EPISODE 177   |   

June 9, 2023

Recruitment Startup Success: How to Bill $1,200,000 in 15 Months

Mike Williams

Starting a recruitment agency is hard. Being a great recruiter is no guarantee you’ll be a successful business owner. There are thousands of competent, hard working recruiters who struggle when they go out on their own.

That’s why my next guest, Mike Williams, is so remarkable. In his first 12 months, he billed $900,000. He’s now up to $1,200,000 since he started the business 15 months ago. 

Mike is the founder and President of Carnegie Partners, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s a manufacturing and engineering recruitment specialist. I’m honored to count Mike among our clients here at Recruitment Coach.

You’ll enjoy hearing Mike’s journey because he reveals some of the secrets to his success while being honest about the moments of self-doubt that we can all relate to.

One of the things Mike has mastered is creating original content on LinkedIn as a key part of his business development strategy. In this interview, Mike shares how to generate content ideas and posts consistently on LinkedIn. Plus we discuss the importance of posting videos to engage with your target audience. 

Mike has an impressive track record as a top producer. In his first 5 years in agency recruitment, he won “Perm Rookie of the Year” plus President’s Club 5 years in a row. He then founded Carnegie Search in February 2022. 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [01:15] How Mike got into recruiting and started his own business.
  • [06:30] Why recruitment leaders must create a defined career path for their team members.
  • [08:35] Mike’s thoughts on how to retain your top recruiters.
  • [11:37] From top recruiter to successful recruitment entrepreneur: two key success factors in hitting the ground running. 
  • [16:06] Building relationships by meeting clients in person and visiting manufacturing companies.
  • [25:22] How digital marketing, social media, and LinkedIn played a critical role in Mike’s success.
  • [28:33] Mike shares his LinkedIn strategy – how it helped him win business and the barriers he had to overcome.
  • [35:35] How to overcome fear when posting content online.
  • [41:24] How to generate ideas and create content consistently.
  • [49:05] Why you should consider posting videos on Linkedin.
  • [51:18] Mike revealed the roadblocks he encountered and his big learnings to date.

Hitting the Ground Running – Making a Successful Transition from a Recruiter to a Recruitment Business Owner

How was Mike able to hit the ground running so fast in his transition from a top recruiter to a recruitment business owner? “I think the biggest thing was a little more strategic, which was the niche that we defined … and the geographical area where I decided to do it.” 

Mike’s approach was very analytical, studying the industry trends and looking at the cities with the highest growth. This research even influenced where they decided to live. He explained, “I knew that I liked working locally and meeting the companies and the candidates in person because I felt like it gave just a leg up on the rapport and relationship building.” I think this was a smart move. When I was a recruiter running a desk, we always insisted on visiting our clients in person. Aside from building rapport, as Mike also mentioned, meeting up with clients is a “good litmus test of how serious they are about working with you.”

Posting on LinkedIn to Build Your Brand and Develop New Business

Mike is good at cold calling and routinely makes cold calls to both clients and candidates. However, he also leverages LinkedIn as a key component of his business development strategy.

Mike is a firm believer that you can win clients through LinkedIn. You will hear an amazing story about how Mike received an inbound enquiry from a VP of HR at a billion-dollar company because of a story he posted on LinkedIn. That senior executive became a client, and gave Mike a lot of repeat business, which might never have happened without that LinkedIn post. 

Mike also shared how consistent posting helps build a “continued relationship” with potential leads that you may have a cold called before. Here are things that you will find insightful in this section of the episode:

  • Why consistent posting can win your clients in the long run.
  • Overcoming fear and imposter syndrome when posting LinkedIn content.
  • How to generate ideas for your LinkedIn content. 

Why You Need to Post Videos on LinkedIn

What I also admire about Mike’s LinkedIn strategy is how he is not shying away from posting videos. What is his thought process in creating video content? He shared two things:

  1. There are “certain topics that don’t lend themselves all that well to just text form” and can be best shared with a video.
  2. Building digital rapport. Mike puts it this way, “Well, I want to get people to get to know me. So if you want to get people to get to know you, do you think that they’re gonna get to know you and feel like they know you better from something that you write or from seeing you talk and looking at you visually? Obviously, visually is better.”

When was the last time that you created and posted a video on LinkedIn? If you want differentiation, increased engagement, and to demonstrate expertise, posting a video is something you can start. In our coaching group, sharing ideas and best practices for posting video content is a recurring discussion topic.

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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: https://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

Mike Williams

A former top biller for a publicly traded recruitment firm, Mike successfully built a direct hire practice from scratch, earning Rookie of the Year and Presidents Club honors. He was a perennial top 5 producer nationwide, competing in a group of hundreds of recruiters each year.  

An avid networker, passionate career counselor, religious Wall Street Journal reader, and overall headhunting evangelist, Mike has spent years building the skillsets to successfully attract top talent.    

Mike founded Carnegie Partners with the vision of a search firm that would have the following differentiators. A Democratized Structure – An employee-owned company where everyone is eligible for equity partnership. A Culture of Success: Core Values of Continuous Self Improvement and a Determination to Succeed.  World Class Service: A client-centric approach that aims to fully understand our clients and bring their stories to our candidates.


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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