Built Environment Recruitment - It's a game of two halves

Are you playing for the right team?


Richard Lescott

In: blog

Having worked in the built environment sector for well over 20 years I have seen several market peaks and troughs, changes in technology, financial crashes and more... I've seen it at it's best and most savage but what I am hearing right now is alarming me...

Right now 2019 poses a unique opportunity, or threat, for Recruiters that happen to be specialising in Construction, Property or Engineering sectors.

There is a rapidly widening divide between the teams that are smashing records and growing fast and those that are stagnating or shrinking.

There is a distinct and sharp rise in Consultants coming from larger corporate machines; or micro-businesses that are under-resourced; who genuinely believe their market is struggling ...

...but I am hear to tell you it is not your market that is the issue. It's your firm

You're playing for the wrong team if you're struggling to get jobs in, if you're not converting your jobs into placements or temps working, if you're struggling to manage margin erosion or worse...you can't see how you earn decent commission. And let's face it without the earnings that great commission brings why would be a Recruiter?

The built environment remains a highly lucrative market and I  know this first-hand because I work with the companies that are getting it right. Month in and month out I see the transformation as Consultants that were struggling to see good performance totally change their lives by plugging into a system that works, with the tools they need and the leadership that inspires them instead of supressing them.

They are in the same market as you and they are achieving a different result and you can too if you join the right firm.

So how to tell if you're on the right team? Well let's start with why is isn't working for some Consultants right now and please let me know if this feels familiar to you.


1. Poor management

Now let's be clear...

Inspirational leadership looks different to each individual so there is no one right or wrong way to lead teams of Recruiters but there are definitely common themes with the companies where it isn't working.

With the larger corporate firms the relentless push for greater profits and lower costs that is designed to line the pockets of the shareholders; not yours can cause resentment, the wrong (and often conflicting) focus you need and quite honestly burn out!

With the micro-firms the problem is different. Leaders that over-stretched, quite often still billing, they won't delegate to Managers and don't have time to sit down and coach you as a Consultant which often results in your isolation and confusion as you suffer the frustration of deploying the wrong strategy.


2. Lack of innovation

Recruitment has changed people. Because people have changed. We have all adapted to a different digital age. Nobody really likes being sold to. People like to self-serve wherever possible. People buy from people they like and trust and social proof wins. If your recruitment company doesn't have the funds, inclination or brain power to figure this out then you are going the way of Blockbuster as a company. Slowly but surely dying without even knowing it. You'll know this is you are simply reliant on bashing the phones making business development calls or screening candidates from job board applications. I've possibly oversimplified this here but I think you get my thinking. Recruitment is no longer so one-dimensional. Those that understand this have been quietly addressing this - building a more consultative way to do business that benefits their Consultants daily.


3. Lack of resources

There has never been a better time to take advantage of technology in recruitment. The good tech is the sort that helps you build trust with clients and candidates, identify who is interested in a career change before the rest of the market knows, monitors candidate and client activity and alerts you to their next anticipated move. 

If you're working with a clunky CRM that hinders rather than helps, limited advertising budget, zero client entertainment and events and low tech innovation you are unfortunately always going to suffer and will have to rely on your efforts alone to drive your desk forwards. You're swimming against the tide instead of with it and at some point you will run of out of energy.

4. Culture of failure

We work in a very unique role. To be successful in recruitment requires mindset management and visible proof of what is possible. This balance of believing in what you can achieve and disciplining your disappointment when things go wrong requires laser like focus. This just isn't possible in an environment of fear or failure. If you don't have strong and happy role models around you and your firm seems to have a revolving door of leavers then you have a problem. You are working with a distinct disadvantage.

5. Poor rewards

There's no easy way to say this.... Recruitment can be hard... but it's a hell of a lot easier to manage when your results reward you well.

If your fees are being eaten up by a big threshold, your commission rates are poor and it's getting harder and harder to achieve the targets being set for you then why would you stay feeling motivated, happy and fulfilled?



Are you playing for the right team? Are you inspired by those ahead of you? Do you believe in where they are taking you? Do you believe you can do it? Can you see examples of success around you? Do you have the tools and resources you need? Are you rewarded well?

You've got to ask yourself some tough questions because if you're settling for a sub-standard experience you're wasting time and earnings.

Now if that doesn't worry you then perhaps recruitment isn't right for you and my advice would be to get out - the industry has enough passengers whose hearts aren't in it.

But for those of you that love recruitment, want to do better and believe in yourselves then it's time to make a change if you're not with the right firm.

It doesn't have to be this way and it's easier than you think to confidentially explore what life looks like on the other side of the recruitment fence.

Be brave.





Richard Lescott is a Co-Founder of Recruiter Republic works with recruitment professionals from Consultant to Director level find their next role in built environment recruitment.

You can contact Richard on 0203 915 4777 or richard@recruiterrepublic.com