Recruitment News Round-up. THE BRUTAL TRUTH #20

Recruitment News Round-up. THE BRUTAL TRUTH #20.

by Howard Greenwood, 2nd February 2024

Welcome to the 20th Edition of the Brutal Truth; in this edition, we look at the impact on an agency when the promotion criteria are purely financial based, and the impact training and developing the management spine has on a business.

Striking the Balance: The Impact of Recruitment Consultant Promotion Criteria on Retention.

The success of a recruitment company is undeniably tied to the performance and dedication of its consultants. However, evaluating and promoting these recruiters can significantly impact their long-term success and retention within the organisation. We have reviewed the impact of this outdated process as we explore the difference between promoting recruitment consultants based solely on financial targets versus a comprehensive approach that considers values, behaviours, training, and financial performance. We’ll delve into the impact of these promotion criteria on consultant retention, ultimately seeking to identify which approach yields the best results.

Promotion Based on Financial Targets

It has long been standard practice in the recruitment industry to promote consultants solely based on financial targets. Metrics such as revenue generation and billings are often considered when determining promotions. While this approach undoubtedly emphasises consultants’ “billing” success, it may overlook crucial aspects contributing to long-term retention.


  1. Clear Metrics: Financial targets provide measurable and objective criteria for promotion, making it easy to identify high performers.
  2. Motivation: Financial incentives can be powerful motivators, driving consultants to meet and exceed targets.


  1. Short-Term Focus: Relying solely on financial targets may lead to a short-term focus, potentially neglecting the importance of building lasting client relationships.
  2. Burnout Risk: Excessive emphasis on financial goals may contribute to burnout as consultants prioritise closing deals over personal and professional development.

Promotion Based on Value, Behaviors, Training, and Financial Targets

A more holistic approach to promotion considers a combination of values, behaviours, training, and financial targets. This multifaceted approach aims to develop well-rounded consultants who deliver financial results, align with the organisation’s values, and contribute positively to the workplace culture.


  1. Cultural Fit: Considering values and behaviours ensures that promoted consultants align with the company’s culture, fostering a positive work environment.
  2. Long-Term Success: Training and development opportunities contribute to consultants’ long-term success by preparing them for evolving industry challenges and the next position up the career ladder.
  3. Enhanced Retention: Consultants promoted based on a comprehensive set of criteria will likely feel more valued, reducing turnover rates.


  1. Subjectivity: Assessing values and behaviours can be subjective, requiring careful evaluation to ensure fairness and consistency.
  2. Time-Consuming: The comprehensive approach may take more time to evaluate, potentially delaying the promotion process.

Retention Implications

Consideration of the impact on retention is critical when evaluating promotion criteria. While financially driven promotions may yield short-term gains, a holistic approach incorporating values, behaviours, and training, often as a minimum, results in higher retention rates.

Retention Benefits:

  1. Employee Satisfaction: Consultants who feel valued for their contributions beyond financial results are more likely to be satisfied and committed to their roles.
  2. Career Development: Training and development opportunities contribute to consultants’ career growth and increase their investment in the business.

The Pitfalls of Premature Promotions: A Cautionary Note

While the importance of promoting consultants based on a well-rounded set of criteria is evident, an equally significant consideration is the potential negative impact of premature promotions. Elevating staff members to higher positions before they are adequately prepared or possess the necessary skill set can be detrimental to the individual and their colleagues and the overall team dynamics.

Effects on the Individual:

Promoting someone prematurely can place them in a challenging position where they may feel overwhelmed and underqualified. This can lead to increased stress, a decline in self-confidence, and a potential erosion of job satisfaction. The individual may need help to meet the expectations associated with the new role, hindering their professional growth and potentially stalling their career trajectory. Additionally, the fear of failure may increase job insecurity and anxiety.

Impact on Team Dynamics:

Premature promotions can disrupt the harmony within a team. Colleagues may perceive the promoted individual as unprepared or lacking the necessary skills, leading to frustration and a sense of injustice among team members. This can create tension and affect overall team morale, as other employees may question the fairness of the promotion process. Team cohesion and collaboration may suffer. As a result, it jeopardises the overall effectiveness of the business, team, and individuals within.

Long-Term Repercussions:

The effects of premature promotions are not limited to the immediate aftermath but can have lasting repercussions. If the individual struggles to adapt to the new role, it may lead to a decline in overall job performance and satisfaction. This, in turn, can contribute to a higher likelihood of turnover, as the employee may seek opportunities elsewhere that better align with their capabilities and aspirations.

Striking the Right Balance:

Recruitment leaders must balance recognising and rewarding talent and ensuring that promotions are based on merit and readiness. Adequate training and mentorship programs should accompany promotions to support individuals stepping into new roles. Ideally, this should happen as part of the promotion criteria. Additionally, a transparent and fair promotion process can help mitigate concerns among other team members, fostering a positive and collaborative work environment.

While promoting consultants based on a comprehensive set of criteria is vital, organisations must exercise caution to avoid premature promotions. Thoughtful consideration of an individual’s preparedness and skill set, coupled with robust support mechanisms, ensures that promotions contribute positively to both individual and team success. The choice of promotion criteria significantly influences the retention of recruitment consultants. While financial targets are essential, a balanced approach that includes values, behaviours, training, and financial performance is more likely to lead to long-term success and satisfaction among consultants. Striking the right balance is vital to building a resilient and motivated team that thrives in a dynamic and competitive industry.

The Crucial Role of Training the Management Spine in a Recruitment Business.

Staying ahead of the competition requires more than just a talented team of recruiters. A well-trained and robust management spine is the backbone that supports the growth and success of any recruitment business. The importance of training the management spine and its impact on an agency’s overall performance should be obvious, but in reality, this is one of the least-invested areas of most recruitment agencies.

The Management Spine Defined:

The term “management spine” refers to the leadership and management structure within a recruitment business. This includes top-level executives, department heads, and team leaders who collectively steer the organisation towards its goals. Training the management spine involves equipping these individuals with the skills, knowledge, and strategies necessary to navigate the complexities of the recruitment industry effectively. Consideration should be given to those employees who demonstrate management capabilities, and training should be incorporated into the career ladder.

Key Components of Training the Management Spine:

Leadership Skills:

Effective leadership is paramount in a recruitment business. Leaders within the management spine must be adept at inspiring and motivating their teams, fostering a positive work culture, and making strategic decisions that align with the company’s objectives. Leadership training should focus on communication, conflict resolution, and strategic thinking.

Industry Knowledge:

The recruitment landscape is constantly changing, with new trends, technologies, and challenges emerging regularly. Managers must stay current on industry news to make informed decisions and effectively lead their teams. Training programs should cover market trends, legal compliance, and emerging technologies in recruitment.

Performance Management:

An efficient management spine understands the importance of performance management. Training programs should emphasise setting clear expectations, providing constructive feedback, and implementing performance improvement plans when necessary. Effective performance management leads to higher productivity, job satisfaction, and retention rates.

Adaptability and Change Management:

The recruitment industry is inherently dynamic, with economic shifts, technological advancements, and changing behaviours among consultants, clients, and candidates. Managers must be equipped to navigate change seamlessly. Training programs should focus on developing adaptability, resilience, and effective change management strategies.

Client Relationship Management:

Client satisfaction is crucial in the recruitment business. Managers must build and maintain strong client relationships to ensure ongoing partnerships and repeat business. Training should emphasise effective client communication, understanding client needs, and delivering exceptional service. All managers, regardless of level, should be client-facing.

Benefits of a Well-Trained Management Spine:

Improved Team Performance:

A well-trained management spine leads to better-equipped teams. Managers who are knowledgeable, skilled, and effective in their roles can guide their teams to success, improving performance metrics such as placement rates, client satisfaction, and, more importantly, consultant retention.

Enhanced Employee Engagement:

Investing in the development of management skills contributes to a positive work environment. Engaged and satisfied managers are more likely to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation among their teams, leading to higher employee engagement and retention levels.

Increased Business Agility:

A trained management spine enables a recruitment business to adapt quickly to industry changes. Agile management can position the company for sustained growth and success, whether it’s a shift in client expectations or adopting new technologies.

The Outcomes of an Untrained Management Spine:

The repercussions of neglecting the training and support of the management spine in a recruitment business can be profound and far-reaching. An untrained and unsupported management spine may need help to effectively lead and guide the organisation, resulting in various detrimental consequences. Without proper leadership skills, there is a risk of a lack of direction, miscommunication, and low morale among the teams.

Lack of Market Knowledge:

Inadequate industry knowledge can lead to poor decision-making and missed opportunities, hindering the business’s ability to adapt to evolving market conditions.

Lack of Performance Management Skills:

Insufficient performance management may result in disengaged employees, increased turnover, and decreased overall team productivity. Moreover, without effective client relationship management, the business may lose valuable partnerships and struggle to secure new clients.

The Ripple Effect:

The absence of a trained and capable management spine can create a ripple effect throughout the organisation, impeding growth, eroding client trust, and diminishing the overall competitiveness of the recruitment business in the market. Thus, investing in the training and support of the management spine is not just a strategic choice but a vital imperative for sustained success.

Training the management spine in the competitive recruitment landscape is a valuable investment necessary for long-term success. A well-equipped management team can effectively lead, inspire, and navigate the industry’s challenges, ultimately driving the entire business towards higher performance and achievement. As recruitment businesses evolve, so must the backbone that supports them – the trained and dynamic management spine is the catalyst to a high-performing company.

Jump Advisory Group would be happy to discuss how we can create a promotion criteria, that ensure’s retention. Management Training is not simply how to manage a KPI board, so if you are interested in finding out how we can develop your management spine by building a bespoke management training course, contact us via

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