Unveiling the Recruitment Success Code – Is it the Person or the Market?

Hey Recruitment Rockstars! Guess what? We recently tuned in to ‘Het Recruitment Café’ where Kevin Wouters dives into the world of recruitment with James Caan, yeah, the legendary entrepreneur. We stumbled upon a goldmine of wisdom dropped by James. Towards the end of the podcast, a crucial question surfaces about the challenges that entrepreneurs face in saturated markets. James Caan’s response sheds light on the essence of success in the recruitment business.

Mirthe Van Brussel on February 19, 2024 Average reading time: 3 min
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Unveiling the Recruitment Success Code – Is it the Person or the Market?

The Market – A Crowded Playground

Addressing the question of market saturation, James emphasizes that although the Dutch marketplace may appear fiercely competitive, it pales in comparison to its counterpart, the UK market which is the most saturated in the world. With 65 million people and a whopping 27 thousand recruitment businesses, the UK has more agencies than the United States, which has a population of 400 million. However, this is where James throws a curveball. He asserts that success in recruitment isn’t about geography or sectors but about people.

The Golden Lesson – It’s All About People

James reveals a valuable lesson learned through years of experience that thriving in recruitment hinges not on the market itself, but rather on the individuals driving the business operations. He debunks the myth that success is guaranteed by specializing in a specific sector. To illustrate this point, he references an instance where a consultant lucratively earned 1.2 million within technology, a sector traditionally considered challenging.

As per James, recruitment is a people-based business. Even in the toughest markets, the right person can succeed. In support of this, he shares a personal story about backing a recruitment entrepreneur specializing in graduate recruitment. It’s a sector considered tough due to low fees and high volume. The entrepreneur’s passion, drive, and unwavering belief defied the odds to achieve outstanding success. This further proved that it’s the person, not the market, that makes all the difference.

Backing the Right Horse – A Personal Touch

Delving deeper into his personal experience about backing a recruitment entrepreneur focused on graduate recruitment, although he was initially hesitant due to the perceived challenges of the market, he ultimately chose to back her because he wanted to stay true to his roots of backing people. This entrepreneur went on to establish Venatrix, a graduate recruitment business and emerged as one of the top performers in the portfolio. Her success story reinforces James’s mantra that it’s the person you back, not the market.

Passion Trumps Market Challenges

Despite the tough conditions in the tech sector and the challenges associated with graduate recruitment, James’s experiences highlight that passion, commitment, and a deep belief in your work can lead to success. The key takeaway for budding recruitment leaders and recruiters is clear. The right attitude coupled with dedication can turn any market into a thriving ground for success no matter how crowded or challenging.


In the fiercely competitive recruitment world, James Caan’s insights provide powerful insights. Whether you’re navigating the bustling Dutch market or the saturated England scene, the secret sauce lies in the individual. Recruitment is not just a business. It’s a people-centric business. So, if you’re contemplating a sector switch or feeling overwhelmed by market conditions, remember James’s golden rule: back the right person and success will follow.

Remember, this article isn’t a transcript, it’s a cheat sheet of the best bits. Now, go out there and rock the recruitment world!

Catch the full podcast here. Stay tuned for more insider tips and tricks on Totalent.eu!



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