The Start-Up Recruitment Agency Debate #2

Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

The Start-Up Recruitment Agency Debate #2

  • 12 Jun 2020
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    Harry Whysall, Recruitment Industry Specialist

  • News archive
  • So, you’ve made the brave first step into building your own recruitment agency. It may be around now that you realise that what seemed a simple process – picking up the phone, conducting interviews, making placements and collecting payments – is anything but, once you’re out on your own.

    But you’re not on your own. To help you on your journey to building your own recruitment empire, we’ve created a simple mnemonic that will get you thinking about your company’s ethos and plans.

    The secret to success – use CLIENT

    After all, it does all start with a client. Now here’s what it means:

    Cash is always king

    One of the biggest mistakes agencies make in their early days is not factoring in cash flow. Remember that recruitment is a game of patience. If you’ve made a placement you’re going to have to wait until a certain period of time is up to invoice your client. Then you need to wait for your payment terms, and as we all know getting cash from clients can be tricky. If your candidate doesn’t stick you’re looking at rebate fees, and if you happen to be recruiting contractors, you’ll need cash in advance to payroll your candidates in the first place. You can run an agency without a lot of things, but cash isn’t one of them.

    Legal know-how

    If legal documents, legislation and tax regulations don’t get you off, then this part can often seem like a chore, but be vigilant with it. Know your stuff and protect your agency, and your candidates. If you really can’t piece through it all, invest your money wisely and pay an expert to keep you on the right side of the law.

    Invest in marketing

    Marketing is important and you need to make sure you’re online, cultivating a strong presence and talking to clients and candidates on social. However, so many businesses get stage fright when staring down the often-overwhelming barrel of marketing and all the things that need to be done and so therefore do nothing. You can spend months labouring over logo designs, colour palates and perfect website layout, but do yourself a favour and don’t worry too much about it. In the first six months your agency is evolving so much as you grow and get comfortable with who you are, and so your marketing will no doubt change dramatically as well. How you look on day one will be remarkably different to year one and you’ll have to constantly be changing your online image so therefore don’t put too much money or stress into it in the early days.


    Employ an inch-wide mile-deep methodology to your agency and become the best in your area. No one wants a jack of all trades and the business world favours specialists. In the early days of building your business it’s tempting to take on job roles outside your expertise to make up the monthly placements, but it will distract your consultants and do more harm than good in the long run. Candidates and clients will also be more inclined to talk to a business who specialises in their area, who obviously know what they’re talking about and who have an interest in their interests.


    We know that face to face meetings and trade-shows are off the table at the moment, but they’ll be back and when they are you should be prepared. Don’t go in all guns blazing with a pitch about how great your company is to work for, find out about them, what they are up to and what they are interested in. There’s also a huge range of social channels you can use to network… LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. which make it easier than ever to keep in touch with what people are up to. Monitoring social media platforms is a necessity for the modern recruiter. We’ve seen social media change the face of recruitment, and it brings with it new avenues and fresh faces for you to attract.


    That’s not to say you need to buy the most expensive recruitment software and ATS system on day one, but you do need to invest in technology and use it where you can to refine processes, take admin tasks away from your consultants and grow your candidate pools. Access Recruitment CRM is designed to make life easier for growing agencies, but also to give them the foundations on which to scale. Your recruitment software should always be making life easier, whether that’s ensuring you’re complying with legislation, carrying out the right screening checks or pulling the correct data to make informed decisions. Access Recruitment CRM does these things while making life easier for agency owners. Work smarter not harder people.

    If you’re looking for more advice or helpful guides specifically designed for start-up recruitment agencies it’s worth you checking out our Start-up Recruitment Agency resource hub with plenty of top tips, practical guides and content as well as The Ultimate Recruitment Agency Start-up toolkit for you to download.