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The Resilient Recruiter

Aug 11, 2020

“This is a unique opportunity. We have a choice here. We can either sit back and wait for this whole thing to blow over. Or we can go on the offensive.  We can have the mindset that there are companies that are going to be hiring, despite the pandemic, and we’re going to find them.”

Meet George Atuahene, Founder and Managing Director of the Kofi Group. 

George’s parents wanted him to study medicine. Instead, he dropped out of college to pursue a career in sales, eventually becoming a recruiter instead of a doctor.

Were they disappointed when he broke the news?

“Their first reaction was not positive… but after they saw that I was very determined to go a certain way they decided to throw their support behind me and they’re pretty happy with what I’ve done so far.”

What has George accomplished so far?

In 2018, he billed $500,000 in perm fees and decided to shift his focus towards building recruitment teams around the country. He currently leads two recruitment teams in San Francisco/Silicon Valley and New York City, with plans to scale Kofi Group to 50+ recruiters by EOY 2025.

During this pandemic where the vast majority of recruitment firms are in difficulty, George’s business is bucking the trend.  In this episode, George shares the mindset and practical steps he took to maintain his firm’s revenue at pre-COVID levels and continue winning new business.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [4:54] George talks about competing in Taekwondo and its parallel with recruiting.
  • [9:15] Why George dropped out of college to pursue a career in sales.
  • [19:26] Two critical success factors when starting a recruitment firm. 
  • [26:00] George explains his chosen niche, it’s unique advantages and challenges.
  • [32:50] Solo practitioner vs building your team - What are the factors you should consider?
  • [36:07] The three biggest lessons George learned while building his team
  • [45:39] Two significant factors that have helped Kofi Group to maintain their billings during the pandemic.
  • [56:46] Best practices in managing content marketing.

Don’t Start a Recruitment Business Unless You’re Willing to Work 10x Harder

When George started his recruitment firm, the first couple of years were tough.  A lot of people start their recruiting firm with the goal of having more freedom.  But George believes that starting your own business requires you to work ten times harder compared to being an employee. In his words, “If someone wants to start their recruitment firm and they expect to have freedom in the first couple of years, I tell them not to do it.”

“I would get up, first thing in the morning, get ready for about 10 to 15 minutes, get to work, and then work until I can’t work anymore… As long as it took to get the results I wanted to get. I did nothing but work, for the first couple of years. I barely went out. You would have thought I was quarantined.”

What drove him to work so hard? “My ultimate goal is freedom and having an impact on the recruitment industry. And the most gratifying thing for me is when I am able to bring someone on my team, coach them, and mentor them and see them blossom. And I see them able to enjoy a lot more freedom and autonomy… so that’s a big driver for me.”

Having an Internal Locus of Control During this Pandemic


During this crazy pandemic, the vast majority of recruiters are finding the market extremely tough. Yet Kofi Group was able to maintain their billings and even brought on new business. George believes that two things are contributing to their resilience.


George says, “We’ve been very fortunate … the niche we’re focused on, the demand is constantly going up… it’s somewhat recession-proof.” In addition, George talks about a daily focus on business development and their unique message.

In addition, George points to two significant factors.  One is his mindset, having an internal locus of control and believing that although the pandemic brought about a lot of challenges, there is always a silver lining and unique opportunities for people that take advantage of them. Secondly, they took really practical steps in order to keep in touch with their market. This includes working together as a team and going on the offensive.

George Atuahene Bio and Contact Info

George Atuahene is the Founder and Managing Director of Kofi Group, an executive search firm that helps early-stage startups hire highly sought-after software engineering and machine learning talent. 

Kofi Group's clients include:

  • Series-A open-source framework that is an industry-standard for software engineers
  • Stealth mode artificial intelligence startups
  • A computer vision R&D startup
  • Robotics and RPA software companies
  • Series-B FinTech that is democratizing financial services
  • Cloud security startups
  • Autonomous driving startups

Before founding Kofi Group in early 2017, George started his career in B2C/B2B wireless sales, built a six-figure affiliate marketing business that drove online traffic for major online retailers and worked for 2 national recruitment firms along with a boutique agency.

George has placed dozens of professionals, ranging from mid-level software engineers to a VP of Data Science. He has bootstrapped Kofi Group from the very beginning, reinvesting profits to grow the company. In 2018, he billed $500,000 in perm fees and decided to shift his focus towards building recruitment teams around the country. He currently leads 2 recruitment teams in San Francisco/Silicon Valley and New York City, with plans to scale Kofi Group to 50+ recruiters by EOY 2025.

When he’s not growing his firm, George loves spending time with his wife and family, competing in Taekwondo tournaments, and reading books about leadership, investing, and philosophy. 

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