​When starting a new business, you look for opportunities to stand out from the crowd or ways to disrupt a market. All too often in recruitment, the people are overshadowed by a short-term transaction. We knew this was something that needed to change. We saw a massive gap in the market for a truly customer-centric model, similar to those that are prevalent in other sectors, where the focus is on building enduring relationships between a customer and a brand, based on honest, easy and valuable interactions.

For me personally, this realisation that there was another way to build a recruitment business came whilst working for my previous employer. As a large international recruitment firm, the very structure of the business and its operating model meant the role of the recruiter was incredibly transactional. Whilst not necessarily a problem for these firms (the model works and they are all very profitable), I found that I was able to be far more successful when I took the relationship beyond well-meaning business acquaintance to develop true friendships.

The rest is history and over the last two years, I have really enjoyed seeing the impact that this approach is having on our clients and candidates. If you haven’t worked with the Talenza team yet, here is a snapshot of what we’ve been doing differently.

The Talenza Difference

When we set up the business, the first thing we did was implement a set of core values that guide how we work with people every day: to be “True Partners”, be “Genuine”, “Take the Initiative”and “Get it Done.” When we recruit into our own team, we make sure that the people coming into our business align with these, and train them on how we approach conversations with our clients and candidates. We believe in this to such a degree that we’ve even found ourselves turning away fantastic recruiters with excellent pedigree and experience, simply because they didn’t align with each of our four core values.

In addition, we think transparency and open communication are crucial. As true partners, it is essential to have frank and honest discussions with our clients and candidates. One of the biggest examples of what makes us unique is our open-book policy around our margins.

Using contractor rates as an example, traditionally, the contractor has very little idea of the client charge rate and vice versa. This can lead to all sorts of internal issues, in extreme cases with contractors being paid below-market rate or clients paying well above market rate (recruitment agency margins of 30 per cent plus are not unheard of in the technology sector!). It can also mean that similarly, skilled contractors are all earning different rates for the same role, with clients being oblivious to the disparity.

We realised that the solution to this problem is, in fact, very simple – we operate an open book policy with all our clients with an upfront agreed flat percentage margin (plus costs) across the board. This means we can show the organisation and the contractor exactly what is being charged and paid to both parties, ensuring everyone knows where they stand and are confident that they’re being treated fairly.

For us, this obviously means there are times when we make less revenue than our competitors. However, it is a long-term strategy that, in our opinion, is far better for the ongoing success of both Talenza our clients and candidates.

Following feedback from both clients and candidates, the overwhelming consensus is that this approach is not only working but something that is setting an example within the wider recruitment market. This is reflected in the number of referrals we receive, the loyalty of the contractors that choose to work with us and, of course, the growth of the business, which is now 29 people across two offices in a little over two and a half years.

At the end of the day, our ethos here at Talenza is simple; treat people how you’d expect to be treated and you’ll go far. If you’re looking for a technology & business transformation recruitment partner that puts the customer first, we’d love to speak with you.


Henry Gatehouse

Co-Founder & Co-CEO