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The Resilient Recruiter

Dec 29, 2020

If you had the chance to speak with a highly experienced and successful investor about scaling your recruitment businesses, what questions would you ask? 

In this episode of The Resilient Recruiter, I had the opportunity to interview Abid Hamid, the Group CEO of Recruitment Entrepreneur - one of the most successful investors in start-ups and scaling recruitment businesses. Since 2014, they’ve invested in over 30 talented founders, enabling those founders to launch and scale successful business ventures. The group has annual revenues of £45m and is growing at 140% per annum.

From his vantage point, Abid has tremendous insight into why a small minority of recruitment businesses are able to scale successfully and outperform the market.  I asked him, “What are you looking for in a founder that then determines whether or not you will invest in them?” Hear his response to this question and all the other insightful answers to topics covering scaling your recruitment business, embracing the new normal and reality, people management, and adapting to technology. 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [4:49] How has the pandemic affected Recruitment Entrepreneur's portfolio companies?
  • [8:00] The new reality: hours contract versus an output contract - would you consider this setup?
  • [11:40] Three examples of businesses that displayed outstanding resilience during the pandemic and what we can learn from them.
  • [18:35] As an investor, what are the qualities Recruitment Entrepreneur is looking for in a founder that determines whether or not he will invest in them?
  • [23:15] Deal breakers - what factors would lead Recruitment Entrepreneur to decide not to invest in a start-up or scaling recruitment business?
  • [26:17] An investor’s insight: What challenges and opportunities await recruiters in 2021 and beyond?
  • [33:50] Abid’s philosophy on people management and business success
  • [44:00] How to onboard, train and manage remote recruiters - Abid’s advice on mastering recruitment one building block at a time.

Embracing the New Reality

Having multiple business portfolios, Abid has a great vantage point on how companies should embrace the new reality after the pandemic. One of the changes he is advocating for is looking at an output contract rather than the hour’s contract. He explained, “I think leadership should change its concept that nine to five is what people do. The hours contract, 40-hour contract, 30-hour contract, I think it’s a thing of the past. What you should have is an output contract.” Although this may appear counter with the way businesses have been running in the last 20 years, he laid out valid points on why this makes sense. Would you consider an output-driven contract versus an hour’s contract setup?

“Who makes the cut?”

In the last four years, Recruitment Entrepreneur has invested in 30 founders running 22 different businesses.  However, that’s a small percentage of the enquiries they receive.  In the last 12 months alone, they received 700 business plans from aspiring entrepreneurs and did deals with less than 1% of them.

I asked: “What are you looking for in a founder that then determines whether or not you will invest in them?”

Abid told me “Number one, it’s the individual. Why are you sitting here? What have you got in your head that you want to create?” Abid used the analogy of building your dream house and how it translates into a founder’s vision for building a business. Abid then described their process for screening a potential business partner. 

People Management - a very Delicate Balance

As obvious as it sounds, people management is a critical part of business success. Abid actually described it as “a very delicate balance of allowing your people to flourish within certain parameters.” He also elaborated on leadership and how to mentor and guide people. Some great examples that he gave are:

  1. An experienced leader is someone who made a lot of mistakes. The balance is managing your people so that they can avoid the mistakes that you can probably see but they can’t. 
  2. Being clear with your new-joiner on their plan from day one.
  3. Allowing your people to have a clear vision of your business. Involve your people in the objectives that you as a leader are trying to achieve. Vision leads to strategy, strategy leads to actions.

Abid Hamid Bio and Contact Info

Abid is trained as a lawyer, worked in corporate banking, and has been in the recruitment sector for the last 20 years mainly in management and leadership roles. He had worked globally within the recruitment sector and a highly experienced business leader with a wealth of experience in various industry sectors and difficult geographies around the world. Abid had held various board positions from start-up to FTSE 250 Listed company and is currently Chairman and NED for 19 companies.

People and Resources Mentioned

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