EPISODE 170   |   

April 19, 2023

How to Increase Your Executive Search Firm’s Billings by 600% in 2.5 Years, with Callum Collins

Callum Collins

In this episode, we uncover the keys to G&E Partners’ rapid growth from $1 million to $6 million in just 2.5 years. Discover the business development strategies, hiring processes, tools, and technology that fueled this spectacular success.

My guest, Callum Collins, joined G&E Partners straight after university as a graduate trainee and within 3 years he had progressed to Managing Director. During the following 2.5 years, G&E Partners grew from 8 people to a team of 30 and increased billings by 600%.

G&E Partners is a boutique organization with a number of specialist practices including Pharmaceuticals/Biotech, Medical Devices, Logistics & Supply Chain, Commercial Construction, Civil Engineering, and Energy & Renewables.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [02:09] Callum’s journey from graduate trainee to Managing Director and then Partner in less than 7 years.
  • [06:29] The leap from an average recruiter to a great recruiter. 
  • [11:12] Transitioning from a biller to a billing manager.
  • [14:19] G&E team structure and turning trainees into 360 degree recruiters. 
  • [17:20] How do you identify high-potential performers when hiring fresh grads?
  • [28:13] Career progression within recruitment.
  • [33:13] How the next generation of recruiters can thrive in the recruitment industry.
  • [39:14] Discussion of business development strategy.
  • [49:17] Turning candidates into clients.
  • [59:40] Callum’s thoughts on how to thrive in the current market.
  • [01:02:49] How recruiting has positively impacted Callum’s life massively.

How to Hire Fresh Grads and Make Them Successful 360 Billers

When scaling your recruitment business, it can be challenging to find good people for your own team. Most owners assume that the easiest way to grow is by hiring experienced recruiters from your competitors. G&E prefers to hire Graduates with no prior recruitment experience. They are then trained up to G&E’s way of working. 

How do they assess candidates to find the high-performers? Callum talked about their hiring process which includes asking the applicants to prepare and deliver a presentation, plus psychometric testing.

Callum also explained that although they have a 360-degree model, they train new hires on the candidate side first. They want new joiners get a taste of success quickly. 

How to Win Key Accounts with Continuous Hiring Needs

One of the reasons G&E has scaled so quickly is that they’re successful at winning key accounts – companies who are continuously hiring. Having an abundance of roles is the perfect opportunity to grow your team. It means you’ll have plenty of orders for them to fulfill and they’ll start contributing from day one.

I asked Callum about his approach to business development. He explained that they focus on identifying the top 1% of executive talent in their niche, connecting with those individuals and nurturing them by keeping in touch with them consistently – even if they don’t have an job opportunity for them immediately. Because of the trust and credibility they establish, some of those candidate contacts turn into clients. This has been Callum’s most effective business development strategy.

How an Automated Reminder System Prompts You to Follow Up Consistently

As stated above, a critical factor of G&E’s success is how they nurture candidate relationships.  It’s a deceptively simple idea. Yet the reality is that while all recruiters understand the importance of building relationships, very few have a system for following up consistently.  

Callum reveals how he and his team organize themselves to continuously touch base, building trust and build credibility with top candidates. You’ll hear about the specific tools they use that automatically prompt them to follow up at the right time so nobody slips through the cracks.

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees, and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: www.recruitmentcoach.com/retained

Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting, scaling, and selling your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters in who they can invest. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, back-office support, marketing, and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here: https://recruitmentcoach.com/vc

Today’s Guest

Callum Collins

Callum is the Managing Director of G&E Partners and is personally responsible for the growth and performance of the business. He was promoted to Managing Director in 2019 and this time has seen significant growth across all areas of business. He currently leads the day-to-day operations and activity of the business and in addition to his management responsibilities, Callum also leads retained search and selection projects in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech markets, specializing in C Suite, VP/SVP, and Board level assignments.


Callum has been with the business since joining as a Trainee Consultant and progressed to Managing Director & Partner in under 7 years.

People and Resources Mentioned

About the Host

Mark Whitby

Mark Whitby is one of the world’s leading coaches for the recruitment industry. Since 2001, he has trained over 10,000 recruiters in 34 countries. Mark has helped recruiters to double or triple their billings and owners to increase their team’s sales by 67% in 90 days.

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