The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Scale or fail? How to Grow Your Recruitment Business


The UK recruitment industry is a £37billion market, with 81% of this being generated by the UK’s top 500 recruitment agencies. These 500 agencies are just one fifth of the total global agencies out there.

However, despite this mass market, around 70% of agencies have five staff members or less and for these boutique businesses, this is how they will remain; they have can’t scale their business, not necessarily because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know how to.

I’m no stranger to success, but similarly my successes are probably equal to, if not outweighed, by my failures. Something I learnt at a very early stage in my career is that when you make that initial call, clients don’t want to hear about how large your business is or the number of awards you’ve won, they want a solution and you need to be straight in there, ready to provide them with that solution.

This is where I came up with idea for Opus Recruitment Solutions, the founding company to the Opus Professional Services Group. I saw a gap in the market to supply a niche and specialist solution to clients’ recruitment needs, which is reflected in our company vision; “to be a global leader in specialist and innovative recruitment solutions.”

In the early days, we put our efforts into supplying the ‘passive candidate’ and therefore penetrating and supplying the top 10-20% of candidates out there. Initially, Opus launched as an IT recruitment agency, but we’ve grown our regions and brands to supply specialist and niche solutions on a global scale, stretching across multiple niche markets. However, it has taken more than just providing this specialist solution in driving our success.

Relationships are, as with any business, fundamental to success. You need to build and retain great candidate and client relationships and immerse yourself in their wants and needs. Likewise, this surrounding yourself with the right relationships works equally within the business’ structure.

One of my favourite sayings is, “it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re flying with pigeons” and I stand by this. Success is about surrounding yourself with brilliant people; people who have ambition and drive to put 110% into what they do every single day. If you create an environment where you are the weakest, most useless person in your business then it’s an incredible scenario to be in.

Not only does this apply to the sales side of recruitment, but to the infrastructure and the back office support you put in place as well. A lot of the time I can generate a brilliant idea and say “let’s do this”, but it takes the people who surround me in order for this to become a reality and sustain the incredible growth we have already experienced.

I will refer back to my earlier point, that a lot of success in recruitment is an outcome of many more failures. A brilliant quote that demonstrates this is that of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. The majority of what you do in recruitment leads to an unsuccessful outcome; the majority of canvass calls, the majority of CVs sent, the majority of interviews you set up, they probably don’t all lead to a placement, but once you can embrace that you can be successful in the field of recruitment.

I’ve more recently launched a new management consultancy, Addocura, which seeks to provide SME recruitment businesses with the expertise, experience and support in order to grow in whatever way they wish; whether it be financial targets, headcount or industry reach. What I love about this concept is that these SME recruitment businesses don’t have to go through the thousands of failures to in order to succeed; they can draw upon my own and other experts’ experience.

Successful recruitment and scaling your recruitment business is a collective of different tactics. It is important to embrace what you do on a daily basis; to continuously achieve and make sure you are enjoying what you’re doing while you’re doing it, regardless of whether what you initially set out to do results in instantaneous success or a few failures along the way.