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The Resilient Recruiter

Dec 22, 2023

With over a million dollars billed consecutively for the last two years, and career billings surpassing $6.6 million, Nate Zimmerman is a Senior Partner and Executive Recruiter at High Country Private Equity Search, based in Denver.


In this episode, Nate shares his journey from breaking into recruitment by cold-calling the firm owner to becoming the youngest Partner in the firm’s history. He breaks down the key milestones along the way from hitting $400K, to breaking 7-figures, to building a team.


Nate has distinguished himself in the competitive world of recruiting with his relentless focus on putting the relationship before the transaction. You’ll discover the work ethic, strategy, and mindset required to reach $1M in annual billings.

Episode Outline and Highlights


  • [01:44] How Nate’s recruitment career began with a cold call.

  • [09:15] Why Nate chose to specialize in Private Equity Executive Search.

  • [10:33] Putting in the work early and laying the groundwork for future success.

  • [15:06] Nate’s journey to becoming the youngest partner at High Country Private Equity Search.

  • [22:20] Discussion on Nate’s approach to MPC Marketing.

  • [26:33] Billing a million dollars for the first time.

  • [35:54] Nate’s recruitment philosophy: “relationship before transaction.”

  • [41:33] How Nate developed market mastery in his chosen niche

  • [49:51] Juggling multiple priorities as a billing manager

  • [55:24] Overcoming setbacks - what Nate learned from missing his billing goal in 2023.


Laying the Groundwork for Future Success


Nate’s success can be attributed to his work ethic and belief in investing time and effort to develop his skills. “Knowing the underlying fundamentals, that is what I focused on initially,” explained Nate. “How to recruit people, how to interview people, how to take a job order, how to get a job order. Those things you got to put in the time and effort.”


A major differentiator that Nate shared is how he makes the most of his time - “On the weekends, spend two to three hours, Saturday and Sunday, every weekend during the first couple of years into this industry doing that really basic research. It's contributing long-term to your market mastery. Every hour that you are spending… it's all going to pay dividends.”


He shared his typical day looking at job boards. He emphasized the importance of quality , leading to talk about his MPC and targeted marketing strategies. He also elaborated on his thought process and what is going on in his mind as he achieve his milestones. The important takeaways from this part of our conversation are the value of discipline, consistency, and having a clear vision to align your habits and processes in achieving your goals.


Billing A Million Dollars for the First Time


One of Nate’s significant milestones is when he billed a million dollars for the first time. I had to probe for what he did differently on top of his discipline in planning, allotting extra time to research, conducting weekly internal training, and so on. He successfully laid down his groundwork for success and meeting the seven-digit billing is an astonishing achievement. 


Here is what Nate had to say: “You always have to figure out, okay, who's going to be my honeypot next year? And if it's the same client as your best client multiple years in a row, I can assure you that's not going to continue, right? The fees stop coming. So that was a big thing. And frankly, a lot of that did come through referrals. I was very fortunate, but I've gotten to a point now where I'm realizing that, hey, that luck, that it's not forever. So you're gonna have to go out and make that luck next year. Go get that next big client. Don't wait for one of your clients that you're doing such a great job for. You deserve those referrals, but that doesn't mean they're gonna come.”


Deep-diving on this topic further, Nate also shared several important key factors to help recruiters and recruitment business owners meet their billing goals:


  • Focusing on relationships first before doing transactions. Nate shared why he puts effort into meeting his clients face-to-face.

  • Finding the best candidates and “living inside their heads”. For Nate, it means “to understand, their motivations, their family, you know, where they wanna be in five years. That's always the most important question. I tell candidates, look, you know, it's my job to give you an option and then it's your job to decide.”


Critical Learnings from 2023


It may sound like Nate has the Midas touch, where he turns everything he touches into gold. On the contrary, it was never a walk in the park. Nate even shared why they are currently at an inflection point this year because of a setback in terms of expected versus actual revenue. So I wanted to hear the learnings from his perspective that he is willing to share for the benefit of our listeners. Nate shared that even if the market is unpredictable and can be difficult, we should focus on the things we can control. He mentioned a few action items that they will implement, such as leveraging technology, doing roadshows, and setting up email campaigns. 


I admire Nate’s resilience this is a recurring topic in our coaching calls. Focusing on things you can control and influence is one of the many ways to make your recruitment business recession and future-proof.


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:


Nate Zimmerman Bio and Contact Info

Nate specializes in finding ultra-high-performing talent for private equity firms, real estate investment firms, asset managers, and family offices. Nate believes it’s fundamentally valuable, regardless of the search, to focus always on the relationship before the transaction. First and foremost, his mission is to deliver excellence to his clients and candidates and purposefully build long-term relationships that produce value for years.



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