August 3, 2021

How to Increase Recruitment Profits By Putting Your People First, with Nathan Callaghan, Ep #87

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Want to accelerate growth and increase your recruitment business profits?  According to Nathan Callaghan, it’s about hiring the right people and creating a culture where they can thrive.

Nathan is Managing Director at Futureheads Recruitment – an award winning recruitment company based in London with a team of 30. They have been awarded Great Place to Work multiple times as well as listed on the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 companies to inspire Britain several years in a row. 

I asked Nathan about the factors that contributed to Futureheads being ranked by Recruiter Magazine as one of their Hot 100 companies, based on GP/employee.  Some of the success factors he shared include niche market specialization, clear company values, a culture of collaboration and a career path that allows people to play to their strengths.   

What is it you know now that you would have told yourself in March last year when running your recruitment business? Nathan Callaghan, Managing Director @FutureheadsJobs shares critical #learnings in this episode of  #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training #coaching


Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [2:20] Two pointers to keep in mind to thrive while specializing in your niche.
  • [4:55] Managing the client journey – Nathan shares how they make it easy to engage with clients.
  • [10:39] Getting the balance in giving your team freedom of creativity while upholding company standards.
  • [14:50] Key lessons in 2020 that shaped Futureheads decision making in 2021.
  • [22:55] The non-negotiable values that were upheld during the challenging times of the pandemic. 
  • [35:00] Great approach to capture massive opportunities in the current market while establishing a career path for your team.
  • [45:30] How to assign your team to their area of focus to establish fluidity and coherence.
  • [52:08] Attributes that are more important than experience – what to look for when hiring. 

The Benefit of Being Niche Market Specialists

I asked Nathan about their approach to niche specialization. Futureheads has a deep and genuine commitment to being experts who focus on a handful of digital specializations rather than “tackling a bit of everything.” 

I am a big believer of niche specialization so it was interesting hearing Nathan lay out how and why they do it this way. Nathan shared insights on how to increase your success while specializing in your niche:

  • You must balance the rigour of good recruitment practice alongside genuine interest in the space.
  • As you scale, it is really important to put a strong client management process around that niche focus.

Is the 360 Model Outdated? Futureheads Wants their Recruitment Consultants to Play to their Strengths

One positive impact of the pandemic for Futureheads was redesigning their business model and adopting a more collaborative approach.  Nathan explained that the management team started questioning, “why are we asking people to conform to the 360 model?”

He elaborated: “If we want our people to really thrive and reach their peak performance, let’s stop pushing people to do things where the enjoyment and engagement isn’t there. Let’s create career paths where they can play to their strengths and focus on the component of the job that makes sense to them, whether that’s client acquisition, process management, candidate engagement.  Giving people control back is really working for us.”

According to Nathan, some people can perform well as 360 degree Consultants, but the majority of people truly excel at either the client side or candidate side, not both.  He believes they’ll get the most out of people and have a happier, more engaged team if everyone plays to their strengths. At futureheads, Consultants can choose whether they want to focus on client acquisition, candidate generation or process management.  The Consultants then partner with each other and collaborate to complete projects and make placements. 

Interestingly the job titles and career paths are the same for both sides of the desk, so Consultants who are excellent at candidate generation and engagement have the same opportunities for promotion as the business developers who open new accounts.

What Attributes Make a Successful Recruitment Consultant?

Futureheads were recognized by the Recruiter Magazine’s Hot 100 List which is the most successful recruitment companies in the UK based on GP per employee. They are now looking for future growth. Nathan mentioned they are hiring and focus more on people who have the right attributes, rather than necessarily having recruitment experience. So I asked him “what are the top attributes you look for more than the experience? Here are the takeaways:

  • Genuinely caring about what you do 
  • The ability to maintain a level head during the best and worst of times 
  • Strong work ethic, which for Nathan doesn’t mean unnecessary long hours, but rather “output you deliver while you’re at work.”

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i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Our technology plus methodology enables recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win retained business, bigger fees and increase their billings. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter for a 25% discount. Book your free, no obligation consultation here:

If you are running a niche-focused #recruitmentbusiness, what are two important things you should keep in mind? Hear it from Nathan Callaghan, Managing Director @FutureheadsJobs  in this episode of  #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training #coaching


Nathan Callaghan Bio and Contact Info 

Nathan Callaghan is Managing Director at Futureheads Recruitment. A seasoned recruitment professional, with substantial experience leading recruitment business within the digital and technology space.  For over twenty years he has identified talent for a variety of businesses, working both as an agency and inhouse recruiter. He has worked in multiple recruitment start ups during his career and has a strong track record in creating new service lines within existing brands. He has been part of management teams in high growth recruitment environments, a business owner and in his role at Futureheads has found a leadership position that allows him to balance a values led approach with commercial thinking.

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