Would you like to scale your recruitment firm or stay where you are? This is not a trick question. It’s is a vital recruitment strategy question that will determine which recruitment best practices are most appropriate for you. 

I know successful, happy owners who prefer to be small. They like the simplicity and prefer to avoid the challenges involved with building, leading, and managing a team and multiple moving parts. They’re usually fine “wearing many hats” and are satisfied with their revenue peaking and remaining relatively flat. If this describes you, then scaling would not make sense. You can send this article to your recruitment industry friends who want to scale.

If one or more of the following describes you, then scaling is a recruitment strategy that fits your needs:

  • You want to grow your revenue and profitability without quickly leveling off
  • You prefer a more narrow range of duties to focus on the tasks you do well and enjoy
  • You prefer to run a business to just running a desk
  • You would like to build an asset which you can sell in the future

Why do so many owners fall short of their scaling goals? I frequently speak to small recruiting firm owners who have either failed in their scaling attempts or have “leveled off” with very small teams. Here are some of the most common reasons this occurs:

  • They weren’t taught how to scale effectively. Scaling is like anything else you do…it’s a skill. Either you learn with the assistance of observation, training, and coaching, or you try to figure it out on your own. Most people are not successful in learning how to effectively scale on their own.
  • Many things that make them successful as recruiters get in the way of scaling. Most recruiters focus on running their desks and reacting to what’s important now (what’s “closest to the money”). Scaling involves activities that take you away from making placements now to make more in the future. If you don’t consciously carve out time to choose scaling actions instead of placement ones, you won’t scale.
  • They don’t know how to hire the right people. Let’s be real. Placing people is very different than hiring people! For many years, I was effective at placing people but struggled to successfully hire recruitment staff. It took me years of training and development to learn how to do this well. You won’t scale effectively until you have a quality hiring process.
  • They don’t have a sound process to onboard, train, and develop new hires. Many recruitment firm owners “wing it” when attempting to move people from new hires to strong producers. 
  • They don’t understand the difference between leadership and management and believe that doing one of these well will offset deficiencies in the other. 
  • They’re not utilizing the tools and technologies they need to facilitate the effectiveness of their teams.

Which of the above do you relate to?

What are the fundamental principles to scale your recruiting firm?
Below are the recruitment best practices involved in scaling so that you can make more money with less stress:

  • Understand that scaling is about increasing your firm’s capacity via people, processes, and technology. There are three reasons to address processes and technology before hiring new people:
    • It’s far less expensive to fix your process and technology shortcomings than hiring additional people to offset these deficiencies.
    • If you train people how to do things in inefficient and ineffective ways, you multiply your dysfunctions.
    • The best people are likely to get frustrated and leave if you’re not willing to take their suggestions to improve things quickly. You may also lose their respect by having subpar processes and technology.
  • Discipline yourself to sacrifice some revenue-producing time to work on scaling activities. This can be difficult since it runs contrary to old habits. Block out time on your calendar, get out of email, turn off your phone, and focus. One hour of focused effort per day adds up to about 20 hours in a month!
  • Be honest with yourself on what you do and don’t do well. Protecting your ego will harm your business! Get help from others who have the expertise in your weaker areas. Almost without exception, the most successful leaders invest in outside help to fill critical gaps. If you do not have a recruitment advisor consider joining a PeopleMax Mastermind group where you can learn wisely how to scale a recruitment business.
  • Learn and adopt an effective, repeatable process to hire the right people. Making good hires consistently requires an objective, science-based approach that goes far beyond “gut feel.” You’ll never scale effectively until this recruitment best practice is part of your culture.
  • Implement a high-quality, repeatable system to onboard, train, and develop new hires. This should be a step-by-step, written process that includes relevant metrics to hold people accountable to important activities.
  • Ensure that you address your leadership and management needs separately and get appropriate assistance to address your deficiencies. Doing one well will not compensate for doing the other poorly. Here’s a free recruitment tool to help you understand the difference between leadership and management and why this matters.

In summary, scaling your firm is a recruitment strategy that fits your needs if you wish to grow while not depending upon yourself for your revenue. Ultimately, it’s about duplicating what you and others do while adding what is lacking. Applying the above best practices can be the difference between scaling success and failure. If you have any questions related to scaling your recruiting business, feel free to reach out to me at bwolff@peoplemaximizers.com.


  1. Ryan

    This is fantastic

    • Brad Wolff

      Thanks Ryan, I hope this is helpful to your success!

      Best regards,