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The Resilient Recruiter

Nov 25, 2022

Many recruiters are feeling anxious about the economy. Are you concerned about how a slowdown might affect your billings in 2023?  


My special guest, Gail Audibert, has been a recruiter since 1984 and has survived four recessions. In this episode, Gail shares the steps she took in previous downturns to protect her business and achieve consistent, predictable billings. 


Gail is a member of the Pinnacle Society and remains one of the top recruiters in the country while only working 20 hours per week. In this interview, she reveals how she designed her business around her family and her secrets to working less and making more. 


Gail launched Gail Audibert Associates in 1988, specializing in Commercial Insurance.  She’s the VP of the Pinnacle Society and President-elect for 2023. She’s a former president of the National Insurance Recruiting Association and its current education chair. She also served on the Board of the Connecticut Association of Personnel Services for close to 20 years.


Episode Outline and Highlights


  • [02:37] Why getting fired from her first sales job was a blessing in disguise.
  • [07:05] How Gail built a successful business while putting her family first.
  • [13:34] Key differentiators and success factors.
  • [19:52] Doing well during a recession.
  • [27:06] Gail’s strategy for winning RPO business that pays a monthly retainer.
  • [31:23] Mindset and strategies to thrive in tough times. 
  • [34:42] The value of joining industry associations and attending events.
  • [40:21] Identifying opportunities to offer an RPO model.
  • [50:16] Insights on dealing with talent acquisition.
  • [53:23] Gail’s non-negotiables when working with clients.


Designing Her Business Around Her Family


Given Gail’s career longevity and success in recruitment, it would be easy to assume that she had been working really hard with long hours, making sacrifices for her business and profession. On the contrary, Gail considers it her success that she is able to build her business around her family. She leveraged the flexibility of our industry to raise her family and be there for every sick day, snow day, and other activity of her children. She never let her work to-do list get in the way. 


Gail works 20 to 25 hours a week and still manages to be really productive. “I don’t think I waste a lot of time on things that are unnecessary.”  That includes positions that she isn’t confident of filling … “If I think that it is unplaceable, I just drop it. I call the company and tell them ‘this isn’t going to fly’.” Gail also believes that this job should get easier over time because you know more people, explaining “I have a very strong database of candidates or people that I know that makes it easier.” 


Gail went on and also shared her success factors - making her a consistent top producer and becoming an esteemed member of the Pinnacle Society. Some takeaways are as follows:


  • Building relationships and a strong network in her niche.
  • Understanding the benefits of industry associations.
  • Mindset, attitude and accountability.


How to Sell Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)


Gail revealed that one of her secrets to survive and thrive during a recession. She explained how she pitched an RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) business model to some of her clients. She structured this in a way that was truly a win-win.  It was extremely beneficial for her clients’ cashflow while giving Gail predictable revenue during a downturn. 


During slow economic times, many recruiters drop their rates. Gail didn’t reduce her fees but instead let her clients spread out the payments over a longer timeframe.  That reduced the up-front cost of recruiting for her clients, enabling them to continue hiring. This was a solution that her client’s CFO loved and gave Gail steady cash-flow as well.   


Gail still offers an RPO business model - but only if she firmly believes that this model is aligned with her client’s needs.  How is she able to identify those opportunities? Listen to the full interview to hear Gail’s insights and actual examples of how it worked for her.


Doing Well During a Recession


If there is a timely topic that all of us can relate to, it is having the right mindset towards a recession. I have experienced a few recessions myself and although it was painful at the time, those experiences were so valuable and enable me to guide our coaching clients through turbulent waters.  


Gail has survived and thrived at least four recessions! It is normal to feel anxious and worried. Here are the golden nuggets I took away from my conversation with Gail:


  • There are always opportunities in any market - but you’ll miss them if you’re not actively looking / listening for them!
  • Focus on helping your clients and candidates through difficult times to build career long relationships.
  • When other recruiters slow down, give up or quit the industry, you must keep going!


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 who they can invest in. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including: funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, backoffice support, marketing and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here:


Gail Audibert Bio and Contact Info 


Gail has been a recruiter since 1984 (having started before the adoption of the fax machine, Personal Computer, cell phones, and the internet).  Her specialty is Commercial Insurance. Gail is a member of the Pinnacle Society and is currently the VP and President-elect for 2023. She is also a former president of the National Insurance Recruiting Association and its current education chair. Gail served on the Board of the Connecticut Association of Personnel Services for close to 20 years and was also a "40 under 40" recipient.



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