The Recruitment Clinic: How To Manage a Team and Still Be a Great Biller

Today, the Recruitment Clinic is delivered by Daniel Fisher from McGregor Boyall. The perfect candidate to offer best practice on leading a team and still hitting great numbers. Not an easy task by any means, but an achievable one if you have the right tools.

We’ve all seen it, the top biller in a recruitment company who rises up through the ranks, smashing company records as they go and as a “reward” for their efforts they’re given a team to manage.

Suddenly the “I” becomes a “we” and the lone wolf has a new pack to lead. There are still targets to hit, but now they need to make sure a load of other people hit theirs as well.

Not every top biller is suited to management. And not every great manager can motivate a team AND still put those billings on the board.

So what does it take to manage a team and still be a great biller?

1. Hire the right people

It sounds obvious but it’s amazing how many managers get this wrong.  Hiring a new Consultant isn’t just about their billings, it’s about cultural and team fit.

Don’t get wowed by the figures at the expense of everything else.

There is no point hiring someone who is a great biller if they end up being a distraction or disruptive to the rest of the team.

Develop a strong radar for cultural fit and don’t be swayed from it.

2. Be a supportive manager not a micromanager

Always support your team, especially with transactional issues, like queries over their commission. Try to reverse engineer the issue so you see it from the biller’s point of view.

Give responsibility quickly but without overburdening your Consultants.

Ensure they know they can come to you for support as and when it’s needed, rather then you looking over their shoulder 24, 7.

Encourage new ideas but manage expectations. Yes having Friday’s off might sound like a lovely idea, but in reality it’s probably not going to happen. However, other ideas will be worth considering and so always be open to and encourage feedback.

3. Lead from the front

If you aren’t putting the hours in, prefer to palm off pitches to other team members and are rarely on the phone, why should you expect your Consultants to do any of these things? If they see you sloping off to a “client meeting” every afternoon around 4pm you can’t really expect them to be putting the graft in back at HQ.

Lead by example, create and promote the right mind set for your team from day one.

It’s amazing how many Managers let the power go to their heads and follow the “do as I say not as I do” mind set. Hardly inspiring.

Ensure your Consultants are bought into yours and the company’s way of doing things. They need to understand the value of doing something a certain way in order to buy into that model.

4. Provide a clear structure

Everyone on your team should know the structure they aim to follow. A slap dash attitude to planning will provide a slap dash result.

Structure your team the way you structure yourself – be that on a daily / weekly / monthly basis.

Having a clear structure in place ensures everyone knows the state of play – everyone on the team should qualify a candidate with the same methods or close a candidate the same level of professionalism. That way if you are not around and someone’s not sure how to do something – any of the other Consultants can help and support them.

5. Remember, it’s OK to be a selfish

We are sales people after all. In order to manage a top performing team and still be a success as a biller – it has to be worth your while.

If you’re not motivated then your team won’t be either.

Work with your employer to ensure that, as a manager you’re incentivised equally to manage the team and ensure they perform well, but it’s still in your interest to get those deals up on the board.

And finally, remember it’s OK to say no to things. If taking on that big account requires your team to work to a model you’re not comfortable with then it may not be the right thing for you or your team.

Being a top manager AND a top biller isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. If you are looking to step into a team leader role make sure the parameters are right for you, and if they aren’t then don’t do it.


Daniel has worked within the London Banking and Finance recruitment market for over 15 years with a specialist focus on placing IT Developers and Infrastructure professionals from Associate to Director level. He currently manages a team of 11 consultants and 4 researchers tasked with delivering the best developers and infrastructure professionals to McGregor Boyall’s extensive client base.

Want to be a part of his team? How about creating your own? Check out McGregor Boyall on Hunted, right here. And for more wisdom to assist your career, click right here.