Recruitment is a hyper-competitive industry. With a record number of businesses actively trading and entering the market each year, business owners have to continually evolve their growth strategies.

Rapid digitalisation is transforming the industry, making it vitally important that recruitment businesses remain on trend to provide the best service to candidates and clients.

In this ever changing business landscape, combining tried and tested approaches with new techniques makes the difference between growing or stagnating.

We spoke to five recruitment business owners about the strategies they’re pursuing to grow their business. Here’s what they had to say…


Accelerating our growth curve.
Mark Hodges, Founder and Director, Masentó Group

  • Established: 2017
  • Sector: Data & Analytics and SAP
  • 12 month target: reach 100 contractors
  • Target: increase headcount, penetrate SAP and D&A markets in mainland Europe and open a new division under Masentó Group

Since we launched in 2017, our growth has been stratospheric. We’ve added a new hire to the business nearly every ten weeks and grown our total invoice value by 678%.

With the global data and analytics market expected to reach $260 billion in 2022* we’re forecasting continued growth in each of our regions (UK, DACH, BENELUX & Scandinavia), targeting 100 contractors working across our client base by March 2020.

To maximise this opportunity and accelerate our growth curve, we’ve set out plans to nearly double our headcount in London by March 2020.

Key elements that have enabled us to grow:

  • Market specialisation. Our DNA is Data & Analytics. We strive to be the leading expert in this market and plan to continue expanding into data specialisms.
  • Hiring the right people. We recognise the importance of cultural fit. Incubating our European operations from London means we need to have the right people running our recruitment processes.
  • Use our experience. With a combined 50 years experience across the directors, we understand what works and what doesn’t. This means we can ‘cookie cutter’ certain processes quickly, giving us time to think about the bigger picture.
  • Don’t micro-manage. The world has changed and the recruitment industry has moved on from when we started! We encourage the team to attend events, work to objectives and meet as many customers as possible. Each director is on hand to support and advise.
  • Invest in our infrastructure. We use the best in class tech to develop and attract the best talent. Strong cash flow position enables us to reinvest in team to grow quicker.

*International Data Corp (IDC)

Masento Group

To discuss hiring, job enquiries or to find out more about career opportunities, visit Masentó Group



Retain focus on why you’re doing this.
Oliver Jennings, Founder and Managing Director, Sona Resourcing

  • Established: 2016
  • Sector: IT, Human Resources, Oil & Gas, Finance & Accounting, Marketing & Sales
  • Target: double headcount in next 12 months
  • Key actions: grow contract division, increase marketing spend

The market is performing well – contract placements in IT and Oil & Gas have grown rapidly, with good day rates and contract lengths. As Sona Resourcing continues to grow quickly, we’re focusing on succession planning as we aim to double headcount in next 12 months.

I’m placing a strong emphasis on training and development to ensure that we’re continuing to build out the skills needed to be number one in such a competitive market.

Make sure you retain focus on the motivation to start your business. I founded Sona Resourcing in 2016, working from home for the first year whilst building the business. Sona is a combination of my daughter’s Sophia and Naomi’s names and acts as a daily reminder of what I’m building.

Key elements that have enabled us to grow:

  • Build the right infrastructure. Having solid back-office support, enables me to do my day job. When you start out on your own the most important thing is to focus on billing. Don’t spend time running processes that distract you or you have not experience doing. Ultimately, if you don’t focus on what you’re trained to do, you won’t grow.
  • Focus on your clients. We’re very client focused. This means that we’re very honest and open with our clients about the roles we take on. There’s nothing worse that overpromising and under delivering. If a role isn’t in the areas you specialise, recommended someone you know who can help, it will pay off in the long-term.
  • Analyse your numbers. KPIs help evaluate performance. However, you need to be realistic about how you manage the KPIs. I believe in creating a mature environment. People join our business because they want to have a rewarding career and earn money. If the team wants to take a break and play Fifa, that’s cool.
  • First impressions count. When you start out, you feel as though you have to prove yourself as a recruiter all over again. Building the right client base is so important. Making sure that you absolutely nail the first placement sounds obvious, but is so crucial.
  • Get out of the office. A key part of business development is meeting people. Cross-selling, understanding the hiring manager’s drivers, rates and processes is critical. Use meetings to cross-sell the business and discuss a sample of CVs to firm-up criteria on hard and soft-skills.

Sona Resourcing

To discuss hiring or job enquiries, contact Oliver at Sona Resourcing



Relationships are your most valuable asset. As is respect.
Jo Blayney, Founder and Managing Director, Blayney Financial

  • Established: 2003
  • Sector: Financial Services
  • 12 month target: continue to build a sustainable business that delivers the best possible service and value for our clients, whilst also delivering the best work life balance

Since 2003, we’ve placed hundreds of contractors into financial services business throughout the UK and abroad. As 90% of our business is currently contractors, we need to be incredibly good at tracking market movements and predicting spikes in demand.

To ensure we’re ready, we monitor regulation in our industry, and plan our talent acquisition and client strategies accordingly. In our field we have seen regulator decisions lead to the hiring of 1000 contractors in one particular area for just one bank. These changes cause ripples of hires throughout the market. We have to ensure our network is ready to help our clients respond to this. When an experienced hire is made, they have to come from somewhere!

Key elements that have enabled us to grow:

  • Prepare for peaks and troughs. Any business owner will recognise the need to juggle your time. Blend it evenly or your results will be equally lumpy. Plan and prepare for the next sudden influx of demand and have plans for troughs so they’re not too depressing!
  • Outsource smartly. The secret to running a small business is remembering that “cash is king”. For all of micro and macro threats facing your business, the one thing that will put you under is cash flow. We outsource smartly to a select group of specialists (accountancy, finance, back-office, candidate acquisition). This keeps our cash flow stable and gives us option to ramp up smartly to supply and meet demand and keep our clients happy.
  • Maintain a captive audience. Building newsletters and thought-leadership is a great strategy to build up a dedicated following from group of people with a skillset that you forecast to be in demand.
  • Track regulatory change. Keep an eye on what’s happening. Traditionally, a lot of firms don’t want to carry a lot of perm staff that work on these types of projects. It wouldn’t make sense to. So they augment their team with externally sourced subject matter experts. From us.
  • Get tighter. Clients are much more demanding than they used to be in just about every respect! As the world has become more digital, so too has the hiring process. However, the basics of recruitment haven’t changed. Clear communication is key. Understand your clients needs, wants, hopes and manage their expectations with a realistic solution that you know you can deliver well. That will earn more respect.

Blayney Financial

To discuss hiring or job enquiries, please contact the team at Blayney Financial


Invest in marketing to enhance your value proposition.
Quentin Downes, Co-owner, twenty84

  • Established: 2017
  • Sector: Fintech and Financial Services
  • 12 month target: double headcount, open new office
    Key actions: penetrate existing client base, win new clients, maintain quality of service, develop marketing

Digital transformation is making hiring managers rethink their recruitment and hiring strategies. As market experts we’re uniquely positioned to provide a deeper level of insight to prospects and clients. To be successful, you need to be a true consultancy and have conversations with your clients around every element of the recruitment process.

At twenty84, we’re focusing on developing our contract book as part of our business growth strategy. We’re a very niche business, focusing on risk, regulatory and compliance. The perm market is buoyant within the UK Insurtech and Fintech markets*.

Key elements that have enabled us to grow:

  • Build long-term relationships. The days of transactional recruitment are gone. We focus on maintaining our quality of service. This is everything from first-touchpoint to post-placement communication. I travel to London three days per week to meet with clients, it’s really important to get face time.
  • Focus on conversion. At any business stage you want to work towards being the number one supplier. If there’s five agencies on a PSL, your objective is to examine how profitable the relationship will be in the short, medium and long-term and then plan strategies to move through the pool of suppliers until you’re in pole position.
  • Pay close attention to your pipeline. We review our pipeline to ensure we’re sustainably growing our revenue. I’m a big believer in building our tech stack to give us maximum efficiency and visibility of what we need to action and when.
  • Develop your brand presence to enhance credibility. Marketing and brand building is an important strategy we’re focusing on. To acquire referrals, win more business and develop relationships requires credibility in the marketplace. Combining marketing strategies to engage and develop trust with our focus on delivery, is central to growing our business.
  • Focus on being better. As a business owner I spend the majority of my time on delivery, business development and thinking about where I want the business to go. To support decision making, I digest as much information about the fintech, financial services and recruitment industry as possible. We attend regular industry events and talks and are members of TEAM.

*Insurtech and Fintech are the biggest employers among high-growth digital tech firms in 2018, employing 24% and 18% of the high-growth workforce respectively.


To discuss hiring or job enquiries, please contact the team at twenty84