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The Resilient Recruiter

Mar 29, 2024

Scaling a recruitment firm to 10x growth in a challenging market demands a strategic approach focused on innovation, adaptability, and talent development. All of which Tom has mastered and has been able to 10x his firm's growth over the past decade. Tom scaled Fraser Dove International from 5 employees to a workforce of 50 employees spread across two offices in the UK, one in Switzerland, and another in the US. 


In this episode, we discuss strategies for success and capitalizing on new opportunities in the recruitment industry with a special guest, Thomas Dove. As the co-founder and CEO of Fraser Dove International, a leading global search firm and talent consultancy specializing in Life Sciences, Tom brings a wealth of experience to the table. He started his recruitment career in the early 2000s in a large, corporate, multinational environment and transitioned into the global executive search world before starting his own recruitment firm.


Tune in to gain invaluable insights from Tom on achieving exponential growth and staying ahead of the curve in an ever-changing market.  Whether leveraging innovation, promoting adaptability, or investing in talent development, Tom provides valuable perspectives to help recruitment firms thrive amidst evolving challenges and emerging opportunities.


Episode Outline And Highlights

  • [02:38] How Tom got into the recruiting space

  • [04:52] What it takes to start and 10x a recruitment firm 

  • [09:42] How to refine your roles in a partnership for scale 

  • [11:50] How to unpack your job and hire people with the potential to grow

  • [20:33] Ways recruiters can stop being the bottleneck in their businesses 

  • [24:38] Tips on how to drive high-performance standards hands-off 

  • [26:42] How recruiters can create processes and pathways for excellence 

  • [34:15] How to play to people's strength in a challenging market 

  • [37:10] Practical steps to becoming a great recruiter in a tough market 

  • [41:27] How to generate your production at a high level while developing others 

  • [49:11] The 360 business development for turning candidates into client 

  • [52:28] What OKRs are and how to use them within a recruiting business 

  • [01:04:04] How to develop a unique language and integrate it into a business culture 

How Recruiters Can Unpack Their Job and Find More Opportunities

During our conversation, Tom and I discussed Fraser Dove's remarkable growth, expanding globally by 10x over the past decade. Tom describes how refining his and his partners' roles and constantly reevaluating their jobs has been pivotal in unlocking new opportunities and perspectives. He emphasized the importance of periodically stepping back, assessing tasks, and delegating effectively. For Tom, recognizing when he's overwhelmed with tasks outside his core focus signifies an opportunity to recalibrate priorities, leading to the discovery of fresh avenues for growth and innovation.


Tom also shed light on their thought process and hiring approach at Fraser Dove. Over the past decade, they've reviewed and refined job descriptions a notable 15 times, two times a year, when onboarding new leaders. They adopt a dual hiring strategy, defining immediate roles while envisioning how these positions will evolve over the following 12 to 24 months. This forward-thinking technique ensures alignment between organizational needs and individual aspirations, fostering a dynamic and adaptable workforce.


As a scaling company, Fraser Dove understands the importance of articulating its mission and vision to potential hires, positioning itself as an employer of choice within the competitive executive search landscape. Tom underscored the importance of communicating career trajectories and growth opportunities to prospective employees, as this distinguishes recruiters as visionary employers. This approach attracts top-tier talent and serves as a guiding principle for recruiters and leaders within the organization, aligning efforts toward a shared vision of the future.

How Recruiters Can Stop Being The Bottleneck In Their Business

Recruiters who attempt to maintain complete control over every aspect of their operations often stunt growth rather than enhance it. Tom admits to possessing a hands-off control-freak mentality, recognizing that true success lies in effective delegation and empowering others to excel without micromanagement. By letting go of responsibilities and entrusting capable individuals, recruiters open doors to success.


In the episode, Tom shares 7 practices for recruiters to avoid being the bottleneck in their business; 

  1. Create Value: The cornerstone of any successful business lies in delivering value to customers. To achieve this, it's imperative to provide individuals with the autonomy and space to innovate. By creating an environment where people have the freedom to unleash their potential, remarkable outcomes can be achieved.


  1. Be Inspired by Others: While shouldering more responsibilities may seem like the path to inspiration, true enlightenment often comes from letting go of control and allowing others to shine. By embracing delegation, recruiters open themselves up to new perspectives and innovative approaches.

  2. Get the Right People: Building a high-performing team starts with strategic recruitment. Through thorough discovery briefings, asking pertinent questions, and establishing clear search metrics, recruiters can attract individuals who align with their vision and values.

  3. Best Practice Mindset: Establishing organizational processes creates a culture of excellence. By ensuring everyone from the oldest to the rest of the tribe buy-in to doing things correctly, recruiters can elevate their performance and drive sustained success.

  4. Retain Your Best-Oriented People: According to Tom, retaining the best people helps build organizational intelligence because the knowledge doesn’t leak away. It creates a reservoir of talent and knowledge about the best practices that can be passed down to later generations. 

  5. Balance: Success in the recruitment industry demands proficiency in various recruitment aspects. While mastery may not come instantly, recruiters must continually strive to develop their skills. They can carve a career path to success by identifying strengths and focusing efforts accordingly.

  6. Develop Others Around You: Tom shares that true leadership involves nurturing talent and fostering growth in others. Recruiting recruiters can cultivate a continuous improvement and achievement culture by leading by example, providing guidance, and inspiring those around you.


In essence, success in recruitment is not about shouldering every task alone but rather about empowering others and creating avenues for excellence to thrive.

Our Sponsor


This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro 


i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees, and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training, enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here:


Thomas Dove Bio and Contact Info


Tom is one of the co-founders and CEO at Fraser Dove International, a global search firm and talent consultancy in Life Sciences.


Tom started his recruitment career in the early 2000s in a large, corporate, multinational environment, which was an excellent place to learn the fundamentals. He transitioned into the global executive search world, helping scale a business to build a 10-office network in Europe, the Americas, and Asia before starting his own entrepreneurial journey in 2013 with Fraser Dove International.


Tom scaled Fraser Dove with no outside investment to 45 employees with 2 offices in the UK, 1 in Switzerland, and 1 in the US.


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