Q&A with Terry Edwards, the Renegade Recruiter

At Recruiters Websites, we strive to serve as a resource for our clients, and we look for innovators with valuable ideas. We recently sat down with Renegade Recruiter coach and former recruiter, Terry Edwards, to hear what he has to say about disrupting the recruiting model—and what a recruiter should never, ever do.


Drew and Terry Edwards, Renegade Recruiter
Drew and Terry Edwards, Renegade Recruiter coach

RW: What makes you stand out? 

A: In a nutshell, 80 percent of recruiting businesses won’t be around 10 years from now. Sadly, 20% are struggling and just getting by and only 3 percent will be millionaires from their search firm. At Renegade Recruiter, we’re doing things differently—and sharing with recruiting and search firm owners ways they can create the business of their dreams.  

RW: How do you mean?

A: It’s about doing things differently. If you keep doing what the majority are doing, you will get their results—and most of them won’t be around 10 years from now. If you want to be successful, look at what the masses are doing, and do the opposite. Their websites, for instance. What was it based on? They might have looked at a competitor’s site and molded it on that. The fees will be average of what the competitors are charging. The methods for getting business will be very much the same as everyone else. They are copying methods without actually knowing if those methods work.

What we have done is looked at the most successful independent recruitment/search firms in the world and found they tend to do things a lot differently and enjoyed more success.

RW: What’s your call on how the process should look?

A: First, experience has shown that having the right mindset is critical for business success. We all know that we would rather employ a positive can-do individual rather than a moaning Minnie who is always telling anyone who will listen why things are not going well.

Secondly, as business owners, you should decide who you work with, when, and for what fees, not the other way round. In my opinion, you should never, ever cold call and beg for business from strangers. Never, ever. The business ethos we encourage our clients to have is, “My business, my rules.” None of our clients work on a contingency basis, competing against four or five other recruiters, trying to fill the same role. That’s plain dumb.

RW: That’s bold!

A: Well, here’s why. The average contingent recruiter will fill only 20 to 30 percent of the roles they’re working on. Think about that. That means 70 to 80 percent of the time they’re working, they’re not going to get paid. If a hiring manager says, “You can have this job order. I’ve given it to four competitors,” and the recruiter says OK, that doesn’t lead to a respectful relationship. That’s not right.

Hiring managers rarely—if ever—have the best of intentions for your business. Stop asking if they are recruiting right now because you will only end up working on a contingency basis. However, if you ask a hiring manager about their future hiring needs, you are more likely to get the future job orders on a retained or the very least exclusive basis, rather than competing with other recruiters on the same job order. 

There are hundreds of ways a recruiting or search firm can get in front of a hiring manager or decision maker without cold calling. In fairness, most recruiters have never been shown the other methods, so they keep doing what they’ve always done, and getting the same results.

RW: Where have you seen recruiters have the best success?

A: The really successful recruiters sell the solution to the client’s problem—not recruiting. 

Let’s say you had a headache. I say, “Hi, I’m Terry, I’ve manufactured tablets for 15 years.” I give you my mission statement, my website, a photo of my sales team. You couldn’t care less. You have a headache, and want me to take the pain away. So, if I say, in copy, what if your headaches caused by stress of your social life, your work, could be taken away once and for all? Now I’ve got your interest. There’s a solution. 

RW: What would you say is your main goal?

A: Twenty-four years ago, I had my own search business. For the first three years, I really struggled. I’d previously worked for a big search firm in London. I did very well working for somebody else, and struggled on my own. I happened to meet a coach, who said something that transformed my life. “Your success in business has nothing to do with how good you are at doing the recruiting. It has everything to do with how good you are with attracting candidates and clients.”

He transformed our business, literally. We got really good at attracting clients and candidates. My business partner at the time had a falling out, and because of an agreement, I couldn’t do what I did before. I thought, “What I learned from this coach, I’ll share this. I’ll do this for a couple of years.” That was 18 years ago. I never did go back to recruiting. 

My son Drew and I work together now. I count myself very lucky, very lucky. 

RW: Thank you for your time, Terry! Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

A: I’d like to offer a free copy of my book Discover the 7 Proven Strategies to Boost Profits in Your Recruitment or Search Business to the first 30 recruiters who sign up here. You will also get access to a free training video about the secret to making more placements at higher fees with fewer headaches. 


For more Renegade Recruiter, check out Terry’s YouTube channel.

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Emily Blattel

Emily brings more than 15 years of professional experience in public relations, advertising and marketing to Recruiters Websites, with a special emphasis on media relations, digital and social media strategy and implementation, content creation, internal communication, creative strategy and event planning.

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