February 22, 2023

Why Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone is Key to Success in Recruitment, with Mike O’Riordan, Ep #163

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Is fear and self-doubt preventing you from building your personal brand and growing your recruitment business?

In this episode, you’ll discover how my guest Mike O’Riordan overcomes his tendency to be a perfectionist, pushes outside his comfort zone and gets things done. 

Mike is the founder of Blackwater Search & Advisory, a global executive search and advisory firm focused on the ETF and Digital Assets market. I’ve known Mike for almost 3 years and have witnessed his rapid growth from a one-man band with no recruitment industry experience to running a hugely successful boutique.

Get ready to be inspired by Mike’s story and learn how to overcome the pitfalls of perfectionism in your recruitment business.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [01:49] Mike’s catchphrase, “I’m executing the shit out of this stuff.”
  • [03:33] What is an ETF?
  • [05:20] Why Mike shifted from a decades-long career in banking to recruiting.
  • [11:04] Is the negative perception of recruiters justified?
  • [19:50] The company’s current size and structure after four years.
  • [23:12] The impact of hiring an effective marketing person.
  • [28:24] Why perfectionism can cost you millions of dollars.
  • [33:10] How digital marketing has been a game changer for Mike’s business.
  • [42:47] Why an email newsletter is a good way to start marketing.
  • [45:17] Discussion about creating video content – Mike’s journey.
  • [48:40] Get comfortable in being uncomfortable – why getting out of your comfort zone is critical to success.
  • [54:00] What’s next for the Blackwater search?

Perfectionism Can Cost You Millions of Dollars

Mike and I first spoke back in March 2020, and he was one of the first people who enrolled in my Billings Accelerator program, which has evolved into our Inner Circle community of recruitment business owners. 

Despite having less recruitment experience, Mike made faster progress than many others in his cohort. The reason? Mike is someone who implements like crazy. I remember asking him how he was doing that, achieving so much in a short time. His answer: “Mark, I am just executing the shit out of this stuff.” What a catchphrase!

Mike is now successfully running a global ETF and Digital Assets consulting and executive search firm. In retrospect, Mike never would have imagined achieving so much after spending 20 years as a salaryman in financial institutions. To what does he attribute his success? For Mike, it is about just getting it done. It does not have to be perfect. The most important thing is just to do it. You can always improve it later.

I agree with this a hundred percent! I’m certain that perfectionism has personally cost me a million dollars or more. Looking back on my 21 years as a coach, I can truly relate to how perfectionism – another word for procrastination – has lost me so much potential. That is why this interview with Mike is an eye-opener to so many recruitment business owners out there. Whatever business strategy you are struggling to implement, it doesn’t have to be perfect, what matters is you go out and do it.

Effective Recruitment Marketing is a Game Changer

Another area that we explored in our conversation is the importance of having an effective marketing person on your team. For Mike, this has been a game-changer. You will hear how their marketing strategies have enabled them to leapfrog ahead of their competition and win business with clients that are household names. 

Some of the marketing implementations that were discussed by Mike are:

  • Newsletter
  • Market Insight Reports
  • Salary Survey
  • Video Series
  • Podcast
  • Webinars

We discussed what changed Mike’s mind about recording videos, as to begin with it was not his cup of tea. Just like most of us, he hated to hear his own voice. But he didn’t let the fact he was uncomfortable stop him from taking action.

Get Comfortable in Being Uncomfortable

A known enemy of success is being too comfortable, which may hinder you from stepping out of your comfort zone. Mike and I believe that getting comfortable with being uncomfortable relates to everything in life. If you are not uncomfortable, you may not be trying hard enough, or not pushing yourself enough. 

“When our back sets to the wall, that is when we really realize that there is stuff we can do we never really imagined,” as Mike puts it. The same with a recruitment business, stepping outside of your comfort zone is key to your success.

Our Sponsors

This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro and Recruitment Entrepreneur.

i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees, and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here: www.recruitmentcoach.com/retained

Recruitment Entrepreneur is the world’s leading Private Equity firm specializing in the international recruitment industry. If you’ve dreamed of starting, scaling, and selling your recruitment business, this is your chance. James Caan and his team at Recruitment Entrepreneur are actively seeking ambitious recruiters in who they can invest. They provide everything you need to grow a successful recruitment business including funding, financial expertise, coaching and mentoring, operational strategy, back-office support, marketing, and talent attraction solutions. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Start a conversation here: https://recruitmentcoach.com/vc

Mike O’Riordan Bio and Contact Info

Mike has over 20 years FinancialServices experience. He started his career in Investment Banking working at Deutsche Bank and RBS before moving to Credit Suisse where he began his Asset Management career. He has worked at Credit Suisse, HSBC, BlackRock, and JP Morgan in various product roles covering Mutual Funds and ETFs. Michael launched Blackwater Search & Advisory in May 2019. Blackwater is a global recruiting and consulting company focused on the ETF and Digital Assets market.

People and Resources Mentioned

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