 months” is typical.

If you’re on the ball, you’ll already have guessed what my next question is…

Q. How long is your current recruiter’s money-back or free replacement guarantee?

The response is usually around 3 months, but can be as short as four weeks.

The follow-up questions write themselves…

Q. What is the point of a guarantee that is SHORTER than your average retention period? Wouldn’t it make sense for your recruiter to offer you a policy that is LONGER than your average?

Every prospect, by this point, will understand exactly what you’re getting at. Of COURSE a guarantee policy should be longer than the retention average. Which means their current recruitment rebate policy – or that being offered by a rival recruiter, pitching for the same contract – is pointless.

And then, after helping them identify the problem, I offer to solve it…

What I’m willing to do for you, Mr Prospect, is offer you a 12-month, free replacement policy. This will more than cover your current retention average and ensure that we take on ALL of the risk.

I cannot even begin to tell you how powerful this exchange is.

Outside of i-intro® recruiters, almost NOBODY is offering this. And, frankly, many recruiters, especially the die-hard transactional recruiters, would be AFRAID to offer a free replacement policy of this length.

Even if they KNOW that this is one your core USPs, they won’t have the guts (or at least the maths) to match this.

And your prospect knows this.

This exchange, on its own, can win you business. But it’s just one element in the retained and MSP strategy that i-intro® teaches its clients.

Mitigating the Risk

The chief reason why i-intro® recruiters can offer such extensive replacement policies is because our strategy delivers unusually high retention rates. In the 12 months from a new hire’s start date, retention is in the high 90s. I’ve even seen i-intro® recruiters, on occasion, hitting 100%.

But even then, sometimes I get pushback from recruiters who are nervous about taking on all of the risk.

It’s all very well to offer a free replacement policy of 12 months on a single assignment, but what if I take on an assignment for 100 roles and half of them leave after six months because the client has a toxic workplace?

This is a fair question. And while it’s unlikely for something like this to occur without you being able to pick up on the warning signs during the meetings with your client, if you’re taking on a large volume of assignments it makes sense to consider your financial exposure.

In these instances, you can add some protection to the policy by requiring the client to meet certain quality levels for them to qualify for the 12-month policy.

The approach we recommend is to survey new hires after one month, three months, six months and twelve months, asking them questions about their satisfaction with the role, their manager, company resources, and so on. The employee’s answers are scored on an objective scale and they have to reach a certain level on every survey for the free replacement policy to be valid for that individual.

This drastically reduces the risk of you having to refill a role because of circumstances that are out of your control.

Employer’s rarely complain about this proviso because to do so would be to essentially admit that they don’t properly care for and manage their workforce. In fact, if the employer does object, this should be a massive red flag that this prospect might be a “problem client” in waiting.

On the other hand, the smartest employers WELCOME this provision because the results of these surveys can help them identify problem areas in their own business. For example, one i-intro® recruiter operating under an MSP, made good use of these questionnaires and discovered that of the client’s branches was consistently achieving below-par scores. This prompted the client to investigate and resolve some management issues they hadn’t even realised were a problem.

To say the client was grateful is an understatement.

Think about this for a moment.

A provision that helps you mitigate the risk of your free replacement policy is seen as a valuable and welcome element of your overall recruitment service.

This is why this is one of my favourite i-intro® strategies.


Most recruiters that offer guarantees or replacement policies do so because it helps them close deals. It’s a nice line to add to the list of benefits.

It isn’t that recruiters are deliberately offering guarantees they know to be pointless. It simply isn’t given that much thought.

But now you know better.

And once your client’s and prospects know, and can compare these ineffectual offerings to your generous policies, you’re a huge step closer to winning that retained or MSP contract.


If you’d like to know more about what it takes to join us, and gain access to our exclusive recruitment platform and training, BOOK AN ONLINE CONSULTATION.

It’s one-on-one, it’s confidential, there’s no obligation and it’s absolutely free. We do have limited slots however, and it’s first-come, first-served. So please click here to reserve your time slot.

No alt text provided for this image

Why You Should be a Consultant First, and a Recruiter Second

Very few employers would care to admit it, but if you have even just a few years’ experience as a recruiter, you know more about the industry than virtually everyone else.

Being immersed in different verticals, job-seeking platforms, candidate dialogues, contract negotiations, and more, gives you a powerful and in-depth insight into recruitment.

So why don’t your clients and prospects view you as an expert?

It’s probably because of your job title. Let me show you how to fix this…

No Resolutions Please

It’s that time of the year when you’re going to be inundated with clichéd articles and emails, inviting you to set New Year work resolutions, and probably trying to work in some kind of metaphor about the year 2020 being an opportunity to see your future clearly.

You won’t catch me falling back on such lazy ideas just because it’s a new year, which is why I use mixed metaphors and tenuous analogies all year round 🙂

Forget vague resolutions like “make this the most profitable year ever” and “start living your best life”, let’s do something that really matters.

Let’s revolutionise your career by giving up your status as a recruiter.

Your Job Title is Just a Label

Most recruiters describe themselves as a “recruitment consultant”. It’s a fine title. Good for all seasons. It describes what you are in terms that make sense to employers and candidates.

But it doesn’t really mean anything to your clients and prospects.

You could describe yourself as a “recruitment manager”, as a “recruitment specialist”, or a “candidate and employer negotiating guru” and it wouldn’t make a jot of difference.

Unless something changes, employers will see you as one thing and one thing only…

A Candidate Gatekeeper

That’s it.

Employers want candidates. Recruiters have access to candidates. So, employers come to you to get access to those candidates.

You do more than that – a whole lot more – but employers only see recruiters as a necessary go-between to accessing candidates.

How does that make you feel?

Probably not great.

Especially when you consider that, from your perspective, a gatekeeper is a receptionist or an assistant that blocks you from speaking to potential clients.

Receptionists and assistants probably don’t like being thought of as “gatekeepers” either. No one likes to be thought of as just a means to an end. You’re better and more skilled than that. But that perception won’t change unless you make it happen.

Consultant with a lowercase ‘C’

For a transactional recruiter, the relationship with the client is mostly limited to the employer asking you to help them fill a specific role.

And that’s about it.

If you’re smarter than the average recruiter you’ll probably ask for more details to help you locate the right candidates, but convincing the employer to take the time to have a proper discussion is easier said than done.

This is the problem that is wrapped up in your job title.

You’re a consultant in name, but not in practice.

A consultant is supposed to be someone who sits down with their client, reviews their processes and makes recommendations.

Employers don’t want that. They just want some CVs sent over, yesterday if possible.

But is that really true?

I sometimes get pushback from recruiters when I encourage them to move towards consultative recruitment because there’s a perception that employers don’t care and aren’t interested in a better, value-added service.

I believe this is just an assumption.

There will always be some employers who are too narrow-minded to tackle the inefficiencies and weaknesses in their hiring strategies. But in most cases employers don’t ask for more from their recruiters because they don’t know that alternatives exist.

When a client asks you to help them fill a role – especially if it’s a client that you’ve known a while or with whom you have at least some relationship – tell them that you have a new recruitment strategy that you’re rolling out that improves interview-to-hire ratios and employee retention and that you believe they would be an excellent candidate.

Arrange a free consultation, either in person or via a web link.

Notice that this isn’t instead of taking on the role they’ve just offered. No one’s suggesting you should turn work away or damage your existing income streams.

But what happens next will change your relationship with your clients forever.

Question Everything

Once you’ve carved out the time to speak to your client at length about their hiring strategies, you’re not going to waste everyone’s time by delivering a canned speech about how awesome your recruitment firm is, the depth of your networks and the speed of your candidate delivery.

At least for the moment you’re going to put your recruitment hat away and be a consultant.

That means asking questions.

We provide i-intro® clients with comprehensive recruiter training on how to consult with prospects for the purpose of winning retainers and MSP contracts, so what follows is a greatly condensed version.

Q. What is your current process?

Let the client talk as much as possible, aside from pushing them along with helpful questions about how many recruiters they use, how they assess CVs and candidates, what there are expectations are, and so on.

Q. How many people did you recruit in the last 12 months (or what is a typical number)?

You don’t need them to give you absolute precision – a rough figure is fine.

Q. How many – or what percentage – are still in place 12 months later?

Again, a rough figure is sufficient.

Q. How do you feel about those numbers?

This is a key question. They might feel good – most feel bad – about their metrics, but either way you’re getting them to put a central issue on the table. Probe gently with additional questions, tailored to their business type. For example…

·  Are these figures what you expected?

·  Are they higher or lower than your expectations?

·  How did this affect your growth?

·  Did you hit your budgets and targets?

Q. If you had reached or exceeded your targets, how much more could you have achieved?

Whatever comes before, this is a key question to work toward.

Q. If you don’t hit your targets next year, what will be the effect?

This is also a key question. You’re getting the client to think about the problems they’ve experienced, the problems they’ll experience if they don’t change things up, and the potential benefits if they make improvements.

At this point, a lesser recruiter will then introduce their comprehensive, retained recruitment options that can be tailored to the client’s precise needs.


An i-intro® recruiter, however, will keep their consultant hat on for a bit longer and introduce the Recruitment Process Audit tool. This part of the consultation is too involved to go into detail here (book a free consultation to learn more), but suffice to say it’s about taking the client’s own metrics and reviewing them through the filter of an independent study.

This helps to solidify your arguments in an objective fashion and sets you up for a strong close.


Whether or not the consultation results in winning exclusive and/or retained business, the exercise will change the client’s perspective of what you have to offer.

It repositions you from recruiter to consultant. From gatekeeper to expert. From service provider to partner.

And that isn’t a small change.

Instead of being interchangeable with the other recruiters the client transacts with, you’ve set yourself above them because you know – and they know you know – their long-term requirements, their hiring culture, their quirks and their priorities.

Even if the client isn’t prepared to try a new kind of recruitment, you’ve positioned yourself as the person to talk to when they’re ready to do so.

Anyone can call themselves a recruitment consultant, but if you can elevate yourself to the position where your clients view you as a consultant…

This is how you win long-term retainers and MSP contract. Or, at the very least, get your foot in the door.


If you want to know more about how to reposition yourself as a consultant, you can book an online strategy session with me or one of my colleagues.

It’s one-on-one, it’s confidential, there’s no obligation and it’s absolutely free. We do have limited slots however, and it’s first-come, first-served. So please click the link below to reserve your time slot.


For a personalised plan of action for growing your recruitment business, book a FREE CONSULTATION. There’s no obligation and I’ll show you the exact method that only the smartest recruiters are using to command higher fees. CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR FREE CONSULTATION!


No alt text provided for this image

What Joker Can Teach Recruiters About Success

New movie, Joker, is a commercial and critical success, and there’s an important lesson for recruiters locked away in there.

Holy tenuous link to pop culture, Batman!

Professional Integrity is a Joke

In a parallel universe, the Joker is a former recruiter, driven to the edge of madness after selling his soul to win just one more placement.

But that’s another story.

Instead, we’re going to look at how success changes everything… as long as you have the numbers to prove it.

The director of Joker, Todd Phillips (legendary director of… erm… The Hangover), instead of making an action-packed supervillain movie, has created something more akin to an arthouse movie, about one man’s descent into criminal insanity.

Despite the title, Phillips clearly wants this movie to be taken very seriously (and, to be fair, the critics have). Which is why he previously insisted that this is a standalone film, that it has no connection to other DC movies and that there’s no chance of making a sequel.


Lately, Phillips has opened up to the idea of a Joker sequel, hinting that under the right circumstances he would consider it.

What changed?

Well, far be it from me to suggest that I can read the guy’s mind, but it’s possible that it has something to do with… I don’t know… maybe… CHA-CHING!

Arthouse movies aren’t supposed to make lots of money. They’re supposed to be endured by die-hard movie aficionados, win awards and disappear without a trace. But this hasn’t happened with Joker. Instead, it’s managed to be critically successful and HUGELY commercially successful.

And in Hollywood, if a movie makes some serious coin, it’s not a matter of IF you’re going to get a sequel. It’s a matter of WHEN.

We can’t really blame them. If something works and is profitable, of course you’re going to milk it. It’s nice to have creativity and artistic integrity but they don’t pay the bills as reliably as an established property.

So, here’s the question, and therein in the lesson, for recruiters…

Do your clients consider the recruitment work you carry out for them to be a critical and commercial success?
Do your clients consider the recruitment work you carry out for them to be a critical and commercial success?

Because if they do, it’s not a matter of IF your clients will work with you again. It’s a matter of WHEN.

Numbers… Give Me Numbers

What does critical and commercial success look like for a recruiter?

Happy candidates in new roles? Above-average fees? A fat pipeline?

Sounds about right.

But what does critical and commercial success look like from the perspective of an employer?

If you think it’s getting a high-quality employee into the role in a reasonable period of time, you’re seriously misjudging your clients’ perspective.

When an employer hires a recruiter and they fill the vacancy, this is the minimum level of expectation. They don’t know all the skill and hard work you put into the campaign. All they know is that the role is filled and they can now forget all about it and get back to running and developing their business.

You’re an arthouse movie. The client appreciated your service and gave your efforts due attention. But now they’re just glad it’s over and they can get back to something more important.

It isn’t that you haven’t delivered critical and commercial success for your clients.

They simply don’t KNOW that this is what you’ve provided because you haven’t explicitly told them.

If you’re tracking your numbers (and you really should be), you have lots of juicy data to share with your clients that will clue them in to the commercial benefits you’ve provided.

  • How much time did you save the client by your efficient processes?
  • What percentage of candidates did you find by headhunting that your client would never have discovered through job boards?
  • What percentage of your placements are still in their role?
  • How did you overdeliver (perhaps through assisting with onboarding and development plans)?
  • How much money do you predict your client will save over the next 12 months because of your professional recruitment services?

This is not an exhaustive list. And you can probably add to it from unique elements of your service. Either way, don’t assume that your clients know and appreciate all of this information. If your work with them has been a commercial success, make sure you bring it to their attention.

If you want the sequel to your recruitment work to get the green light, make sure ALL of your clients know exactly what you’ve provided them in both the short-term and long-term.


Sometimes doing things differently can be scary.

The recent trend for superhero movies is to be either colourful, fun, action-packed romps, or gritty, dark and self-aware.

Which makes you wonder how Joker ever got made. A standalone piece of misery-porn with no big explosions or epic special effects? Talk about risk.

And yet it worked.

Likewise, if you’ve been doing recruitment a very specific way, for a long time, the thought of taking a risk on a new strategy can be scary. Or, at the very least, overwhelming.

The trick is to start with a small test, measure the results and review. And this is something we can help you with. Follow the link below for a free consultation.


Recruiters Only Get ONE Shot at This

I have to believe that most transactional recruiters don’t intend to stay in that space forever.

Transactional recruitment is a good way to get your foot in the door and establish a presence. But surely no one thinks that hovering just above or below average fees, living month to month, is a good long-term business plan.

But how long are you going to wait to make retained and Managed Service contracts your core offering?

Because there’s a time limit on this.

Not because of the likelihood of an economic downturn or recruitment competition reaching critical mass (although both of those things are factors you should be thinking about), but because of the nature of the recruitment service itself.

I hardly ever hear recruiters talking about this, and I listen to a lot of them.

So, it falls to me. Here’s what you need to know…

Knocking on the Closing Window of Opportunity

There’s nothing like a mixed metaphor to get my creative juices flowing 😉

I’m deadly serious when I say that recruitment opportunities have a time limit on them. But on the plus side this means that, at least for now, the opportunities are there.

I say this to prevent the assumption that this article is going to be all doom and gloom. It isn’t. But I hope that it will serve as a wake-up call.

Here’s how this works…

Retainers and Managed Service Provision (MSP) contracts are the most lucrative areas of permanent recruitment. They currently represent a smaller part of recruitment strategy when compared to transactional recruitment, but that won’t last forever.

Eventually the balance will swing the other way.

But when that happens – and this is what I don’t think a lot of people have figured out – the market for these opportunities is going to shrink. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster.

And the reason for this is staring us in the face.

Retainers and especially MSPs, by their very nature, tie a recruitment firm very closely to the client. If set up properly, recruiter and client become so closely entangled that it would take a lot of time, effort and money to disconnect.

When we teach MSP strategy to our i-intro® clients we refer to this as “liquid cement” because it’s much easier to lock recruiter and employer together than it is to separate them later.

Bottom line…

If there’s a client out there with whom you’d like to someday establish an MSP, don’t wait. Because if another recruiter gets in first, the opportunity has gone. It could be years, or even decades, before that client becomes available again.

It’s Hard to Tell Where Client Ends and Recruiter Begins

If it seems like I’m exaggerating then you might not have looked closely enough at how MSPs work.

 A MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDER contract usually takes the form of a commitment to completely manage a company’s recruitment requirements. In addition to regular recruitment processes, this can also include reporting, tracking, on-boarding, development planning and long-term scheduling.

This model is also sometimes referred to as RECRUITMENT PROCESS OUTSOURCING (RPO). The only real difference is that a firm providing an MSP function may not be a recruiter, in which case finding a suitable specialist will be part of their responsibilities.

An MSP, by design, draws the recruiter closer to the client. Instead of just finding candidates, the recruiter is involved with almost every stage of an employee’s life-cycle. This can include…

·  Helping clients plan their short-term and long-term hiring requirements.

·  Planning and implementing branding and PR as part of the recruitment campaigns.

·  Finding and assessing candidates.

·  Assisting with candidate interviews and decision-making.

·  Organising new hire on-boarding and long-term development.

·  Managing exit interviews.

MSPs are a full-fat service, which is why they are generally considered to be the most lucrative type of recruitment available (they usually include a monthly retainer either on top or, or subtracted from, commissions).

But this also means, that within just a few months, the recruiter is so closely aligned with the employer, that it would take little short of a seismic shift before the client would even consider starting over with a new recruiter.

Can you see what I’m getting at?

There are a finite number of employers who are a good fit for an MSP contract. And once they’re signed to a recruitment firm, they’re off the market, maybe for good.

This isn’t like a PSL where the employer periodically reviews their providers and invites new firms to pitch. MSPs are on a whole new level.

If you thought running into a PSL when you’re looking for new business is frustrating, think about how it will feel when you know a client is perfect for you, but they’re already locked into a long-term MSP that they won’t even CONSIDER reviewing for at least the next few years.

First-Mover Advantage is Critical

The market for MSPs and retainers, right now, is huge. But it absolutely won’t stay that way.

And when the preference for stable, long-term relationships with a single recruiter becomes the dominant force, that culture is going to grow at an exponential rate.

Right now, the transactional recruitment market is not entirely dissimilar to the energy supply market. Switching to whichever provider has the best price and/or perks is easy for the consumers.

But there’s a time limit on this. Retainers and MSPs will eventually become the norm. So why wait until the market begins to shrink to start locking down your clients?

MSPs or strategically and financially beneficial for employers and recruiters, and at the time of writing, opportunities abound.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have all the time in the world.

How Recruiters Can Help Employers Combat Rising Costs

Earlier this year, the British Chambers of Commerce surveyed 900 businesses.

Almost three-quarters claimed that the employment cost burden had risen, compared with five years ago.

And a third said that the cost burden had increased significantly!

Most recruiters hate this kind of news because it’s usually followed by a dip in demand for their services or, at the very least, a demand for a reduction in recruitment fees.

But I don’t think like most recruiters.

I see this differently.

I see this as an opportunity to bring into the spotlight the powerful assistance that the best recruiters can bring.

All you have to do is ask your prospects and clients these questions…

1. Do you feel that the cost burden of employment has increased over the last few years?

That’s right. There’s no need to dodge the issue. Get it out into the open and discuss it.

Your prospects aren’t forced to bring it up because they probably assume it’s irrelevant to your work and interests. So, ask them the question and show some empathy.

It’s too easy for employers to assume that recruiters are good for nothing more than hoovering up candidates. By intelligently discussing their business needs and challenges in a holistic fashion, you position yourself as your job title rightly should – a Consultant.

Identifying a prospect’s pain points and showing them your solutions is a basic marketing and sales strategy. But you don’t need to limit this to pain points around recruitment. Your impact on your clients’ business goes way beyond helping them find people to interview.

The quality of the people you place and the efficient manner in which you do it has a ripple effect across the short-term and long-term development of your clients’ business. 

Demonstrate your understanding of the challenges that businesses face and be empathetic about their specific problems, and you raise the perception of your expertise and experience.

2. How do you think the increase in employment costs has affected your business?

We’re not done with this topic yet.

You’ve brought up a key pain point and now it’s time to agitate it a little.

If the prospect doesn’t have any specific understanding about how this is affecting the firm beyond the need to generate more profits – raise the subject of training and development. Explain that some firms are feeling compelled to reduce investment in this area and that this has a potential knock-on effect on the abilities of their staff and even their retention rate.

3. Do you think retention rate is the responsibility of the employer or the recruiter?

I can almost guarantee that the prospect will say “both”. It’s the most reasonable answer that doesn’t put them entirely on the hook or imply that they have unrealistic expectations about what a recruiter can provide.

But whatever answer they give, you now have an opportunity to introduce one of your key benefits.

Explain that you believe the bulk of the burden should fall on the recruiter because, in your experience, the most critical factor is the quality of the hire. Your justification for this belief is that, while many employers have a retention rate around 70-80% after 12 months, YOUR clients have a retention rate of 96% (this is our figure – but if you’re hitting anything above 90% this is still going to sound impressive).

This is also a good place to introduce the free replacement policies you offer to back-up these numbers.

4. How big an impact do you think a bad hire has on your employment costs?

 You can expect a “don’t know” here, or an estimate that is wildly off the mark.

But even if they have a fair understanding of the true cost of a bad hire, you now have a great opportunity to wow your prospect by showing them specific figures and a calculation of their costs based on their own estimates.

We use a custom calculator for this purpose. I’ve discussed this in a previous article.

There’s nothing like hard numbers, showing the terrible financial wastage of a bad hire, to really drive home your point.

Now the easy question…

5. Given that employment costs are rising and a bad hire is so expensive, how important do you think it is that we help you maximise your employee retention and provide you with a free replacement policy to minimise your risk?

You’ve demonstrated your understanding of your prospect’s challenges, your interest in helping them care for their long-term growth and the ability of your recruitment solution to deliver over and above their expectations.

This represents a very solid basis for the rest of your pitch. Especially when the next recruitment firm they meet rolls out the same tired lines about speed of delivery and deep networks.

In fact, if you have the moxie to get away with it, you can suggest to your prospect that they reframe some of these questions to the other recruiters they meet and see how much they don’t know about these important issues.


The growth in employment costs are unlikely to reverse anytime soon. Not as long as the economy is slow, labour shortages are high and Brexit is… well… Brexit.

There may never be a more relevant and important time to help your prospects and clients understand the exorbitant expense of a bad hire and how you can help them to experience massive savings and minimal wastage.

Can Winning Retained Recruitment Business Be Taught?

It’s all very well pointing to recruitment firms that have transitioned from transactional recruitment to consultative recruitment, and all the juicy fees they’re winning through retained and MSP contracts…

But are these firms just the outliers?

Is it possible for any transactional recruiter to upgrade their services or is it something that only elite recruiters can handle?

What does it REALLY take to shift from transactional recruitment to retained?

Step One – You Have to Want It

Hang on!

Before you disappear, assuming that this is going to be touchy-feely article about how anything is possible if you reach for stars, let me reassure you that this article contains the PRACTICAL steps to developing a consultative recruitment service.

The only reason I’m starting with this is to emphasise that, while it’s possible for ANY recruiter to win retained and MSP contracts, it will only happen if you want it enough to put in some serious effort.

Transactional recruitment appeals to some – and I know I’m going to get stick for saying this – because it’s relatively straightforward. When you’re only filling 2-3 out of every 10 vacancies, the recruitment process has to be simplified otherwise every transactional recruiter would go broke or die of exhaustion.

Consultative recruitment on the other hand, although more fulfilling, profitable and productive, takes some serious effort. It requires learning new skills and a commitment to improving every element of a job in which you may have become very comfortable.

It’s always easier to stick with what you know. And although I believe that, in the long run, transactional recruitment is going to stop being financially viable, it doesn’t change the fact that deciding to up your recruitment game takes an act of will.

You have to want it.

Step Two – Upgrade Your Service

Employers, especially those more accustomed to transactional recruitment, will need to be educated and sold on the benefits of a consultative approach. This means adding depth to your candidate search and assessment process.

Candidate videos, competency questionnaires, behavioural assessments and online shortlist presentations are more or less a minimum requirement.

Step Three – Find the Right Clients

Some of your existing clients will already be a good fit for a recruitment upgrade. The next time they have a vacancy, invite them to try out your new consultative service at an introductory rate. Most employers, once they experience the time and money savings of a retained contract, will be reluctant to go back.

Beyond your existing pool of contacts, focus your efforts on new prospects that have a progressive, forward-thinking attitude to recruitment. The employers who just want to get a warm body in a seat as quickly as possible and are happy with low retention rates are mostly a waste of time.

Although sometimes you can have success by going over the head of your primary contact and pitching directly to the owner of the company.

Step Four – Develop Your Sales Pitch

I won’t bang on about USPs again (I have plenty of articles on this subject if you look through my archive), but just know that your prospect only really wants to know what it is that makes your recruitment service better than everyone else’s.

Our Recruitment Audit Tool is perfect for giving employer’s that “lightbulb moment”, where they can clearly see why consultative recruitment is an infinitely better approach.

Step Five – Prove Your Worth

Any prospect worth their salt will expect you to backup your claims with hard data. You can only satisfy this requirement if you’re measuring everything you do and creating metrics for every stage of your process.

The added benefit is that you’ll often discover weaknesses in your process that you were unaware of and which you can subsequently fix.

Step Six – Turn Clients into Partners

Retained clients are those most likely to become interested in a Managed Service Provider contract. You can help them along the way by going that extra mile during retained contracts and getting more involved in the interview, on-boarding and development processes.

After that, focus on clients who either have steady recruitment needs or have plans for a period of rapid expansion.

Step Seven – Get a Little Help

Wouldn’t it be great if you could read an article about winning retained business and then just go out and do it?

In practice, each of these steps requires careful thought and preparation. Financially and professionally, it’s incredibly rewarding, but it’s not an overnight process (although some of our clients have won retainers after just a few weeks of coaching).


Can retained recruitment be taught?

Yes, of course it can. Like any other worthwhile skill, it takes a commitment of time and effort. That means it’s not a good fit for everyone. I’ve no doubt there are some people who will be much happier continuing to rinse the transactional recruitment market until it shrivels to nothing.

But for everyone else, who plans to develop their recruitment career in line with advances in technology and technique, retained recruitment is a worthy aspiration.

This One Simple Tool Helps RECRUITERS Win More Clients

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you about this proposal?”

“Hmm… maybe a 7.”

“What can I do to make it a 10?”

You’re a recruiter. Which means you’re a salesperson. Which means, OF COURSE, you’ve used this line.

But what if you didn’t have to?

What if you could SEE in your prospect’s eyes the moment when they go from a SEVEN (meh) to a TEN (yes, please)?

The tool that my recruitment firm uses, literally makes this happen.

We’ve had any number of prospects, engaging pretty well with our presentation, but still on the fence. But then, once we reveal our coup de grâce, they enter the “ready to close” position in a matter of minutes.

It’s that powerful!

Want to know what this tool is and how you can get your hands on it?

Read on…

From Cliché to USP

If you’ve heard my name before, it’s probably in my capacity as the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of i-intro®, but you might not be aware that I’m also the Co-founder of an executive search firm.

I’m not someone who teaches because they can’t do. I teach because I have done, because I’m still doing, and because I enjoy helping others to emulate my success.

Plus, working directly in recruitment in addition to recruitment consulting, ensures I can keep a current perspective on how the industry is evolving and how life as a recruiter is affected.

For example, one of the things that troubles me these days, is recruitment marketing campaigns that rely on clichés such as, deep network, speed of delivery, experienced firm, etc.

I understand that these need to be in your pitch somewhere. Your prospects need to know that you have the bases covered. That you’ve reached the minimum level of expectations.

But my problem with these claims is that, if this is what you’re relying on, you’re not going to stand out from the crowd. You need to follow up your claims of competence with a USP that is powerful and that your prospect is going to struggle to find elsewhere.

It’s very hard these days to create a true unique selling point. But at the very least you should have a RARE selling point.

The trick is to establish your competence with the usual mix of endorsements and impressive statistics, and then introduce something so powerful that your prospects choke on their coffee.

This is the approach we use to win business, even when we’re competing against bigger, more experienced, and even less expensive recruitment firms.

·     We show our prospects our credentials.

·     We show them how we carry out our recruitment campaigns.

·     We show them the i-intro® process and the impressive results it produces.

And then…

We deliver the killing blow.

If we were a football player performing for a scout, everything that comes before would be showing off our dribbling and passing skills, and our extraordinary stamina.

But this moment would be when we drill the ball into the top corner of the goal from 35 yards.

Enough preamble. Here’s how it works…

The True Cost of a Bad Hire

Our main USP as a recruiter (yep, we have more than one) is our retention rate.

96% of the candidates we place are still in the role after 12 months. Sometimes it ticks a little higher (at the time of writing it’s 100%) but it’s always around about 96%

In real terms, this means for every 25 placements, only 1 leaves the role within 12 months.

This gives us the freedom to offer an industry-leading free replacement policy of up to 24 months, without any fear of leaving ourselves overstretched. We can offer this guarantee because we know, 96% of the time, our clients won’t need to make use of it.

This, on its own, is a powerful part of our pitch.

We use this part of the presentation to talk about the time, money and resources that are wasted by a bad hire. And, most of the time, our prospects get it. We promise high retention rates and we take on the risk with our guarantees.

It all sounds great.

And then – if you’ll forgive another sporting analogy – we knock it out of the park.

Once we have the prospect on board with the idea that we can improve their retention rates, we show them the TRUE cost of a bad hire.

We do this by performing a…

Recruitment Process Audit™

On the surface, it sounds pretty mundane, but the effect on the prospect is overpowering.

We begin by obtaining a few details based on the prospect’s current numbers and entering them into a calculator. Things like number of new hires per year, retention rate, average salary, and so on.

The calculator then crunches the numbers and produces a tidy report containing bottom-line numbers, specific to the client.

There’s no number-fudging going on here. No smoke and mirrors. The calculator uses REAL statistics based on a report compiled by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, and combines it with the prospect’s own data.

The resulting report shows costs associated with things like wasted salary, wasted training, reduced productivity and so on. The kind of things the prospect can pour over in their own time. But at the very end of the report it highlights one, critically important, number.

A number that tells the prospect how much money they are burning each year on bad hires.

We’re showing them, literally, the TRUE cost of a bad hire.

Show Me the Numbers

The number is typically low or medium six figures per bad hire. And while an experienced recruiter probably wouldn’t be shocked by this, virtually every prospect we show this to reacts as if they’ve been slapped in the face with a cold fish.

It’s one thing to talk generally about the problems associated with bad hire, but it’s a whole other thing to be able to put a number on it.

We could, of course, figure out some average across the industry and quote that.

Anyone could do that.

But because we’ve inputted the prospect’s OWN figures, the number at the bottom is like a punch to the gut.

Suddenly it’s real.

Suddenly they’re thinking about what this number comes to multiplied over the last five years. The last ten years.

Suddenly what we described in the abstract has become real.

This is when the light goes on in their eyes. This is when our promise of improved retention and our free replacement policy becomes meaningful.

And this is when we start to close the deal.

The Close

There are two more benefits from being able to give the prospect a specific number, based on their own estimates.

The first is that, by showing how much money they’ll save per year by using us for ALL of their recruitment (we’re using this tool to win retainers and managed service contracts), it makes our fee a non-issue.

Whereas in the past, we had to be prepared for questions like, “Recruitment X have quoted us £5,000 less – why are you worth the additional fee?

Nowadays, when we’ve just proved that using our service will save them, LITERALLY, hundreds of thousands of pounds per year, quibbling over a few thousand is redundant.

The second benefit is that this number goes into the written proposal and can be shared with the decision-makers who are not in the pitch meeting but who will need persuading by the people who are.

There’s no way to know if the people you’ve pitched to will accurately or enthusiastically share the details of your presentation. But if nothing else, they’re going to show them the number, and they can figure out the financial benefits for themselves.


Our recruitment sales tool doesn’t work in isolation. It needs to be strapped to a solid recruitment service and a measurably high retention rate. But if you have those things locked down, the Recruitment Process Audit™ is a pure, closing machine.

The Recruitment Process Audit is currently only available to recruitment firms that are part of the i-intro® programme. It’s only one piece of a phenomenal package of training and software that can transform your recruitment firm (just like it transformed ours). If you’d like to learn more about i-intro® and how it can increase your closing rate, your fees, and your repeat business, please use the link below…

Talk to a team member | Click to launch chat