When I started PPS, I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t step back from the sales and billing side of the business to focus on ‘management’. Instead, I would stay on the floor doing the job beside the people I manage – not sitting above them. It’s a commitment I’ve kept, and one I think works best in our industry. Here’s why.

Leading by example is the best motivator

Most recruiters have, at some point, worked for a manager who wasn’t out there actively billing.  When you have a person sitting above you who is out of touch with the market asking you to push harder or go faster, it’s pretty hard to get motivated to go along with them.

Conversely, I have had managers in the past who have had some crazily high billing numbers, and it’s inspired me to match or beat them. That’s the kind of motivation I want in my business! If I am doing the highest numbers in the team, that’s not great for me at the time, but if it inspires others to chase me down, that’s going to take PPS a whole lot further.

Understanding the market is key to success

Being involved in billing and recruiting myself, I know what’s going on out there in the market. This means I can give my team real advice that works in the current climate. With the pace of change now, a manager who has been out of the billing game for even a few years likely doesn’t know their stuff anymore.

Being close to the action means that if numbers go down, I can determine whether it’s a performance issue or a market one. This way, I am not asking my people to do the impossible but instead working with them to find real solutions that will drive results as the market changes. On the other side of that coin, if an employee is telling me how things are, I can quickly gauge whether they are telling the truth or it’s just an excuse because I have an ear to the ground too.

Clients trust a business owner who knows their stuff 

My clients know I’m actually out there recruiting for them. I’ll get my hands dirty to find the right candidate, not palm them off to an inexperienced resourcer. They are buying the collective experience of my team and me, and they’ll actually get it. I don’t want to lose that connection with the market or my clients because it’s how PPS stays on top of the game.

It helps with finding the right hires in my own business

Staying in touch with the market doesn’t just help my clients to find the best hires for their businesses, it allows me to do the same in my own. Understanding what’s happening in our market means I can identify the right people to help PPS address challenges and realise new opportunities.

As recruiters, we’re often telling our clients to consider cultural fit in their businesses. As leaders or business owners, we should be doing the same. I understand the culture on the PPS floor because I’m part of it every day. And when my team goes drinking to celebrate a win or blow off some steam, I’m right there with them. It’s something the management books might tell you not to do, but I couldn’t disagree more – at least when it comes to the recruitment industry.

By knowing the culture and being part of it, I can hire for the right attitude and train for the skills I need. I can also see when a new hire just isn’t working out – my team doesn’t have to come and tell me what’s going on inside my business.

At the end of the day, I want my people to commit to being part of a strong future for PPS. Let’s face it, they will spend most of their time every week at work, and it’s critical that they want to drive results for the business. I can only ask for that kind of dedication from others when I am willing to give it myself.