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The Resilient Recruiter

Dec 24, 2019

Recruitment leaders who build and lead industry-dominant recruitment firms haven’t risen to their place of prominence by accident. Each of them not only has the experience to inform their leadership decisions but also possesses the personal character traits and habits that set them up for high levels of success. Would you like to know the traits and habits these world-class recruitment leaders have in common? So would I, so I invited a guest on the podcast who has had a front-row seat into the lives and leadership of these amazing individuals for the past 36 years.

Doug Bugie’s career in recruitment spans over three decades where he’s mainly worked in the niche of recruitment franchising. His current role is with FPC, a top 1% performer in the recruitment industry as ranked by Forbes. The company is also ranked “Top 50” in franchisee satisfaction by Franchise Business Review. Team members like Doug are one of the reasons the company excels as it does. Doug himself has had a hand in successfully aiding 800 recruitment franchises in 40 countries fill over 100,000 assignments. That’s a mind-boggling amount of success.

Join me for this fascinating look into the characteristics that make the top recruitment leaders who they are, which in turn, enables them to rise to the top of the industry and stay there year after year. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:33] Doug’s accomplishments over the past 36 years (100,000 placements)
  • [6:05] The key quality of recruitment businesses that do well and those that don’t
  • [10:46] At what point to leaders take a non-billing role in their recruitment firm?
  • [14:06] The renaissance outlook of the most successful recruiting leaders
  • [21:54] The biggest changes in the industry most recently, and Doug’s take on the future
  • [28:36] How did we become an industry that’s racing to the bottom?
  • [35:21] How Stoicism relates to Doug’s comments

The top recruitment leaders don’t lead from the sidelines

Many people have the mental image of a successful leader calling the shots from a vantage point well away from the action - like a coach, calling plays from the sideline at a sporting event. But they forget that every coach was once a successful player in their own right, which is where they learned the game.

Doug says that in working alongside leaders in the recruitment industry over the last 36 years, he's seen that the ones who gained the respect and admiration of their followers are what he calls “front line action-takers.” Going back to the sports analogy - they were outstanding players who developed their skills through proving their mettle on the field.

During our conversation, Doug highlights how action-taking leaders he’s worked with have set the example for their teams and built cultures that drive success. He also explains how these front-line leaders eventually move to the play-calling role behind the scenes but do so while maintaining the respect of their teams.

Great leaders develop a renaissance outlook

Stop for a moment to recall the most interesting people you’ve ever met. What are the things about them that make them so interesting? Doug says that the most interesting individuals he’s met are recruiting leaders who are well-read and who take the time to educate themselves about what’s happening in the world - and he says the benefits they receive from these activities are multiplied in their recruiting careers.

Leaders who are actively engaged in a process of ongoing self-education can connect with clients and other stakeholders about their interests and passions, across a broad spectrum of industries. It’s that type of engagement that opens the door to the human connections that are at the heart of the true recruitment professional.

As you might imagine, Doug has many stories to share and even offers suggestions about how you can develop a renaissance outlook yourself, so be sure you listen.

Develop your Emotional Intelligence to thrive in the recruiting world  

The advanced tech that makes for efficient data mining has created a commoditized attitude about the recruiting industry. Doug says that clients who need high-level candidates, data mining will never be enough. There is a deeper, more nuanced work that takes place to build relationships of authenticity and trust. The best recruiting leaders make those skills a trademark of what they provide.

An observation Doug makes about this point is that women tend to excel in the recruiting field for these very reasons. As he compares the skills women bring to the table to those of their male counterparts, he says women typically don’t struggle as much with ego - which enables them to put others in the spotlight of attention more easily. They allow the customer or client to speak more which provides greater insight into the needs inherent in the situation at hand.

But male or female, Doug stresses that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned - and that true professionals learn it well.

The recruiting professionals who thrive never stop learning about their clients

The high dollar figures paid for high-level executive placements are earned, no question. I can say that with confidence because I’ve seen how the recruiters who brought about those placements made it their goal to become students of their clients’ businesses and industries. When you as a recruiter can speak knowledgeably about the industry your clients serve, you cultivate their confidence in you - which in turn, serves your entire process of serving them.

But there are clients on the other side of the equation as well - those we come alongside who are seeking a placement. It’s our job to learn about them, their experience, and even their personality so that we can find the placement that best fits them as an individual and furthers their career goals.

In this conversation, Doug speaks about the advantages that come to recruitment leaders who are willing to invest time in learning about their client's industries. He shares many intriguing stories of recruitment leaders who set the bar for the industry through their high-level performance and integrity. 

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