The 39 Step Placement Process to Grow Your Recruitment Business

By June 20, 2017Recruitment

This is a MUST WATCH video on How To Grow Your Recruitment Business Using My 39 Step Placement Process

  • Most business owners don’t understand how important the placement process is to the profit and success outcome of your recruitment business
  • The key lies in the power of process
  • Watch the video to get the full training.
  • It’s critical advice if you want to operate a business that runs smoothly and with more profit

1. Free ’39 Steps to Placement Checklist’ Click the link to download:

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3. My ‘Recruiters Live Lounge’ video podcast is now available via my website. Click the link to watch and listen to episodes with some of the most inspiring recruitment leaders in our industry today.

4. Free video recruitment training available to you by clicking this link:


I want to share for the first time, the life-altering light bulb moment I had, that resulted in creating the foundation I built my entire recruitment career and three successful recruitment businesses on…and like all the best things, it’s beauty is in its simplicity…

On a recent flight going on holiday with two of my kids, the stewardess came up and asked, “Would your boys like to go and look in the cockpit?”  I was amazed because I just didn’t think that happened anymore. Because of the way that the world is and has been for a relatively long time now, the days when I as a child were allowed into the cockpit of an aeroplane in flight, I thought were sadly long gone.

But this was whilst the plane was on the ground, it hadn’t taken off yet and so the two boys were invited into the cockpit (with me tagging along) and the captain was there going through his process, the co-pilot getting things ready, the great big bank of switches and lights and buttons and everything else, and they were absolutely blown away! I didn’t hear much about anything else for days afterwards.

We entrust our lives to them

Seeing the pilot and his crew go through all the pre-flight processes, reminded me about checklists…let me explain.

I’m always a little amazed that the aircraft, this tube of metal, so heavy, actually gets up into the sky, and stays there! I mean, look at the average aircraft that you get onto, a passenger aircraft. Look at the sheer size of it, imagine the weight that’s in there. Now I’m kind of rambling on a little bit, but the point of this is that – pilots – we entrust our lives to them and usually when you get onto a plane nowadays, the cockpit is closed. You don’t see who’s flying you, and we put enormous amounts of trust in people that we don’t know and most of the time cannot even see.  

You would imagine that getting ready for take off is just something that most pilots know how to do automatically. Especially those with years and years of experience and flying hours.

However, I do know that worldwide flight regulations demand that all pilots have to go through a pre-flight checklist. A checklist making sure that everything is 100% OK. Apparently, before they even get on the plane, there’s a walk around. I don’t know whether it’s the captain or the co-pilot that gets to do it, but just a walk around the aircraft just to check that everything is okay. I’m not sure that’s always the case, particularly on these really quick turnarounds but anyway it doesn’t matter if the pilot has got thousands in flying hours and years and years of experience – they still have to go through this pre-flight checklist, EVERY SINGLE TIME they fly!

“Here’s the Yellow Pages – good luck!”

So…bringing this story back to recruitment…you may know my personal recruitment story started in a high-volume, low margin fashion recruitment agency. The initial training given to me was along the lines of “Here’s a phone, here’s the yellow pages. Good luck.” That was it.

It was just making phone calls. I started off with the As and ‘Aardvark Fashion Ltd’ and ended up with ‘Zenith Retail Ltd’ or whatever it was. Making calls and recording everything on index cards (yes this is pre-computerisation!). A few months later, I had further ‘training’ by going to some client meetings, taking requirements and learning how a placement ‘happened’ in the fashion recruitment arena. Of course, I progressed and I ended up being a Consultant there, a Manager and ultimately the Operations Director in that recruitment business.

Placement pants

I’ll be honest, in those early days, it felt a bit like somebody must have given me a lucky charm or I may have had my ‘placement pants’ on or something, because I was successful, but not really sure how, because I hadn’t been given any specific instructions or process on how to do it.

That’s the point that I really want to make. There wasn’t any process. There wasn’t any defined path that we used to take to ensure a successful placement. There wasn’t any checklist like the pilot’s process that have they to follow in a certain order to ensure they get the plane off the ground and into the air safely. Even though they know how it works and they’ve done it countless number of times, they still go through the EXACT SAME step-by-step process.

Moving on, you may know that my story continued when I started my first recruitment business with James Caan, and it was there that I was introduced to the late great Tony Byrne. Tony was one of my first mentors, along with James, and the greatest thing that Tony gave me I’d like to share with you. Some of you will be familiar with it, and some of you may not even know who Tony Byrne is, but that doesn’t matter.

I had that lightbulb moment!

Tony introduced me to his ‘30 Steps in the Placement Process’.

I’ve got to tell you, it just absolutely blew me away. For the first time ever (and by this stage I had been working in recruitment for three years or four years), I had that lightbulb moment!  Actually it was several light bulb moments going off at the same time, it all just fell into place.

I looked at it and thought, “This is amazing!” I had in my hands a checklist of 30 steps that every permanent placement had to follow and I started to track my recruitment deals using this checklist. So ‘taking a complete job order’ was step number one, and I’d be saying to myself “Right, I’ve done step number one. Step number two, what is it? Make a recruiting plan.”

I was running my own business, but I was a recruiter and I used to track my way through each deal.  The business included myself and James and then we started to recruit consultants, and I trained them using this exact 30 steps process including the templates that I used, the forms, the scripts and more of Tony’s training. I had his whole program on VHS cassettes, I was his biggest fan, and I was first really blessed to meet him through James and secondly because later on he invited me to do my training apprenticeship with him. The rest as they say is history…

But going back a step, using those checklists and Tony’s process as a guide to every placement I made, I’ve got to say it’s probably the biggest reason why I had the phenomenal success I enjoyed at that time. Not just success, phenomenal success in that first recruitment business that I had started.

100% retained business

I went from working 100% contingency based recruitment and I built a recruitment business that was 100% retained. If you don’t know the distinction, with contingency, I got paid when the candidate started. With retained, I got paid for the work that I did, so I got paid before I even started, I got paid during the assignment, and actually, I used to get paid on successful offer and acceptance, not start date of the candidate, so essentially I would get 100% of my fee before the candidate even started!

How did I do that? I’d love to say I was some kind of genius. I really wasn’t. I was (and still am) a great student, and I didn’t question it. I just said, “Look, there’s this 30 steps process and I am going to follow it to the letter.

The reason I did that was because I was looking at other people that were following Tony’s system, and could see the difference in results between those that were following it wholeheartedly and those that were just dipping their toe in the water using a little bit of this, but not all of it. Some were choosing the bits they liked the sound of and discarding the stuff they found hard or didn’t like.

I literally adopted every single step of the ‘30 steps’ system and used it and trained everybody coming into my business with the EXACT SAME system – and it worked and it worked and it worked.

I enjoyed phenomenal success, 100% retained, which is nothing if all you sell is one retainer but we were selling so many retainers that I had to recruit more consultants and headhunters to fill the assignments. We experienced phenomenal growth.

30% fees

The other thing I should mention was the average percentage fee previously charged in this sector was 12.5%. We went to 30%! 30% fees overnight!!!  

I truly believe the secret to our success in getting this fee was because of the 30 steps process. I had the confidence, confidence bordering on arrogance, slightly! I was like, “Why wouldn’t you pay me 30%?”

Now I’m not saying that today you should be charging 30%. No, I don’t know your market well enough to make that judgment, but what I do say is whatever your full fee is, stick to it. Stick to it providing you’ve got a process behind you. Whether that’s 30 steps or another similar process, that’s fine, but have the confidence, the conviction, that what you do represents absolutely exceptional value for money.

That’s the belief system that was going on for me. I just looked and I thought, “30 steps? Brilliant. I think I’m worth every single penny of the 30%. In fact, I actually think that my clients get exceptional value from me for 30%. Maybe they should be paying me more!” That was what was going through my mind, the mindset.

Competitors working in my niche and recruiters working in other niches in the recruitment industry were beginning to take notice of what we were doing. We got to the point where actually we didn’t even have to get meetings to pitch retained executive search. The repeat business was coming through the recommendations and referrals within an organisation and retainers were coming to us BY PHONE. It just blew us away!

We set the bar high

In my mind, and actually, I know it to be true, we changed that part of retail recruitment FOREVER. Prior to that, people weren’t selling retained search assignments. They weren’t getting higher than 15-20% fees. We set the bar HIGH. We ended up training and developing lots of people through our system that have gone on to and some of them still do, run very successful recruitment businesses in that sector and many more.

Okay, so moving forward again, part of the work I do now is I traveling the world working with recruitment businesses that are in trouble. Companies that say, “Look, Roy, something’s going wrong for us. Can you come in and have a look?”

I go in and I do an audit and you may have seen this document that I go through. It’s a process, it’s a checklist again, but it’s an audit of ALL the business processes they use (or should be using) in their recruitment business.

One of the things that I look for is a clearly defined step-by-step recruitment process, because if a company has that step-by-step process, whether it’s 30 or 12 or 10 but if a company has that defined “this is how we do it in our business” process then what happens is that’s communicated to clients, to candidates, to consultants working in the agency. Everybody’s on the same page with it. Everybody knows, yep, we’re at step three of this assignment.  What I also see when there’s a clearly defined process, is that people sell themselves and their recruitment services a whole lot better than people with no process.

Process gives you power

Process may not sound hip or sexy, but once you introduce process and consistency into your placements, you will place more candidates into more jobs. You will generate more revenues for your recruitment company, and your will earn more commission for yourself. Process helps give you the power to control the outcome of your deals.

It’s a series of actions delivered consistently that mark you out – a great example of this is McDonalds. You need to McDonald-ise your recruitment business!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the McDonald’s on the Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok (longest road in Thailand) or whether you’re in ‘the most beautiful McDonalds in the world’ (Budapest, if you were wondering where – Google it if you don’t believe me!).

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are. If you go into a McDonald’s, it’s a formula, isn’t it? They follow the EXACT SAME PROCESS for making a Big Mac in every single one of its 36,899 restaurants.

I’m shocked by how many recruitment businesses I go into who don’t have a consistent step by step process to follow when working a placement. Each consultant in the recruitment business is doing something different, each client is told something different and the process doesn’t look anything like the one that I am told by the boss that they work to!

It’s just not good enough to know how something works, you’ve got do it in the right order consistently, if you want to get that consistently perfect result EVERY TIME.

Guilty veteran recruiters

And something that many of us will be guilty of as ‘veteran’ recruiters, is that you get to the point where you say, “I know this. I understand this. I don’t need to use a form or a template or anything else. It’s in my head, Roy.”

That’s what I used to do. I knew Tony’s stuff and I knew the 30 steps and I built three successful businesses off of the back of that system, but I had the arrogance as a veteran to turn around and say, “I know that stuff.” I did, and I could tell you every single one of the 30 steps, but what I started to do was cut corners. I’m like, “Okay, I don’t need to do step three. I understand that. Make a recruiting plan. Step two, why do I need to do that? I know who I’m going to approach on this.” Celebrate, it’s like, I’m not going to celebrate. What’s celebrate? What I started to do was take out steps, and I also started to mix up the syntax and the order, and you know what happened? That happened! Yep, a couple of big deals that I couldn’t afford to lose went crashing and burning down the pan.

And the same happened with some of my consultants. The consultants that I probably wasn’t as thorough with my training on. I was, “You know what? There’s the 30 steps, but let me tell you how I do it,” or worse, they watched me and thought, “Well, hang on a second. He’s not doing those 30 steps. I don’t need to do them.” As a result, their work (and more importantly their placement revenues) suffered.

Be the airline pilot

The point here is if you’re going to have a process or a system, then it’s really vitally important that you stick to it. Be the airline pilot who still does the pre-flight checklist despite the thousands of flying hours and years of experience they have.

Like the airline pilot who gets their plane up in the sky and lands safely using a series of consistent processes, you need to stick to your recruitment process consistently if you want to get the EXACT same results with your placements. Make sure you take the right information from your clients, brief your candidates properly, debrief your clients properly, close them both on salary and so on.

Over the years I adapted and refined my successful recruitment process and I’ve gone on to teach it to thousands of recruiters and recruitment business owners around the world. It’s a ‘39 step process’ and it’s available as a free downloadable checklist right here. Even if you already have a process, download it and check this one against your own and make sure you’re not missing anything.

Put simply, if you implement my 39 Step Process and learn how to control your deals, you will benefit from:

    • a proven world-class formula for success
    • a more systemic approach to recruitment
    • the ability to gain more control and commitment from your clients and candidates
    • more successful placements
    • earning more money
    • better ‘jobs on to jobs placed‘ ratio
    • the ability to rescue any existing placements from the brink of disaster
    • better qualified vacancies
    • better qualified candidates
    • committed clients
    • committed candidates
    • predictable revenues/income
  • less ‘boom and bust’ or ‘famine and feast’ activity

I suggest you to use this as a checklist for every single placement that you make. Every deal that you work on. Every vacancy that you take on and you start working.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or whether you’re somebody that’s managing a whole team of recruiters, it doesn’t matter,  I want you to use this process. Every conversation that you have internally about a deal or a placement or a client or a candidate, refer them to the process. “What stage are we at with this? What have we missed out?”

“I just had a deal go down!”

If anyone ever says to me “Roy, I just had a deal go down,” or “I’ve got a client playing up or a candidate playing up” I ask them, “which part of this checklist have we failed to complete?” Because sure as eggs are eggs, it’s always going to be one of these steps that lets the deal down. I learnt this from bitter experience. When deals went down, I looked back at this checklist and realised I didn’t do that. I didn’t do that, I skipped that. I glossed over that one. I didn’t ask my client this question. These are the things that I did wrong.

Many people believe and will tell you:

    • you have to be a ‘natural’ recruiter to be successful in our industry
    • you have to be blessed with a specific skill or character trait
    • you have to have a degree or specialist qualification
    • you have to be a particular gender to succeed
  • you have to have years of experience

None of these is true. You just have to be willing to learn and motivated to do.

The formula for your complete control of clients

Recruitment is a process. Processes give you control and the formula for your complete control of clients and candidates can be taught.

The formula for success is if you do A + B, invariably you will get C as a result. If you do more A + more B, you get even more C!

Okay, so go ahead and download the infographic, use it in your office, post it up where you and your recruiters can easily see it or put it on your screensaver. From today, start to measure each of your deals and where they are against that checklist.

It will make a difference. I know this. This is the thing that helped me build my business, two other businesses after it, and every other recruitment business that I’ve coached and trained thereafter. Whether you use Tony Byrne’s 30 steps if you’re old school like me, whether you use the infographic I’ve given you, 39 steps, or whether you’ve got your own one, whether that’s 12 steps or 3 steps, I don’t care, stick to your process. It won’t let you down. It really won’t let you down.

Roy Ripper

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