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How to Start a Recruitment Agency: 12 Considerations for Success

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There are thousands of recruitment agencies in the UK, with new companies popping up every day—often by industry professionals looking to strike out independently. But figuring out how to start a recruitment agency can be daunting. And, if you’ve already started your agency, growing it can be overwhelming, too. Success comes with a whole new set of challenges, some of which can come as a nasty surprise if you’re not prepared. Here are twelve areas any new recruitment agency should consider.

How to Start a Recruitment Agency: 12 Focus Areas

These topics cover a range of essential factors to consider. Answer these questions to ensure that every aspect of running a successful recruitment agency has been accounted for.

  • Your business plan
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Social Media
  • Recruitment Trends and News
  • Industry Expertise
  • Training
  • Technology
  • Candidate Experience
  • Client Engagement
  • Reporting
  • Security

Your Business Plan

  1. Do you have a growth strategy in place?
  2. Are you emphasising profit or revenue?
  3. Are you focusing on existing clients, new clients, or an even mix?
  4. Will you specialise in a specific placement type (temp, perm, contract, direct hire)?
  5. What industries will you serve?

Marketing

  1. Do you have a modern website that’s easy to use?
  2. Is your site mobile-friendly?
  3. Do you monitor review sites for feedback about your agency?
  4. Do you provide resources for candidates on your website?
  5. Do you have a specific selling point that differentiates your agency from the competition?
  6. Do you personalise your communication (in email, social media, etc.)?

Sales

  1. Do you have a clearly defined target customer audience?
  2. Do you have satisfied clients you can use as referrals?
  3. Do you have a strategy for generating leads that goes beyond cold-calling?
  4. Do you avoid generic value propositions in describing your agency? (e.g., “We provide great customer service”).

Social Media

  1. Do you have an established presence on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook?
  2. Do you regularly share useful content with candidates and clients?
  3. Do you have a sourcing strategy for identifying qualified candidates on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?
  4. Do you use social media to network with prospective clients and candidates effectively?

Technology

  1. Do you use an applicant tracking system (ATS) and/or customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage your data and nurture relationships with candidates and clients?
  2. If you are currently leveraging an ATS, is your email fully integrated?
  3. Do you have a reporting solution for tracking candidate and client data?
  4. Do you automate the onboarding process for candidates, or is it manual?

Recruitment Trends and News

  1. Do you stay up-to-date on recruitment industry trends?
  2. Do you network at recruitment events?
  3. Do you stay up-to-date on current events and legislation that impact recruitment firms?
  4. Are you a member of your area’s recruitment association?
  5. Do you embrace new recruitment technology?

Industry Expertise

  1. Are you seen as an expert in the industries you serve?
  2. Do you provide valuable industry resources to prospective candidates and clients?
  3. Do you go to industry-specific events to stay up-to-date and network with prospective clients?

Training

  1. Do you have a formal training program in place?
  2. Do you incorporate employee feedback into your training?  
  3. How frequently, if ever, do you evaluate employee performance?
  4. Are you able to ramp up new employees in a month or less?

Candidate Experience

  1. Do you have a candidate engagement strategy in place at your firm?
  2. Do you personalise all communication with candidates?
  3. Do you follow up with candidates after their placement?
  4. Do you measure candidate satisfaction?
  5. Do you solicit candidate feedback?
  6. Do you interview candidates at the end of the hiring process to learn about their experience?
  7. Do you use candidate feedback to make deliberate improvements to your firm?

Client Engagement

  1. Do you use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to nurture client relationships and detect unhappy clients?
  2. Do you maintain consistent and frequent communication with your clients?
  3. Do you measure client satisfaction?
  4. Do you solicit customer feedback?
  5. Do you use client feedback to make deliberate improvements to your firm?

Reporting

  1. Do you report on critical recruitment metrics like fill-rate and gross margin?
  2. Do you perform weekly or monthly reports to understand your business better?
  3. Do you measure your employee’s performance on specific key metrics?
  4. Do you use your data to make meaningful changes to your firm?

Security

  1. Do you have a backup of your pertinent client and candidate data?
  2. Is your data linked to a personal account vulnerable to attack (e.g., a personal Gmail account)?
  3. Do you have a GDPR compliance strategy in place?

Want more insight and tips on how to start a recruitment agency?  Check out Toolkit: Resources to Grow Your Recruitment Firm from the Ground Up for useful tools and tips you can use to better your firm.

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