Frank Recruitment Group is a global niche technology staffing firm. The company includes 9 specialist brands, bringing together professionals with unparalleled expertise in their unique fields. Since launching in 2006, they’ve expanded to four continents, with thousands of recruiters dedicated to finding the best talent the technology industry has to offer. Bunker works with Frank Recruitment Group to simplify the insurance process for those independent professionals, so that every link in the supply chain is properly protected.
We sat down with CEO and Chairman James Lloyd-Townshend to learn more about the secrets to Frank Recruitment Group’s success, his advice for independent professionals, and what the future holds for the world of on-demand technology staffing.
How has Frank Recruitment Group evolved in the years since it started?
It’s changed massively in terms of size, but our ethos has remained the same. Our first office had three people working in it in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in North East England. We now operate in 20 cities around the world, with a global headcount of 2,000 employees, and we expect that number to increase considerably in the next 12 months. We’ve grown from a single brand servicing Microsoft Dynamics to a suite of market-leading recruitment brands, with each individual business focusing on staffing for technologies such as Azure, AWS, and Salesforce.
What unique pain point is Frank Recruitment Group solving?
In the markets we operate in, there just aren’t enough professionals to fulfill the demand from employers. Our goal is to try and solve that conundrum, and to be the go-to people for a solution. We’re filling roles in areas of technology where the candidate holds all of the power, so they can dictate what they want from an employer. They have particular requirements for specialist knowledge of the platform they work with, which a generalist recruiter simply wouldn’t have. Our consultants will only ever work with one platform, meaning they’re fully absorbed in the ecosystem. They know the trends that affect the people and companies working within them, and can make the right decisions for clients and candidates based on that expert knowledge.
How is Frank Recruitment Group helping move the future of work forward, as well as helping the workers themselves?
We’re trying to find the next generation of professionals who can fill those specialized positions, nurturing them, and giving them the skills they need ourselves. Our tech academies find candidates who may not have the experience necessary, but have transferable skills and the desire to succeed in a new field. We give them the necessary training and qualifications, and then help to place them with companies where they can gain experience. There’s a finite amount of talent on the marketplace, so we are trying to help by increasing the pool of candidates available to hire.
What has been the biggest surprise for you over the years?
Just how dedicated a motivated workforce can be to your business. It may sound simple, but we work hard to make our employees feel valued. We spend a lot of money on creating fantastic incentives, as well as offering an incredible commission structure. However, the business wouldn’t survive with only salespeople, meaning we have to keep every member of the staff happy – they have to want to come to work. We have a clear process that gives every consultant that joins us the tools they need to succeed. That means someone joining the business isn’t left to their own devices to try and find a way to achieve results. Any salesperson who is coming into work each day, hitting their targets, and earning commission is going to be on a high, and that’s how we want people to feel when they are working for us.
What do you think the Gig Economy will look like in 5 years?
Technology has been a fantastic example of how a gig economy can thrive, and I think the trend towards using freelancers is only going to increase in that time. The International Data Corporation (IDC) has predicted that 65% of enterprises will be aggressively modernizing legacy systems between now and 2023, so that demand for implementation specialists is going to be there for the foreseeable future. We serve businesses that are implementing new technologies and don’t need to hire a brand-new team of IT professionals, but they do need to hire some specialists in the short term who can help with projects that are complex and require a very specific and highly sought-after skillset.
What piece of advice would you give to other businesses in the contingent workforce/staffing space?
Firstly, you need to be bold with what you’re offering—you either need to go big or go niche, and there’s not a right or wrong way to do it, but it’s almost impossible to do both successfully. We managed it, but it took some big throws of the dice and, more importantly, a lot of hard work. You then need to surround yourself with good people who can make quality decisions consistently. Your day-to-day job will be made infinitely easier when you have the very best in their field guiding you through the journey. On a similar note, make sure that any strategic initiatives have someone accountable for it. If nobody has the time to own it, hire someone to. Every project needs a person who is ultimately responsible for it otherwise it’ll never progress.
What advice would you give to independent professionals?
Make sure you invest the time, money and energy into branding yourself. That can cover anything from attending industry events to making sure you’re certified or qualified highly enough to appeal to potential employers. I encounter professionals on such a regular basis who tell me they’re good at their job, but are struggling to get noticed. Yet, their LinkedIn is either out of date or barely existent. How are they expecting to be found? If you’re a contractor, then you have to have some business acumen—you are your brand, and you need to invest in that. You wouldn’t open a coffee shop then just hope people hear about it, you’d go out of your way to make sure that they knew you were there.
What’s on the horizon for Frank Recruitment Group?
We’re an ambitious company that always wants to better ourselves – that’s why our year-over-year growth averages over 40%. We’re always looking at the markets we operate in to see if there’s something we can do differently or, geographically, if there’s somewhere where there’s a demand for our services. That means expansion is never far away—we hope to welcome our 2,000th employee early this year. For a business that started life in an office with just three people, it’s remarkable that less than 15 years later, we have a workforce that’s in the thousands. We will keep working hard to make sure that number grows.
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