How to start a recruitment agency: 10+ considerations for success

How to start a recruitment agency

There are thousands of recruitment agencies in the UK, with new firms popping up every day—often by industry professionals looking to strike out on their own. 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 firm should consider.

What is a recruitment agency?

Recruitment agencies help put the world to work, matching talent with fitting opportunities and providing companies with flexible recruitment solutions. recruitment agencies play a part in each step of the employee lifecycle, from initial recruitment to placement and onboarding to redeployment and beyond. For job seekers, working with a recruitment agency can help them gain access to diverse opportunities and expert guidance. At the same time, companies can tap into pools of qualified talent, administrative support, and the agility to navigate their evolving recruitment needs. In essence, recruitment agencies guide both candidates and companies through the employment journey with precision and a keen eye for the perfect match.

Benefits of starting a recruitment agency

Starting a recruitment agency brings a range of benefits, offering entrepreneurs the flexibility to curate their own roster of temporary workers and build relationships with diverse clients. This flexibility extends not only to choosing the right talent for specific roles but also to tailoring services to meet the unique needs of client companies. The potential for growth and profitability in the recruitment industry is substantial, as the demand for skilled and flexible labour continues to rise. Entrepreneurs can capitalise on this by strategically positioning their agency to tap into burgeoning markets and industries, contributing to both personal and financial growth.

The ability to operate from the comfort of home or establish a dedicated office space adds another layer of flexibility to the journey of starting a recruitment agency. This adaptability allows business owners to structure their work environment according to their preferences, fostering a conducive atmosphere for productivity. Furthermore, starting a recruitment agency provides the opportunity to carve out a niche within the industry, focusing on specialised areas of expertise. By honing in on a niche, entrepreneurs can establish themselves as experts in specific fields, attracting clients seeking specialised recruitment solutions. In a growing market, the advantages are vast, with the potential for high demand amplifying the prospects of success for those with the foresight to navigate the dynamic world of recruitment.

How to start a recruitment agency: 12 focus areas

Starting a recruitment agency can be a lucrative venture, but it requires careful planning and strategic focus. To ensure success, it’s important to consider 12 key focus areas that will set the foundation for your agency’s operations and growth. Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or new to the recruitment industry, these focus areas will provide a comprehensive guide to starting and running a successful recruitment agency.

Your business plan

To start a recruitment agency, you’ll need a business plan to act as your North Star, helping you to determine your mission, target market, financial projections, and growth strategies.

  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 is key to ensuring that your recruitment agency gets the visibility and brand awareness it needs to get off the ground. Crafting a compelling marketing strategy allows you to showcase your agency’s unique value proposition.

  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 firm?
  4. Do you provide resources for candidates on your website?
  5. Do you have a specific selling point that differentiates your firm from the competition?
  6. Do you personalise your communication (in email, social media, etc.)?


Developing strong sales tactics ensures that your agency can effectively communicate its value and capabilities, establishing a solid client base.

  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 firm? (e.g., “We provide great customer service).

Social media

A strong social media presence not only enhances brand visibility but also allows for real-time engagement, keeping your agency top-of-mind in the competitive recruitment landscape.

  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 effectively network with prospective clients and candidates?

Recruitment trends and news

Staying informed about recruitment trends and industry news is vital when starting a recruitment agency. This knowledge positions you as an industry expert, enabling your agency to adapt to evolving market demands, remain competitive, and provide cutting-edge solutions to clients and candidates.

  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 recruiting technology?

Industry expertise

In-depth knowledge of industry nuances and specific sectors allows you to tailor your services, address unique challenges, and offer unparalleled value to clients and candidates.

  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?


Investing in training programs is key to starting a recruitment agency, ensuring that your team is equipped with the skills and knowledge needed for success. Well-trained staff can navigate the complexities of recruitment, fostering client satisfaction and candidate retention.

  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?

Recruitment technology

To start a recruitment agency, you’ll need to invest in the best tech stack from the start. Leveraging cutting-edge tools and software streamlines operations, enhances efficiency, and keeps your agency ahead in a technologically driven recruitment landscape.

  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?

Candidate experience

Prioritising the candidate experience is key when starting a recruitment agency. A positive candidate journey, from application to placement, fosters loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, setting the stage for attracting top-tier talent.

  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

Engaging clients ensures that your recruitment agency enjoys continued success. Regular communication, understanding client needs, and delivering exceptional service all help build client partnerships for the long run.

  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?


Detailed reporting provides insights into key performance indicators, allowing you to refine strategies, track success, and make informed decisions for the continuous improvement of your agency.

  1. Do you report on critical recruitment metrics like fill-rate and gross margin?
  2. Do you perform weekly or monthly reports to better understand your business?
  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?


Safeguarding sensitive candidate and client data builds trust, ensuring compliance with data protection regulations and safeguarding the reputation of your agency in an increasingly security-conscious landscape.

  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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