Book Review “Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk”

sophieSophie Robertson is the book author of “Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk”. She has spent 18 years working in the recruitment industry in Australia. She was promoted from Consultant to Branch Manager within 12 months. Sophie Robertson also ran the most profitable of 30 branches for a national recruitment firm for five consecutive years. She is the director of Younique Coaching for the past seven years, has delivered coaching and training sessions to recruiters and recruitment businesses. Sophie Robertson is known for her passionate and motivating common-sense approach to recruitment challenges that gets results. You can visit her website at and follow her on Twitter @youniquesophie.

Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk

Last year I came across Sophie Robertson’s book ‘Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk’ and here I would like to share the 9 things that I personally loved the most about this book:

# 1 – The content.

The author covers every topic that you need to know when working as a Temp Consultant. Apart from all the topics mentioned above (in the Content List) it also provides you with information regarding:

* The benefits of hiring temps

* What exactly to say when handling objections

* How to influence people and turn features into benefits

* The key factors to becoming successful

* Clever strategies on how to find temps and how to get more than the necessary information.

I particularly appreciated reading about two other topics “Quality Control” (and how to provide excellent service to clients as well as candidates – a topic which I have not seen covered in much detail in any other recruitment book so far) and “The essential temp metrics” which helps you to stay focused on your tasks and gives you guidelines on how to measure and analyse your performance.

# 2 – The examples.

Mrs Robertson provides very good examples throughout the book on various matters in order to do certain things more effectively and more efficiently. Communication with clients as well as candidates plays a crucial part in it. She delivers real-life samples on how to say and not to say certain things in a convincing and effective way when dealing with both parties, so that right decisions are being made straight from the beginning and mistakes are being avoided. She highlights the importance of being specific and asking lots of questions. Since the recruitment business is a highly competitive industry I found it very useful to see an example with figures which shows how a Consultant is expected to meet daily/weekly and monthly targets.

# 3 – The personal experiences.

She includes in her book ‘Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk’ a wealth of personal experiences and shares the lessons she learnt from it. This will prevent the reader from doing the same mistakes in the future. It’s great to know what tactics she used to get a great deal, to get the attention from clients or candidates or what to do when faced with  challenging situations. When she gives advice it is often backed up by her personal experience which makes it so much more credible and valuable for the reader.

# 4 – The case studies and lessons learnt.

Involving case studies of several companies and summarising afterwards the lessons to be learnt from it gives the book an additional edge. Real life stories are always so much more memorable and it helps every reader to accelerate their personal learning curve dramatically. The author knows how to convey her message in a very good way.

# 5 – The author’s self promotional skills.

The author mastered the skill of self-promotion very well, not in an aggressive or arrogant way but rather subtle way. Sometimes sentences start with “In my experience, …..” and this repetitive sentences emphasise one more time her expertise. She also knows about the power of “quantifiable achievements”. Figures which highlight past successes are always impressive and if any reader out there is in the process of writing their own book too, they can also learn something about ‘effective self-marketing’ from her in that regard.

secrets to running a lucrative temp desk # 6 – The professionalism.

I was impressed about the way she described her working style and the strategies on how to tackle certain challenges etc. If you don’t know exactly what is meant by “working in a professional manner” I can assure you that in this book you will find the answer. I come across a lot of unprofessional behaviour in today’s corporate world but Mrs Robertson showed me in her book that there are some great exceptions! She is surely one of them and her past achievements surely proof that as well! She doesn’t hold back and tells honestly how things are and work (e.g. that sometimes it took her a long time to get a certain high-profile client but then she also reveals how she finally succeeded).

# 7 – The step-by-step lists/checklists.

When you read about many questions for clients as well as candidates the author also shares the reason for asking it in the first place. And it often does make great sense! Once you get started in this job the checklist you will find at the end will proof particularly helpful. She also provides other step-by-step guides and lists which will help you to tackle certain challenges right from the beginning.

# 8 – Other experts included.

Letting other experts talk in their field of expertise is a further great point which adds value to the whole book. Sometimes these parts are a bit more technical, but they are essential and cannot be ignored in order to run a successful temp consultancy. Nigel Horse talks about how recruitment has evolved over time and makes good suggestions as to how the relationship between  consultant and candidates can be improved. Furthermore, David Payne gives valuable info about how to obtain funding for a temp business. Last but not least, Rod Hore’s part is a bit more technical and gives you an understanding as to how you can build a temp and contract desk and how it can impact  business evaluation.

# 9 – Recruitment glossary.

Sophie Robertson doesn’t take it for granted that every reader knows the meaning of certain terms in the particular industry. The book therefore finishes by explaining 14 terms from the recruitment industry! Very useful for newbies!

How would I rate Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk?

I would give it a 10/10. I could not think of anything else that could have added additional value to the book. Every imaginable topic that I expected is covered, it gives you a real insight into the job and will definitely help you to make up your mind whether this job is something you would consider to pursue or not. Even though it is focused on the Australian recruitment industry the concepts are the same, just the technical and legal terms might differ obviously from country to country. It is very well written, inspiring and teaches you many things about working professionally – even if you decide not to work in this particular industry! A great read also for those senior professionals from other sectors. I myself have lots of international experience but yet, I could learn a lot from her too! Definitely recommendable, a great investment!

Secrets to running a lucrative temp deskBook Title: Secrets to running a lucrative temp desk

Book Author: Sophie Robertson

Year of Publication: 2014

Publishing Company: Captain Honey Pty

Number of pages: 167

ISBN: 978-0-9874260-6-2

Price: at for $ 35.99 in Paperback format, $ 24.73 as Kindle edition,


Part 1:

–          The Mindset of great consultants

–          What is a temp desk?

–          When do clients need temps?

–          How to set up a temp desk

–         How to recruit and manage great temps

–          The essence of the temp interview

–          How to sell temps

–          What to pay and charge for temps

–          How to pay your temps and charge your clients

–          Best practice service for temps

–          Best practice service for clients

–          Quality control

–          Seven ways to supercharge your temp hours

–          Become an Expert to add value

–          Essential temp metrics

Part 2:

–          Nigel Harse: An Interview

–          David Payne: How to obtain Funding for a temp business

–          Rod Hore: How building a temp and contract desk impacts business evaluation

–          Temp Desk implementation checklist

–          Afterword

–          Biographies

–          Glossary

If you know anyone who could benefit from this book “Secrets to running a successful temp desk”, make sure you share it. You’ll be helping them out and me too! Thanks!

Author: Karin Schroeck-Singh

Karin Schroeck-Singh is a trilingual Career Optimizer at She has an MBA from the University of Leicester (UK) and gained 20 years of international work experience in various industries in Italy, the UK and India. Her passion lies in creating multilingual, high-quality content in career matters, giving highly engaging public speeches and helping job seekers to optimize their career by providing professional coaching. She is the author of several ebooks, among them “44 Tips for a successful Video Interview” ( She has written several career and business articles for international HR and Marketing companies. Her favourite motto is “Learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime!” Follow her on Twitter @CareerHeads.

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