Too Many Cooks

We’re big fans of James Caan (the recruitment entrepreneur, not the movie star, although we like the actor too!)

We’ve heard him say that when he started his business in the 80’s there were ‘less than 100 agencies’ and today there are ‘over 20,000 recruitment companies’

So, does this mean that the industry has become saturated? bloated? dysfunctional?


With the UK market somewhat out-performing expectation, and with opportunity for expansion existing in Europe and further afield, there are plenty of positives.

At Jonothan Bosworth we believe that the problems lie here:

– Lack of patience

– Lack of training

– Lack of passion


As a new recruit, if you were unable to replicate the feat achieved by your co-worker who ‘billed 100k in his first quarter, having never done recruitment before’ you could sometimes be left to feel inadequate, even though you were still ‘profitable’.

Sales Managers were handed down ‘ambitious’ targets that were then passed on to the ‘soldiers on the ground’ and whilst some recruiters (with either mature desks, or an envious and quick grasp for the ‘art of recruitment’) rose to the challenge, some recruiters could quickly lose their patience and leave the industry.

‘New blood’ is introduced and then the ‘staff conveyor belt’ cycle continues.


How do you motivate staff? Is it with the stick or the carrot?

Maybe a bit of both…

…But for us, it has to start with ’empowerment’.

If people realise that they are being heavily invested in; receiving plenty of support then they are more than likely to invest in the business they represent.  The old Chinese proverb is ‘you give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.’ and it rings so true in recruitment.

You only know what you know, so the constant introduction of ‘forward thinking’ and progressive training sessions can bring the best out of the newest recruits as well as the seasoned veterans.

However, the ‘microwave society’ in which we currently live, means that ‘time’ can be a luxury afforded to a very few, and with a lack of training and a lack of understanding, people leave the industry.

‘New blood’ is introduced and then the ‘staff conveyor belt’ cycle continues.


This could be the most important piece of the puzzle. Without a ‘grit & determination’ to succeed; without a genuine interest to ‘make a difference’ to other peoples’ lives (i.e. candidates & employers), the game is probably over before it even gets started. The recruitment business leader and the new recruiter have to share the same degree of passion, they need to become one entity, fighting the same fight.

In todays’ world of recruitment, data is readily available everywhere; candidates are more accessible than ever before – employers have their own in-house recruitment teams, competition from other agencies can create other issues and soon enough the enthusiasm that was once there can quickly dissipate.

‘New blood’ is introduced and then the ‘staff conveyor belt’ cycle continues….

…For me, the fact that there are circa 20,000 recruitment agencies in the UK is not a negative. It’s an ‘opportunity’.

If there were still only ‘100 recruitment agencies’ in the UK it would be very difficult for the millions of company directors and hiring managers to determine which agency was ‘good’, which was ‘bad’, and which was ‘ugly’.

Let’s not forget who suffers most from ‘poor recruitment’. It is the candidate and the employer.

‘Customer Service’ is a term and phrase often overlooked by many recruiters, but it can ultimately be what sets you apart.

We know that ‘people buy people’, so if your recruiters have the passion, coupled with plenty of knowledge and have been instilled with the notion that building a business is a long and steady path, then you are half way to achieving great things and the relationship built with job hunters and hirers can last a lifetime.

There is always going to be a ‘top, middle and bottom’.  Being ‘top of 20,000’ is a much greater achievement than being ‘top of 100’, so the number of agencies operating in the UK should not sound the ‘death knell’ for any ‘new agency’ or ‘rookie recruiter’ – it should provide all the motivation you need.

How you ‘define’ your ‘top’ is ultimately up to you, but as long as you continue to be ‘better than you were the day before’ you’ll be fine!

If you are a candidate looking for your next challenge, or if you are a hiring manager looking for a new recruitment partner, please call Jonothan Bosworth Recruitment Specialists on +44(0)845 299 6369, or via email ‘here’

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