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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 26, 2024

Are you a small executive search firm striving to stand out among large competitors in the industry? Fear not, for opportunities abound for those who dare to innovate and differentiate. While larger firms may wield extensive resources and brand recognition, small firms possess agility, adaptability, and personalized services that can be leveraged as competitive advantages in the ever-evolving recruitment landscape.


I am excited to share this episode with special guest, Bob Kondal, a top-performing headhunter in Private Equity and Private Credit. This episode is packed with behind-the-scenes stories from twenty years of experience in recruitment that you don’t want to miss!


Bob and I touched upon relevant topics such as winning clients as a small firm, storytelling in business, prepping for client meetings, MPC marketing, diversity, and how we achieves a 100% offer to job accepted ratio - that’s right, zero turn-downs. 

Episode Outline And Highlights

  • [02:36] Rocky start – Bob’s first recruiting job at Huxley Associates; how he progressed from being on the verge of quitting to becoming the top biller

  • [08:42] Bob’s journey from recruiting to equity trading to starting his own search firm 

  • [10:50] Challenges and successes: Bob’s milestones as a solo search firm owner

  • [14:27] How to shift client’s misconception that working with the bigger search firms will yield better results  

  • [19:30] How to use superior performance metrics as a selling point

  • [23:07] Storytelling in business: How to pitch against larger firms and win

  • [30:01] Prepping for a client meeting

  • [33:18] Memorizing teams: Bob shares why and how he memorized teams 

  • [40:06] Execution: Bob's process that allows him to achieve zero job turn-downs

  • [44:55] Opportunistic introduction: How often Bob uses MPC marketing to spark conversation with potential clients 

  • [50:29] The trend toward Diversity in private equity and private capital recruitment

  • [51:32] Discussion on “Thinking Fast and Slow” 

  • [1:00:09] Investing in your copywriting skills and Bob’s book recommendation 

  • [1:01:34] Why Bob practices Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and how it applies to the world of recruitment


4 Ways to Stand Out From the Competition and Win New Business as a Small Firm


Bob goes to great lengths to stand out from the competition. He believes that so many recruiters are looking for a quick fee, with little regard for the long-term results, and do not spend enough time understanding candidates or the employer they are representing. 


He describes 4 different strategies he uses to stand out and stay at the top of our game.


  1. The power of storytelling:  Bob attributes their high interview acceptance rates and minimal drop-offs to the clarity of their approach. Instead of simply sending job listings, he advocates engaging candidates through a 30-45 minute discussion about their career. 

  2. Getting market research and execution right: You only need two things in search: research and execution to help you as an organization achieve zero turn-downs and maintain a competitive edge. This enhances attention to detail, which not only wins business but also cultivates stronger client relationships and satisfaction.

  3. Prepping for client meetings: One of Bob's key insights around client meetings is how extensively he prepares.  In addition, he runs the meeting quite differently to other recruiters, for example asking about their investment philosophy.

  4. Memorizing teams: Bob explains that the client, as a search headhunter, wants to know if you, as a recruiter, know their market inside out. During Covid, Bob set himself a challenge to memorize whole teams, including where they went to university, what they studied and what grade they achieved.

Like me, you will admire Bob's refreshing, proactive, responsive, and highly professional approaches and how he delivers service to his clients. 


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:


Bob Kondal Bio and Contact Info 

Bob has 25 years recruiting experience. He started his career with Huxley Associate in SThree. At the time Huxley were the most profitable company in SThree. Bob was the all-time top producer at Huxley in 2001. He's focused on Executive Search in Private Equity and Private Credit for the past 18 years and runs his own firm, Melrose Partners. He was also an equity investor in the City and was a regular commentator on CNBC. His peers from his previous employer are European and Global Heads at Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds, Spencer Stuart etc.


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