Three massive recruitment ‘people-blunders'

Three massive recruitment ‘people-blunders’

Recruitment is a ‘people business’ in more ways than one.

If you own or run a recruitment business, you will know that staff salaries absorb 60% of your costs. That percentage can be even higher with under-performing businesses. So obviously solving the ‘people-puzzle’ is critical. You will never grow a sustainable business without the right people in the right roles, doing the right things.

Indeed, this crucial topic is a key theme I will address during my upcoming Masterclass tour of South Africa and it’s so important that we made a ‘taster video’ where I share three massive ‘people-blunders’ I see owners and managers making all the time.

Watch this video on YouTube

  • The business is severely hampered when the owner stays in a role he or she is no longer suitable for. This is a problem of epidemic proportions, and it has damaged and indeed derailed many businesses. For example, the founder insists on remaining in the ‘general management’ role, when in reality s/he is a very poor people-managers, and can contribute much more as a rainmaker, or an account manager, or in a strategic role. Or perhaps the owner insists on billing heavily, feels their worth is only proven if they ‘out-bill’ their team, when what the business needs from them is direction, or senior business development, or people management, or some deep attention to strategy. This is common; the high-billing owner, who unwittingly puts a cap on the growth and value of the business by trying to remain the recruiting rock-star. Owners staying in the wrong job have cost companies millions of dollars in value, and it happens everywhere.
  • We have all seen it. The highest billing consultant is promoted into the manager role.  This is not always a mistake, but it is often a disaster. Why? Because they are totally different jobs! They require different skills, competencies, and a different mindset. The assumption seems to be ‘well you can bill, so you can lead others to bill.” Oh dear! Often this leads to a ‘double disaster’. The promoted manager is unhappy, unsuccessful, bills less, earns less, and the company loses most of her billings. But on top of that, the team is in disarray, demotivated, and high staff turn-over results.
  • I have spoken elsewhere of how poor recruitment agency managers are at recruiting their own staff. But perhaps an even more damaging failing is the fact that so many managers hold on to long term under-performing consultants. I am not advocating ‘hire and fire’, but living with serial mediocrity will send you bust. The misunderstanding here seems to be what the real cost of a consultant is, and the opportunity-cost of allowing a poor performing individual to occupy a seat, which otherwise would be filled by a consultant who can actually add to the profitability of the business.

This and much more at the South African Masterclass in Cape Town and Johannesburg

See the SA Savage Truth Tour website here


Check out all upcoming Greg Savage Public Speaking events, and have a mosey around The Savage Truth YouTube channel too


About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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5 Responses to Three massive recruitment ‘people-blunders’

  1. Deborah Hale April 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm #


    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your contribution to the Friday Business Brains session in London recently. Really inspirational! Made me see more clearly that we as a company do some great things but that we could be even better and that we don’t utilise our high level of service to leverage more business and develop our relationships to their fullest potential.

    Hope you had a relaxed journey home!


    • Greg Savage April 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      Thank you Deb.. I am delighted you enjoyed it and really pleased you got some value. And thanks for taking the time to write on here and say so, regards Greg

  2. Bob. April 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm #


    This is spot on with what is happening to my employer at the moment, the MD has a massive issue with everyone, there is no leg room for growth and he just won’t retire or let go of his business. He feels it will all fall apart.

    I was brought in to take over from him, and expand the business. But he isn’t showing signs of movement either way. I feel I am stuck in a dead end job because of it.

    He won’t take on new ways of working, won’t look at a new database and won’t let his consultants do their job, he has to be in on every meeting, every call – seriously – he is a flaming nightmare, and I have never seen anything like it.

    His business hasn’t really grown in the last 10years, and probably won’t for the next 10 years.
    I’m looking on moving on, and hopefully find something soon!

  3. Jef Miles April 17, 2014 at 3:05 am #

    Hey Greg,

    Great posts you have here.. Must say that yes a large blunder is assuming that the person who has great technical skills is automatically going to be a good leader is a poor assumption..

    Funny enough you mention about the recruitment firms having their own recruiters not be so effective :)..

    Keep up the great work, would love to see a post on job selection from an employees perspective

  4. Diego April 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    I will only employ dead cert superstars now. even if it means carrying on recruiting forever. Keep your costs down and billings up. sounds obvious, As I work away in my paradise location things have never been better.

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