Fostering a workplace where everyone wants to work can translate to positive employer branding. This is a critical factor if you wish to build your recruitment business to scale.
Joe Curtis, my special guest, will tell us how they can launch and scale recruitment companies while building those as businesses that people want to work for. The first recruitment business Joe and his cofounders built, 3Search, launched in 2014, and currently employs 40 people. With the successful scaling of 3Search, Joe turned his attention to building the 11 Investments Group, now at 100 heads, with 6 recruitment companies within the group.
In this episode, Joe shared his insights on they are able to have 900+ 5-star Google Reviews across their group, which is phenomenal for a recruitment company. We also discussed the value of diversity and inclusivity, as well as his take on the work-from-home and hybrid setup which is a recently hot topic.
Episode Outline and Highlights
- [02:27] Joe’s recruiter and investor journey: How he left Michael Page and started his boutique firm.
- [06:41] Strategies for investing in startups instead of growing capital for the original business.
- [13:27] Turning mistakes into learning opportunities – Joe revealed their biggest learnings and how they use them to help new startups invest in their holding.
- [22:35] Having a shared vision and working well with co-founders.
- [31:00] What it takes to be recognized as a Great Place to Work.
- [38:49] Zooming in on inclusivity and behavior-based hiring.
- [47:45] Discussion on the hybrid and work-from-home setting.
- [57:25] What is a B-Corp certified company and how did 11 Investments obtain it?
Critical Components When Launching and Scaling Recruitment Businesses
Joe co-founded his first recruitment business, 3Search, in 2014 which currently employs 40 people. With the successful scaling of 3Search, Joe turned his attention to building the 11 Investments Group, now at 100 heads. I wanted to pick his brains on the core components needed to build and scale a recruitment business.
From a strategic point of view, Joe tells the story of why they invested in startups. “Because we didn’t want a multi-discipline business. We wanted a group of specialists,” he continued, “we champion small business, we champion entrepreneurship. and growth of small companies. And we have a platform that enables significant ownership to the guys that come in and found the businesses with us. We know how to scale and grow a recruitment business today in 2023, and we bring in founders who know their market well.”
What does the roadmap look like when it comes to scaling a recruitment business? Joe explained how they use an investment model to adapt to the market. He also mentioned how important it is to be hands-on. You will also hear strategies for handling operational tasks such as accounting and marketing on a centralized approach. Most importantly, Joe also shared the mistakes and learnings that they had to take for the past 9 years and how they are leveraging them to help out recruitment businesses investing in their group.
Running a Recruitment Business with Multiple Co-Owners
Running a recruitment business with multiple co-owners can be challenging for several reasons such as decision-making, division of responsibilities, and communication. But what I think is most common is the lack of a shared vision. Leaders can have different ideas of what they’re trying to accomplish. What advice would Joe give to recruitment business owners who are working with multiple or other partners? He discussed the following two key principles:
- Having an articulated vision in the short, medium, and long term.
- Constantly talk about what you are doing and building.
As Joe describes it, “And these days, you know, we don’t spend an awful lot of time together as a three talking about stuff, making decisions. So if you’re not careful, you can start planning the future. on your own and then one of the others is planning a slightly different future. And as you kind of, as time goes on, those plans get further and further and further apart. So it’s important to keep talking about what we’re building.”
Creating a Business That People Want to Work For
Recently featured in The Sunday Times, Best Places to Work 2023, 11investment’s efforts have been recognized among the top-rated employers. This is an amazing feat, especially in the recruitment industry. Joe and his partners recognized that “hiring people is going to be hard in the recruitment industry and keeping people was going to be hard in their doing what we’re doing.” They took proactive steps to ensure that they retain their valuable talents.
Joe revealed the things that they are doing differently to foster an environment where people want to work. “This employer brand we’re building is all based around us really striving to provide the best benefits package we possibly can as a holistic package for people. It’s really important that we consider everybody’s needs collectively rather than just paying as much commission as we possibly can or having an amazing holiday benefit or, yeah, we’re trying to put everything together. So we do have an amazing commission structure, I believe. We do have a good holiday. We’ve got unlimited holidays… The goal is to provide the best environment we possibly can that enables everybody to flourish both professionally and personally.”
We also discussed topics relating to hybrid and work-from-home setups, as well as what it takes to become a B-Corp-certified company.