Expert commercial advice and support for recruitment businesses

Expert commercial advice and support for recruitment businesses

Expert commercial advice and support for recruitment businesses

Welcome to the Imperfect Circle

We’re here to help you do something a little different…

This is blog number one, the primal blog if you will. I’ll probably be publishing a thought or two every now and then (content, content, content…) so if you can tolerate the below you might get something out of future blogs. It’ll be more of the same but with practical thought-leadership stuff about exciting topics like public procurement, payment terms, supply chain management, the future or MSP/RPO and why we all need to stop using the word ‘bespoke’ (just… stop).

Who are we? (aka ‘Our purpose’)

At the time of writing, my wife and I have been together for just shy of 19 years. In all that time (and this includes when we were both at university) I’ve struggled to explain just what it is that I do for a living. That’s something that I’m probably going to need to get a whole lot better at.

But you might have to bear with me.

If I’m honest, I started Imperfect Circle for the same reasons that most people start a business: because I wanted to work for myself and do the stuff I enjoy and/or that I’m (very) good at, but with the variety of working with lots of different people. My personal financial goals are also grounded in a simple reality: years from now, I want my daughter to leave school in the knowledge that she can do whatever she wants to do – be that university, travelling, starting a career or getting a Canadian passport in order to become the 1,000thmember of the Arcade Fire – without having to go immediately into crippling, lifelong debt to fund her lifestyle choices from adulthood up until the plastic apocalypse.

I’m not a big fan of mission statements. Look up the same for the top 50 or so recruitment businesses (or any businesses for that matter) and see how often you can spot the same words and phrases: “specialist”, “bespoke”(seriously…) “trusted partner”, “business/partner of choice”and – my favourite – “powering”(the world of work/people/our robot overseers). I have at least some respect for those that simply state a desire to be the biggest/to outperform everyone else but they all pale in comparison to the world’s most effective statement, courtesy of Conan the Barbarian: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women”. Side note – I was somewhat disappointed to find that someone else has already written a solid business blog recognising Conan’s mastery of the mission statement.

So, if I take a little of what drives me personally and a little bit of Arnie’s immortal (if uncomfortably masculine) sentiment, I think I can probably come up with something, for this blog at least.  

Subject to committee, board approval, mixed-demographic focus groups and a signal of approval from a higher power, let’s try:

Imperfect Circle exists to help recruitment businesses, regardless of size, do things that make their competitors stand up and say:

“Oh. Shit.”

Nailed it. T-shirts available soon.

What do we mean by this wholly-inappropriate statement? It means our aspiration is to help recruitment businesses do big things that others wouldn’t expect them to do or even think them capable of. We want to help debunk some of the myths around MSP, RPO, SOW and many other three-letter abbreviations in order to encourage more recruitment businesses of all sizes to challenge the market for ‘sophisticated’ models. And if you already are an established player, we’re always here to help you too.

Of course, we do lots other things as well. More low-key things like advising on new legislation (who doesn’t love off-payroll reform?) developing governance policies, reviewing contracts, drafting service schedules/SLAs, building effective bid functions and managing operational risks. But that doesn’t look so good on the t-shirt.

We can also help businesses and technology providers in the wider talent management and HR services community as well as in-house recruitment functions wanting to procure the best mix of services to support their hiring strategies.

I think that covers it.

Who are we not?

We’re not a recruiter and we’re not here to tell you the best channels for sourcing cyber security professionals – you’ve (hopefully) got that covered. Our aim is to help you get on with doing what you do best; and to do more of it. Whether that’s by helping you in securing new business (or securing a new business), launching new products in new markets or just taking care of some of those niggling concerns you might have about the future.

The royal “we”

Are we more than just one man? Kind of. On the one hand, we’re not exactly looking to be the next McKinsey & Company and I’ve already outlined my modest financial drivers (after all – like Oscar Wilde – I wouldn’t trust any private equity house that wants me in their portfolio). On the other hand, despite my personality, I’ve made a few friends and professional acquaintances in this sector over the years and many of us believe in the gig economy that we’ve all been banging on about. So there’s an embarrassment of free-range talent out there that can be harnessed to deliver a bigger project on short notice. Or I can just work nights.

What’s in a name?

Why are we called Imperfect Circle? I don’t want to give the impression that I just plucked a name out of thin air.


A core part of what we do is asking and then answering difficult questions – whilst considering different perspectives and influences. So here are several different answers to the question I get asked the most:

The mathematician’s answer:

Because there’s no such thing as a perfect circle (at least in the natural universe).

The marketeer’s answer:

Because no one wants to engage a consultancy just to end up right back where they started.

The recruiter’s answer:

Because the circle isn’t complete without you.

The tax avoider’s answer:

Because it’s harder to trace.

The tax inspector’s answer:

Because if we’re too consistent we’ll never catch anyone out.

The aesthete’s answer:

Because there’s beauty in imperfection (and circles?).

The politician’s answer:

Because the circle was an idea introduced by the previous government.

The barista’s answer:

Because the milk isn’t hot enough.

The designer’s answer:

Because freehand is the next big thing.

The nihilist’s answer:

There is no circle.

The cynic’s answer:

Because Perfect Circle Ltd was already a registered business name.

My wife’s answer:

I suppose you think it sounds cool?

The CEO’s answer:

I haven’t got time for this.

Feel free to add yours and then, if we get to 100, we’ll have a totally pointless coffee table book on our hands.

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