The recruitment industry isn’t just about the provision of equipped employees to the companies that seek them. A huge part of the industry deals with the day-to-day business that builds formidable recruitment firms that expertly serve companies. What forces act upon this business and what book has made an impact on industry knowledge and practices? Recruitment industry advisor, consultant and expert, Pasquale Scopelliti explores David Maister’s book, Managing the Professional Service Firm and discusses the key insights gained from the book and how he applies them to his work.

There is no force to create quality growth and development in a professional services firm when security is the number one value an employee gets from a firm.   -Pasquale Scopelliti

The interview kicks off with Scopelliti detailing his career as a self-proclaimed wartime  consigliori who has provided his wisdom to business owners for years. He turned his talents to the recruiting industry where he says one of his favorite closing lines was “I know nothing about you or your business but my ignorance is why you’ll hire me.”  He came across David Maister’s book Managing the Professional Service Firm around the time he began to specialize in recruitment and it has been a fundamental guide for his work in the industry.

Now the author of his own book, Scopelliti believes that there is a tremendous connection between Maister’s books and his own work. What he’s learned about businesses and the recruitment industry has been so valuable it has shaped the service he provides. Maister gave him a way of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of franchises and knowledge of the recruitment business beyond the franchises.

Takeaways + Tactics

  • Hire and partner with people that can be brought forward. Use the “up and out rule”. Aim to  build life long strategic friendships vs life long employer/employee relationship.
  • 99,9% of the owners of professional service firms have never asked if they can hire and train.3. You can’t maintain quality of output if your greatest concern is job security.

What franchises can’t do is help a business rise beyond a certain level. They can teach people how to be business owners of recruiting firms but not recruiters in their own right. Scopelliti aims to help his clients master the basic skills of recruiting so that they are able to bring value to each individual transaction, “I want leaders to be hands on,” he says.

In his work, Scopelliti has learned that one of the most important parts of the job is not to start out in the client’s areas of weakness. A question he likes to ask is “What are you good at that you’re not doing enough of?” Every business owner is unique and each firm will have its own slightly different balance. The goal is to go to where they are strong and find how to improve results instantly.

According to Scopelliti, the biggest thing that Maister’s book unlocked for him is the “up and out” rule. He admits that he was once fascinated by the Japanese business model where companies had a paternal orientation and employees had one job for life. Scopelliti believes that model doesn’t support good output for businesses. Instead of an unbreakable bond between employer and employee, the aim is to build lifelong strategic friendships. “You can’t maintain quality of output if your greatest concern is security. There is no force to create quality growth and development in a professional services firm when security is the number one value an employee gets from the firm.”  All of nature has adaptation and response, all life is problem solving and there has to be competition. Lifelong employment diminishes competition. As a business owner you should be training people who can move up. 99,9% of the owners of professional service firms have never asked if they can hire and train someone like that.

To become a master of the recruitment industry, it’s important to remember that companies shouldn’t be afraid to train employees who can move up by moving out into other companies. A company that holds on for too long, affects its own success. Company culture is a crucial driving force for the “up and out” model and business leaders should be interested in providing value beyond job security. That means actively promoting upward growth, competition and ultimately productive employee output.

Guest Bio

Pasquale is a highly experienced advisor and consultant who has worked with some of the world’s most successful businesses and executives since 1993,  after starting a business coaching small business owners in 1987. Pasquale is a self-proclaimed consigliori and he specializes in management and recruitment consulting. He has also written a book called The Switch, which is available for download on his website. For more information on his work go to TheConsigliori.com.

Subscribe to Pursuing Results Weekly, with the latest podcast interview opportunities, life-changing books, takeaways and tactics from the previous week’s interviews, and excerpts from our partner podcasts.