No matter what industry you hail from, learning every day is key to running a successful business. Here’s my list of must-read books that will help entrepreneurs like you run a successful recruitment agency, nurture a high-performance team and make more money as a result.
I’ve either read or listened to all of the books on this list, and each one of them has had a real impact on me both personally and professionally. Hope you get as much out of them as I have!
5 books every recruitment agency owner should read
1. Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard
If you’re the type of person who finds it hard to delegate and have a tendency to micro-manage across different aspects of your business, this is a great book for you.
In this book, Yvon Chouinard champions the ‘management by absence' business approach – something that helped him grow his outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, into a leading and internationally-recognised brand.
The management-by-absence approach encourages you to take a step back, recognise your own limitations and appoint qualified staff who you trust to run the company. Chouinard argues that this the only way to ensure all aspects of your business run to the highest standard.
The book has plenty of lessons for would-be entrepreneurs: Most notably, how following your instincts can create a niche even in the most crowded field and that letting go of areas of your business can actually help it run better.
2. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
This book is a must-read for anyone operating in a sales environment, and it's an information goldmine for recruiters.
The author, Dr. Robert Cialdini, is a leading psychologist specialising in influence and persuasion. In this book, he explains the psychology of why people say "yes" and how to apply these understandings to the workplace so you get better results.
If you read Cialdini’s book, you'll learn the six universal principles of persuasion, how to use them and how to defend yourself against them. This one is perfect for agency owners, as the principles of Influence will move you toward personal change and act as a driving force for your success.3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Not giving a f*ck might seem counter-intuitive to the highly driven world of recruitment, but bear with me on this one…
In this book, Mark Manson argues that in practice, there are only so many things we can give a f**k about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter and focus on these if we want to achieve success and happiness.
If we’re open to learning and accepting our limitations, we can focus on our strengths and what we’re genuinely passionate about, and this will be way more rewarding than spreading ourselves thin trying to succeed at absolutely everything.
For an agency owner trying to have it all, this book offers a refreshing look at why you should give yourself a break instead of worrying about every little thing that, in the end, probably doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.
4. Atomic Habits by James Clear
We all know good habits drive positive change, and equally bad habits have the potential to wreak havoc on your business!
James Clear’s book is an interesting look at the four ‘laws’ that will help you set – and more importantly maintain – good habits within your business. It’ll reshape the way you think about progress and success whether you’re leading a team looking to grow, or a solo recruiter hoping to redefine an industry.5. Why we sleep by Matthew Walker
In an industry where burning the candle at both ends is the norm, this will come as a bit of a surprise to many of us, but Matthew Walker really, really thinks we all need some serious shut-eye.
He's not messing around when it comes to getting you on board, either – from page one, he hits you with both barrels and never lets up:
‘Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer. [It] increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure… [and] contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.’
Hard hitting stuff! But in an industry where burnout is all too common, it’s definitely worth a read. This book really pushed me to appreciate how much sleep could be affecting how I work. If you want to run a successful business for years to come, take the time to read this (and thank me later!).
Another great way to run a successful business is to learn from those at the top - we put together some data on what the top recruitment agencies are doing right. Click the button below if you'd like to check it out.
Cameron McLennan works within recruitment technology industry. Outside of work, he loves spending time with his family and playing golf.