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The Resilient Recruiter

Mar 1, 2023

If you’re building a recruitment business, you might want to consider replacing the 360 degree “full desk” model with a 120-120-120 model.


In this fascinating interview, Pree Sarkar shares why he believes it’s easier to scale a recruitment business with a 120 degree model. You’ll hear how it gives his firm a competitive advantage in the market. Plus, Pree reveals their entire end-to-end recruitment process including the KPIs and metrics of a successful search firm leveraging the 120 business model. 


You’ll be inspired by Pree’s story of resilience, from losing his job during the Great Financial Crisis to starting a successful recruitment company and making a positive impact locally and globally. 


Pree Sarkar is the Founder and Director of Switch Recruitment, specializing in recruiting for start-ups and SaaS companies in the APAC region. LinkedIn rated him as a Top 1% Recruiter, Amazon rated his book Switch, a #1 bestseller in Careers and Job Hunting and he is a member of The Pinnacle Society, a select group of industry-leading recruiters globally.


Episode Outline and Highlights


  • [02:05] From losing his job to launching a recruitment business.

  • [05:02] Key inflection points in the road to recruitment business success. 

  • [10:47] Building trust from scratch when nobody has heard of you or your company.

  • [15:14] Transitioning from being a generalist to a niche specialist. 

  • [18:30] Why it is essential to focus on your strengths and hire others to complement your weaknesses.

  • [22:02] Pree describes Switch’s building phase and how it has evolved. 

  • [25:08] What is the 120-120-120 team model?

  • [29:30] Discussion on incentives, metrics, and KPIs in the 120-degree model.

  • [32:00] Pree shares their end-to-end recruitment process in detail.

  • [38:30] Giving back to the community - sponsoring a child with every placement. 

  • [46:34] How Pree became a thought leader and trusted advisor in New South Wales.

  • [54:50] Pree shares the backstory of his best-selling book, Switch.


Inflection Points Leading to Recruitment Business Success


Pree shares an amazing story on how he got into the recruitment business. On the eve of the Great Financial Crisis, he ended up losing his job. Determined to provide for his family, he believed that from that point onward that no matter how dark it was, serendipity can change the course of his life. 


The first three months were really hard with two kids under five while being a single-income family. They had just recently purchased a house, and they had to break open the piggy bank in order to survive. I am sure you will be amazed at how one thing led to another for Pree, which can be attributed to his mindset and resilience. 


There are four distinct inflection points in his journey that he elaborated on:


  1. Learning how to listen with empathy to solve problems.

  2. Learning to sell.

  3. Learning to lead.

  4. Learning to build.


Experiencing difficulties first hand moved Pree to give back to the community by means of sponsoring  a child for every placement. They currently sponsor 21 children across the planet and provide food, medication, clothing, and education through their partnership with Watoto and Compassion Australia. 


Why Pree Believes the 120 Degree Model Is More Effective


In discussing how Pree built Switch Recruitment, we covered the topic of Switch’s 120-120-120 model, which they find more effective than a 360 model. Pree believes that recruiters must have situational awareness in three areas: who are the companies, what are the jobs, and who are the candidates? With this in mind, there should be team effort involving:


  • A researcher who lives and breathes all the data and information.

  • A recruiter who is speaking to 20+ candidates all day, every day.

  • An account manager who solely focuses on the client ecosystem.


This minimized risks for everyone on the team as the specialization allows each person to embrace their skills and build expertise. Part of Switch’s value proposition is that they offer a “relay race” with three recruiters working on each project resulting in faster placements. 


How to Build Your Reputation as a Trusted Advisor


A series of events lead to Pree becoming a trusted advisor in his industry - to the point of being recognized by the Australian government and publishing his book, “Switch”. To summarize, Pree likes having conversations with executives, listening to their problems, and genuinely wanting to solve them even if it may or may not result in a transaction. These conversations built the foundation for him to be more visible, and lead to him published his book, Switch: Stand Out, Get The Right Job And Accelerate Your Career.


When the pandemic hit, the book was really timely as a lot of people needed help. Pree shipped 200 copies of the book for free, and they ran 40 workshops and recorded an online course. They then approached companies offering outplacement support for employees who were losing their job. This lead to Pree being awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Service by the New South Wales Government.


Our Sponsors


This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.


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:

Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting, scaling, and selling your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters in who they can invest. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, back-office support, marketing, and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here:


Pree Sarkar Bio and Contact Info


Pree Sarkar is an executive recruiter and career coach. LinkedIn rated him in the Top 1% of Recruiters for Search Excellence and Talent Pipelining. Prior to recruitment, he was a top-performing account executive and sales director with Fortune 500 companies, including Xerox and FedEx.


Since 2008 he has been advising leaders and professionals at global technology companies and pre-IPO start-ups to help them build winning teams and great careers.



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