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The Resilient Recruiter

Jan 28, 2022

Many founders dream of selling their business one day. In this interview, you’ll hear from someone who’s actually done it.  Since launching his firm, Taylor Hopkinson, in April 2009, Tom Hopkinson has grown the business to almost 100 employees and revenue of £50,000,000 – a 60% increase over the previous year!  However, the biggest news is that in December 2021, Taylor Hopkinson sold 72% of their shares to Brunel International N.V. for 32mm EUR. 

Tom is the founder and CEO of Taylor Hopkinson, based in Glasgow. The team is a valuable recruitment partner to the world’s leaders in renewable energy. The team at TH has several accolades to their name including, winning the Windy Industry Awards Best Recruiter of the Year in 2021 and 2019/20 and Recruiter Fast 50 named them one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry. They offer retained search and selection, permanent and contract recruitment services and business intelligence solutions to global market leaders with offices in London, Mexico, Valencia, Boston, Singapore and Taipei. 

In this episode, Tom shares his story that begins much like many other recruiters who stepped into this field by accident. For Tom, this was a very literal experience as he actually got lost en route to his first interview in recruitment and almost didn’t show up at all.  Luckily for him, and for our industry, the hiring manager called and guided him on the phone right into their parking lot. Imagine if he’d never attended that fateful interview that set him on the path to success in recruitment! 

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:39] Tom’s hilarious story of his first recruitment interview
  • [5:45] What are the factors that contributed to a successful career in recruitment?
  • [9:10] Rubbing shoulders with and absorbing information from the right people is critical to your success in recruitment.
  • [10:25] Find out what set Tom on course to becoming a millionaire
  • [15:40] Pursuing the goals of building it, creating value and providing an exit
  • [17:00] What factors contributed to Tom being able to add value and growth to his business?
  • [20:18] A breakthrough 7-figure PE funding deal 2017 helped Tom to scale the business from 23 to 90 employees 
  • [21:00] This advice from the leaders at Long Acre International served him well
  • [28:00] Tom shares the 3 top KPIs that drive the success of Taylor Hopkinson
  • [31:45] How did Tom overcome the obstacle of serving a finite number of clients in a niche 
  • [33:30] Streamlining operations and closing down offices caused accelerated success 
  • [42:00] The pitfalls on the journey to international expansion
  • [45:20] Patience is vital if you want to reach the top
  • [46:41] What made Brunel International the right choice? 
  • [53:34] Tom’s best advice to recruitment entrepreneurs

The African Proverb that Tom Lives by Now

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This African proverb is what Tom uses to summarize his approach towards leadership. Yet, this is a lesson that he had to learn the hard way. There were times when he simply pulled everyone forward at the pace he wanted to go and that wasn’t realistic. Now, in hindsight, Tom is sure that this couldn’t be very nice for the people working with him. He shares that they would’ve wasted far less effort, energy and sleepless nights on stressing if they only believed that things would come. Patience is vital if you want to persevere until the end. 

The Top 3 KPIs for Recruitment Success

Tom mentioned that there are three Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that need more attention than others. So, I wanted to know how he determines what metrics are more important than others. He also shared why he believes so strongly in this system that he runs his entire operation on this model. 

He explained that in any business, there is a range of KPIs but not all of them are equally influential. Tom suggests that you pinpoint the three most influential KPIs that affect all other KPIs. Once you have identified them, they become your focal point as they are the determining factors to your success. By reducing the number of KPIs you track, you can prevent your focus and attention from becoming diluted. 

The three KPIs he is looking at are:

  • business development activity
  • CVs sent
  • first interviews

Tom believes that all other KPIs depend on how successful you are in meeting these three. At Taylor Hopkinson, they don’t emphasize “new job orders” as a metric. You can find yourself in a situation where your team brings in a lot of new jobs but they’re not necessarily jobs that you can fill, or even want to fill, as a niche market recruiter. 

Don’t lose quality on what you have to offer simply because you are chasing targets. Rather, focus on the number of first interviews because if you have enough first interviews, that means you also have enough jobs.  Only once the number of first interviews seems to be sliding, you have to determine why.

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro®. 

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology and methodology allow 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: 

Tom Hopkinson Bio and Contact Info 

Tom obtained his degree in English Literature and Philosophy from Cardiff University in 2002. It was not even two years after graduating that he set up the renewable energy proposition from the very start as manager of renewable energy at Ellis Fairbank. Tom considers this as the first time when he opted to follow his passion as the move was inspired by wind turbines next to the M6.

From here, he moved on to Eden Scott Limited as divisional manager of renewable energy before founding Taylor Hopkinson in 2009. TH has a global presence as they have offices in seven countries and professionals on their team operating from more than 40 countries across the globe. 

Tom approaches his trade from the perspective that you need to do what you are committed to and have a passion for as it is better to be dominant in a niche field than average in much larger pool. Other mottos which he uses to guide his success is to absorb as much information as possible from others and to believe that through persistent quality deliverance things will come to you rather than chasing success.  

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