What running a recruitment company for 5 years has taught me

Today marks the 5th year of Tiro Partners; a Digital Recruitment Company set up by myself and long standing colleague and friend, Paul Conaghan. When we first started, our mission statement was nothing more than to get down to business and use over 20 years’ experience combined to build a company we could be proud of.

And we’re definitely happy with what we’ve achieved so far. We’re passionate about what we do and want to keep growing, with the ambition of eventually becoming a globally known company.

But before we can even consider global expansion we need to get our house in order; and frustratingly it’s taken us five years to be in a position to say we can now think in these circles.

The UK, and in particular London, is without doubt the most mature recruitment market in the world, with the UK exceeding the number of recruitment companies in North America. We’ve spent the last 5 years learning the dos and don’ts about the business world, and we’ve gained invaluable knowledge on our journey so far which I’d like to share with you.


1. Know your People

Your colleagues are your most important asset in your Recruitment business, so make sure you choose wisely.

We’ve made mistakes in the past where we’ve hired employees for the wrong reason. After identifying this, we changed our approach when making a decision to hire someone, with our motto being “hire slow, fire fast”.

Choosing the right people is imperative for the success of your business. Recruitment is 80 % attitude, 20% skill, so it’s crucial to hire someone who is prepared to put themselves out there and has the right mindset.


2. Invest in Training

When Paul and I started Tiro, we were heavily involved in the 360 recruitment; with our heads down and a heavy focus on bringing in revenue. In the early days, we had to do this in order to make some money. However, we learnt that there was much more to this when running a business. It’s essential to spend time with your employees and offer training and support, so they become a better version of yourself.

5 years in and we boast one of the most comprehensive training platforms in recruitment. Early this year Paul’s original boss, Russell Munday, joined the team. Russell’s accomplishments are extensive and he is extremely proud of his achievements, having created some of the most successful recruiters in London.

Thanks to Russell’s expertise, we now provide an online recruitment training platform called Study Course, which is available for any consultant joining Tiro Partners. Since introducing this, the results have been obvious with junior consultants excelling in their role and many referring back to the training before getting into fee negotiation. It makes me incredibly happy to know it’s been money well spent. Graduates put a lot of trust in us when they join, so it’s important we invest in their future by supporting and training them into a career they can advance in.


3. Build your Personal Brand

In the last 5 years, I’ve witnessed IT recruitment continuously change. Gone are the days where a recruiter could go on a job board and find a CV. Nowadays, candidates are becoming more passive and hidden than ever before. As a recruiter, you need to stand out from the crowd. You need to know your market inside out and become a thought leader. Let’s face it, the majority of recruiters are awful, so it doesn’t take much to stand out.

Build your brand, become an expert in your market and candidates will come to you. This is why some recruitment businesses struggle to compete – you can no longer be a generalist.

At Tiro, we have constructed a business plan that focusses on data mapping and market knowledge. Every consultant is required to publish at least one piece of content every quarter on their designated market. We expect them to immerse themselves in what they are doing.


4. Have a Strategy

As I mentioned earlier, when I started Tiro it was all about getting my head down to get some clients on, billings going, hire an extra pairs of hands etc. But there was little strategy behind this. So just when we should be looking to really expand the business we find that we are having a building year.

We now have a clear strategy for growth and a lot of it is around what I’ve mentioned before. Process and Structure is key to building a strategy. You can’t talk about numbers of growth if the Investment in People isn’t there, Structure isn’t in place and you don’t have any Processes.

Our plan is to hit new territories in less saturated markets in 2018. To do that we have to have a secure leadership team in London. The leaders we identify today will be the ones really responsible for growing Tiro.


William Excell

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