Scale Up

THE FRONTLINE – The Global Recruiter takes a look behind the scenes at NonStop Recruitment as it expands its international operations.

With an 18 year history, NonStop Recruitment has (almost) always been an international recruitment business. However this year the business has taken further steps forward in diversifying its locations and growing headcount and offices alike.

Firstly, the business will now have a focus in Bucharest, Romania where, as in the Prague office, there is an attractively lower cost of doing business when it comes to the likes of overheads than in other commercial centres such as London while offering access a multilingual talent pool hungry for success. The move to open in Romania came off the back of the success the business has had in Prague, where it has had a base for several years now and relocated young people from around the Continent, but also in recognition of the fact a lot of Romanians speak multiple languages and have an innate drive and willingness to learn, which is exactly what the company values.

Bucharest will open at the end of this year and will be led by one of the company’s most successful consultants, Anca Busoi, who is keen to return to her home country after successfully developing a high-performing team of 10 people in Prague. She is now tasked with growing the Bucharest office to 150 people over the next few years. Business-wise the office will not focus on any particular sectors or industries – it will theoretically replicate what the company is doing in other locations with teams of multilingual people supporting clients throughout Europe, though will focus more on contract recruitment.

Meanwhile, across in the USA, Boston is set to be the home of the first NonStop office outside Europe. This move is a direct response to increasing client demand, specifically within the life sciences industry. “We work with many of the large pharmaceutical companies in Europe, as well as many smaller companies, and we’re finding that more and more often, they want our assistance with their US staffing needs,” says managing director Oliver Donoghue. “Boston specifically is a US hub for the pharma and biotech industry with nearly 1000 companies in the area and while we will be supporting existing clients, we will also look to expand our client base.”

The new office will initially be managed by relocating three key senior members of staff including head of training and development Henry Brodie, alongside plans to hire local talent in the near future. In the long term, the plan is to replicate the successful, fast-growth European business model by focusing on hiring new or recent graduates and giving them a high standard of recruitment training.

Luxembourg

NonStop has identified Luxembourg as a strategic location to base some key people and expand an office in due to the proximity to a lot of clients. 

“Our work with Belgian, French and German-based clients has grown significantly over the last few years and Luxembourg is located in a pivotal position right in the centre of those countries,” says sales director Ben Jones. “It is also a financial and legal hub so we’re excited about the opportunities it brings to further support clients in the area, provide a base for visiting those clients and also look to work with companies locally.”

While it may be full steam ahead for these new offices, there is no less focus on developing teams in existing offices – specifically Prague, London and Portsmouth. 

“Historically we hired people with no prior recruitment experience, helped them relocate to Prague where they received our award-winning training (also highly commended by Global Recruiter in 2016) and then, once proving they could work relatively autonomously, they could choose which of our offices they wanted to work from, with continual professional development regardless of location,” explains Jones. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort recently into reviewing and improving our training model so it can be more flexible and, long term, won’t necessarily require people to relocate to Prague. Instead we will be able to be deliver that training at any office, with people on the ground in each location ready to train others.”

In short, the business can then hire directly into each office, growing those locations independently.

The growth intention

“NonStop always has and always will be a highly ambitious business focused on growth,” says founder Kevin Smith. Opening new offices in new locations has always been a key element of that focus so while it isn’t possible to determine the exact amount of time spent on planning the moves, they’ve always been on the cards. Making it happen has been about finding the right moment. 

The Going Global plans were officially announced mid last year and since then, a lot of focus has been placed on upskilling employees a move has itself led to a significant increase in monthly sales per head and 60 per cent more placements per month so the business is understandably confident that they’re in a good position now to make the leap. 

With incorporated entities ready and office leases signed or being negotiated in the various locations work is underway to fit out those offices. 

The growth and expansion has been 100 per cent organic. The business has always been grown organically through the prioritisation of training and development and reinvesting profits. There are no plans to change this model. 

“The organic growth we’re really proud of is not necessarily on the financial side though, it’s on the people side,” says Kevin. “99 per cent of NonStop recruiters, including directors, joined with no prior recruitment experience and progressed through our completely meritocratic career path.” In other words the talent now driving the business forward started on day one in an entry-level role, learning the role of recruitment, building their own niche market, developing and successfully running that market, stepping up into a team leader position, growing a team and coaching team members to achieve their own success, stepping up to senior management and so on. 

As Kevin explains: “At NonStop, promotions are all based on transparent, meritocratic criteria meaning that, unlike with some more traditional career options, progression is purely down to the individual person and their performance rather than waiting for a management role to become available due to someone else leaving or changing roles, which ultimately sees both our headcount and business structure grow organically, and the financial growth comes as a result of that.”