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The Resilient Recruiter

Oct 12, 2021

If you want to accelerate your recruitment agency growth, there are two key challenges you absolutely must solve. First, how to attract and recruit the right people. Secondly, how to develop your people into great billers. Consistently achieving both of these objectives will translate into better talent retention and faster business growth. Of course, that’s easier said than done. How do you actually do it? 

In this episode, my special guest, Simon Kouttis, gives a masterclass on how to hire, train and develop recruitment consultants. He reveals how they are able to take trainee recruiters and get them billing £500,000 in six months!

Simon is an Executive Director and Partner in SOAP, a London-based executive search firm on a mission to revolutionize the cybersecurity recruitment industry. Simon also is a co-host of his own podcast, called Hunters and Unicorns.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:55] How SOAP is revolutionizing recruitment and what their differentiating factor looks like.
  • [6:45] Allowing strategic conversations to take place with internal talent acquisition teams of your clients.
  • [12:16] Simon talks about the SOAP Sales Playbook.
  • [20:33] How to come up with culture and values that are not just lip service.
  • [30:00] How SOAP empowers their employees: practical approach on rewards and compensation.
  • [34:22] The value of training and development and how it works at SOAP.
  • [38:49] Learn about SOAP’s call-listening activity and how it adds to their culture of learning.
  • [42:17] SOAP’s approach to internal recruitment - hiring based on attributes instead of experience.
  • [47:22] Simon shares about his podcast, Hunters + Unicorns

The SOAP Sales Playbook

One of the differentiating factors for Simon’s firm is their commitment to continuous learning and development. To help their staff to reach their full potential, they came up with the SOAP Sales Playbook. For Simon, it is one of the most transformational things that they have come up in the recruitment business. “We are seeing recruiters that could barely bill doing five hundred thousand in a half a year.” 

Simon shared that there are four playbooks on which the foundation is focused on how to influence the most high performing passive candidates in the market. If this idea appeals to you or if you are in the process of creating a developmental methodology for your organization, you will enjoy Simon’s detailed explanation.

Culture and Values - Not Just Lip Service

Promoting culture and company values is critical for a growing business. For some recruitment companies, however, it can only be lip service. Culture may only be by default instead of by design. For Simon, from a values perspective, they spend three days when people join their business talking about values. Simon explains, “The reason for that is because everything we do as a business, every decision we ever make, comes from those values. Who we hire, who we fire, what process we are going to build, what strategies we are going to execute, everything comes with reference to those values.” 

In line with this, Simon shared how their values affect their internal hiring process. 

Investing Heavily in Training and Development

As mentioned earlier, SOAP invests heavily in training and development of their employees. This is one of the key topics Simon and I discussed. I clearly remember when I started back in 1997, there was really no structured training plan in place. For successful recruitment business owners that I had the privilege of having as guests in this podcast, a common factor is how they value continuous learning for them and their team. SImon is no exception. This is how he puts it: “Learning and development is not something you do at the beginning. It is something that you do every single day every week.” 

You will hear Simon reveal their methodology and approach in development, as well as how it has positively impacted their growth as a company. 

What Would You Look for When Hiring Internally?

Let’s be honest, as ironic as it may sound,  effective recruiters are not always as effective when hiring internally compared to hiring for their clients. This is indeed a known challenge to those who have been around for a long time in this industry. So I had to ask Simon, when hiring internally, what are they looking for? SOAP does not only bank on recruitment experience when looking for clients. He discussed different methodologies they apply as well as their hiring process. What do they look for potential candidates? Here are the takeaways:

  • The desire to learn 
  • Coachability 
  • Character and Resilience 
  • Experience / tenure and performance based on previous role, not necessarily recruitment

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro®. 

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allows recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no obligation consultation here: 

Simon Kouttis Bio and Contact Info


Having graduated with a degree in mathematics, Simon’s early career included property development and owning a hospitality business, before entering the world of executive search. With a decade of experience, Simon is now a Founding Executive Partner at SOAP where he leads the sales enablement function. He has developed industry-leading best practices that include the Trinity Search Methodology, the Candidate Spectrum of Motivations and is the author of the SOAP sales playbook built on MEDDIC. Simon straddles the technical and sales recruitment functions, in order to drive engagement on the largest and most complex global recruitment campaigns.  Simon is passionate about recruitment strategy, which has led to a focus on working with talent acquisition in order to identify the bottlenecks that can suffocate the effectiveness of attracting the highest calibre individuals.

Simon kindles his creative spark through his love of art and music.  He is a golf addict, although his first love is Liverpool football club. He is a father to boy-girl twins that keep him away from many of his hobbies.

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