Why every MD should lead by example


‘In the competitive and rapidly-evolving recruitment industry, there is no room for managing directors who do not roll their sleeves up and get stuck into billable work’ – Andrew Stocks

Hands-on MDs are essential for the recruiting industry, where demand for highly-specialist skills is always changing. However, bosses can often appear too remote, out of touch with what’s happening on the ground in their consultancy’s specialist industry. At ESA Group, we think they should be seen on the phone, speaking directly to candidates and clients, remaining involved in the recruiting process and the general day-to-day tasks.

After all, someone who combines years of recruitment experience with up-to-date industry knowledge is well-placed to match a candidate’s unique skill-set to more niche positions. It is therefore essential that they speak the language of businesses they represent and be as confident interviewing a potential CEO as they are speaking to an entry-level developer.

It is also really important that strong leaders demonstrate a strong work ethic and close understanding of what clients need right now.

We believe there is tremendous value in showing your team that you are still involved in every aspect of the company. By breaking down hierarchies, you can ensure that people feel supported at every stage; sharing in their frustrations and embracing the sense of satisfaction that comes with a successful hire.

Open-door culture promotes shared learning at ESA Group. It goes without saying that junior consultants benefit from shadowing those who have been in the profession for longer, right up to director level. However, MDs can learn a lot from their younger colleagues too. Fostering an open-door culture means senior managers are more likely to hear about the latest trends, observe the dynamics of their team and spot talent within their workforce, enabling them to nurture and take full advantage of their team.

Recruitment, like other industries, has become an extremely social profession. Using platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to stay in touch with candidates beyond the initial hire. For example, if a candidate you placed years ago drops you a message, this time as a client, it is an opportunity to build on a pre-existing relationship. It expresses to the client, candidate and your own team, the level of care in your work, proving that you value your candidates and clients time.

At ESA Group we firmly believe it is essential that MDs keep the latest industry developments and insights at the forefront of their minds. This equates to remaining involved in the operational side of the business, to help secure clients and guide and support their team. Of the 40,000 or so recruitment consultancies operating in the UK today, the winners will be those who commit their whole team to staying close to their markets.