A guide to starting your own recruitment agency in 2022

It's time to start your own recruitment agency!

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Bogdan Andrei Published on Jan. 24, 2022

A guide to starting your own recruitment agency in 2022

It might have been in the back of your mind for a long time and it's time to be honest with yourself. Are you determined to start your own recruitment business? If your answer is yes, then this article is for you.

There are plenty of reasons you may want to be your own boss, but the journey towards independence is no easy task. To face the truth, a well-established agency had time to build a strong and reliable infrastructure that ultimately made them lucrative. Your only chance is to do the same. I have some good news for you: you can!

Where do you position yourself in the market?

Are you starting from scratch or will the clients from your previous job follow you in your new venture? In your recruiting sector who are your biggest competitors? Do you have a chance at going for their market share?

No matter how you answer the previous questions, one thing is certain in all cases: you should leverage your existing network and see if you can convert the relationships you've already acquired over the years into revenue.

Learn from your competition. Different industries come with different challenges, but also with diverse incentives that you and your agency might find appealing. Also, you can study what other agencies are doing well in their space.

Let's look at some examples:

Software Engineering. We all know it's one of the industries with the highest commissions, but that happens for a reason: it's extremely competitive! As a new agency, you may struggle landing clients providing you do not leverage your already established network. CheckmatePartners are excelling in this exact industry. You might want to check them out.

Healthcare. In the two years since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, staffing agencies have seen more work in securing and placing nurses for healthcare positions. The demand is clearly there, but so it's the competition. Pearls International an independent nursing recruitment agency that operates globally, is a firm whose success you might try to emulate, especially if you're planning to focus on this niche.

Hauling. DriverDNA is an agency that offers multiple services in the trucking industry. Is this the same niche that your agency wants to focus on? Then you should analyze their practices. Drivers are always in demand, but be aware. Older agencies have systems implemented to maximize their conversion rates, so trcuker might be drawn to them. Especially if they collaborated together well in the past.

Have clear goals.

Create a strategy. Crunch the numbers and get a realistic view of what your recruitment agency would look like. If you can handle the truth, proceed with the implementation. Set your targets and go after them!

Goals, both short and long term should guide your journey. Make sure to track your progress using the suitable indicators. Don't lose track of time, especially in the beginning. You cannot keep trying the same thing forever, but it's also not ideal to quit too early.

Let's analyze some healthy aspirations to have and whether you should focus on them for a long time, or just try them and see if they stick.

Short term: No reason to complicate this too much. Your number one priority should be landing your first client. Create a strategy for this, so you what to improve and how to scale, when the time comes.

Medium term: Getting your first placement. You landed your first client, screened tens of candidates and finally you found a perfect match! What can be more satisfying than this as an agency leader?

Long term: Working towards getting cash-flow positive. Break down how many clients, how many placements, and how many candidates sourced per month do you need in order to be making your cash flow goals. An iron-clad strategy should guide you towards achieving this goal in the next 12-24 months.

Some other goals you may have.

  • Getting more business from a single client
  • Getting more business from some of your clients
  • Increase the number of clients that have you on retainer
  • Get a foot in the door. Work with the big names in your industry

For example, assuming you have a streamlined process to bring clients on board. Would it be a realistic goal to increase the number of clients you have on retainer by 10%, 25%, even 50% in the next 6 months? In the master plan of your business, is getting more small clients even desirable, or would you prefer to work with just a few big names?

Make the unpredictable, predictable.

Successfully managing a business is a hard task that should have no emotional component to it. Being prepared is how you can limit the unpredictability your agency is bound to deal with.

Devise protocols in order to increase efficiency. I mentioned earlier that you should have a streamlined onboarding process for clients. By using the same strategy every time you are approaching clients, you can assess its performance, improve the strategy and reiterate. A chaotic course of action is guaranteed to fail in the long term.

  • How do you stay in contact with your clients? Is email enough or would they appreciate a faster-paced environment where they could approach you easier, like Slack?
  • Create a pipeline for candidates. How long does a candidate spend in it from initial contact to final decision?
  • Have a reliable way to screen your candidates. You do not want to send underperforming candidates to your clients. That's the fastest way to end a collaboration that you probably worked so hard to get in the first place.
  • Do you use Indeed to source candidates? Make sure to convert that ugly resume. Use a tool such as recruitermaderesumes.com to get rid of that formatting style and most importantly raise your conversion rates.


Ultimately, what makes a business lucrative or not. The initial costs of starting an agency are not negligible, and despite your passion and drive, you are at significant risk over the first twelve months, from financial mismanagement – which can easily lead to business failure.

Time to start on this journey

Building a recruitment agency is not an easy task. It’s built on trust, relationships, and a company culture that needs to be nurtured and developed for it to grow. You need to create a marketing strategy and brand that speaks directly to your potential customers. But I can assure you it's worth pursuing. If done right, this journey will be exciting and will make sense from a financial perspective.

Good luck!

Recruiting Resources

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Bogdan Andrei Published on Jan. 24, 2022