Back To Basics

We talk a lot about new trends – particularly tech ones – and how they can make you more productive, more efficient, and more successful.

And at the moment, some of the trendiest things in the industry are video, content marketing and personal branding.

And doing all that well will make you money.

Except without the ability to recruit, no gadget or best practice technique will ever be remotely useful. All it will do is make bad practice more noticeable. And then nobody wins.

Another thing we talk about a lot are the barriers to entry in this industry being relatively less restrictive than other, usually less rewarding industries.

Industry leading training programs can take a young whippersnapper in a slim fit Topman two-button, make them a subject matter expert in a niche market, and have them on first name terms with the staff at Suit Supply in a matter of months.

But they’ll often be using the same tools as their competitors, pitching a similar service, to the same network, using the same job boards and 10 year old CRM, which under performs against LinkedIn anyway.

It’s fair to say playing fields have never been more level.

So as technology and the latest personal branding trends seep their way into recruitment markets, Consultants within them invariably level up quite quickly. And what was once cutting edge is what ends up saturating the market. Again.

One foolproof way to get ahead is not to necessarily race against your competitors to package-buy the latest CRM, or to invest all your faith in a suite of time saving apps.

But to properly nail the basics of recruitment.

It’s why when you’re struggling, one of the first bits of advice your manager will impart is to “go back to basics”.

I know that can be frustrating to hear, when all you’re looking for is a quick fix

To get you out of a rut.

Help you crack on from a position of strength.

Or simply to beat your office rival on the billing table.

But getting the basics right will see you through the year by itself. Because if you boil recruitment down to its core components – and execute them to absolute perfection – you’re really unlikely to fail.

A few agencies on Hunted typify this approach.

Interex Group is one of them.

Set up four years ago by a 23 year old entrepreneur, Interex have grown to become a leading staffing specialist in the Microsoft Dynamics space.

They now have offices in London, New York and Frankfurt, enjoying year on year growth, and boasting some very well rewarded Consultants.

Consultants with contract books running at £10K a week. Consultants taking home £170K in year one.

I went along to find out how Interex are using great basic recruitment practice to make waves in the industry and create an amazing home for their staff.

They Listen

“It sounds like a cliché but it’s true, we try not to listen with intent to reply, but with intent to understand. You’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

Recruiters practice what to say – and how to say it – an awful lot. And they become extremely good at speaking.

What if we looked at listening in the same way? As something to practice? An ability to hone? A skill to improve?

Next time you’re on the phone, make a conscious effort to be empathetic, not interrupt, and ask more questions. Next time you’re in a meeting, be mindful of eye contact and body language.

See if your practice pays off and you come away with more information or a better developed relationship than usual.

Click here for more more advice on listening skills. And to find out what a “sodcaster” is.

A Proactive Mindset

Founding father of the United States Benjamin Franklin allegedly said “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”. Winston Churchill’s known for talking about “those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it”.

And in recruitment, proactively avoiding failure has a financial incentive attached to it.

There’ll always be something you can do. A client you haven’t pitched or a candidate you’ve yet to get in touch with. A job ad that could be posted or a touch point on your website that could be tweaked.

“Everyone’s human so there are going to be slumps or periods of time when things aren’t moving as well. But that’s the best time to make an impact. It’s about preparing everything you can so fewer parts are left to chance.”

Doing what you can to fill the quiet periods ensures there’ll be less of them in the future. It makes the days go faster, maintains energy, and if you’re squeezing more activity into the hours of the day, guess what effect that’s going to have on your commission come months end?


Recruitment can be a reactive industry. In fact, any line of work that’s largely at the beck and call of human behaviour will be prone to irrational decisions, radically changing circumstances, and quite frankly freak occurrences.

Only in this line of work, how adaptable you are will have a financial incentive attached to it in the shape of a fee.

“You need to be ready for any eventuality. All the planning in the world can’t prepare for every outcome. We think on our feet all the time. Adapting to market conditions will make you a great recruiter.”

A Winning Mentality

Or the ability to continue to pick the phone up when nothing’s going well. In fact, it’s the ability to pick it up in the first place.

“The best winners have been given up on. They come from behind. They’re over and out. In everyone’s minds but their own. It’s about refusing to lose. And that’s something we strive to embody here.”

Winning mentalities aren’t permanent. They need topping up. Usually daily. I’ve gone into more detail on that here.

Committed To Getting Better

“We take training and L&D seriously. We try not to stand still and not be happy with satisfactory. I believe there’s something to learn everyday if you look in the right places. And that desire for improvement will pay off if you work with intensity and utilise those around you.”

Sometimes being better’s about getting in at 8am and leaving at 8pm, not because your boss is forcing you. But because you want to.

It’s doing six deals a month, looking at the board with £100K next to your name, hearing your colleagues tell you “you can put your feet up now”.

And then doing the exact opposite.

If recruitment was easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s not. And so the people who smash it are the ones willing to give it absolutely everything they’ve got.

You can be taught recruitment. You can learn it through practice. And you can use as many hacks as you like.

But unless you get the basics right, it’s a wasted effort.

The best recruiters in 2020 might be the most tech savvy. But they’ll also be the best listeners, most proactive and most adaptable to change too.

The ones with a will, and an obsession, to succeed.

If that sounds like the kind of recruitment to tickle your pickle, check out Interex on Hunted.