How To Start A Recruitment Agency

How to start a recruitment agency for when you want to go it alone. Maybe you’ve had work through one, or perhaps made a truckload of cash for one. At some point in most people’s lives, we wonder if it’s time to set up our own business. This how-to guide is all about that. So lets assume you have worked in the industry at least. If you are looking for a broader base on starting a business click here.

How to Start a recruitment agency | The insider’s guide

I’ve done this myself, so I know a thing or two about it. This is what I feel you need to know before you start. Before we begin, you will probably want to bag the following items.

  1. Have a clear understanding of what sector you are targeting and why.
  2. You will need some semblance of credentials – Are there any organisations you can join?
  3. A website with some features better than the competition helps – LiveChat is always a winner
  4. Corporate Email and Landline Number (That can forward to a mobile)
  5. Marketing Plan
  6. Social media is not at all essential but a great way for picking up contacts
  7. Paperwork and Pricing
  8. Oh and Clients and Candidates.

Now amongst those items, some of them you will pick up as you go, but you are going to need the tools to ensure you are ready to roll if you get surprised with an immediate opportunity.

Best and Worst Case Scenario Planning

Day 1: You pick up the phone looking for job spots to fulfill.

Prospect says “Yes, send me some details on your company, your available candidates and your pricing. Or just tell me know about the pricing.”


You see there are some elements that salespeople often overlook in the race to just ‘Do Business’. But you need to plan to succeed and those that succeed have generally planned.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

A regularly quoted here Army maxim

The same rules of business apply, whatever the niche. If you opened a shop and didn’t have a card terminal, stock or a receipt printer, you would go about an hour before you ran into stress. Some people will overlook one element, but no one will overlook more than one. On top of that, you are trying to impress on a client that you can help their business.

You won’t help them by looking a shower.

Have a focus and an image

Part of any successful business is having a solid grasp of who you are targeting, why and what you can offer them, others can’t.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone, or you’ll be nothing to anyone.

Terrible English that quote, but it’s my own and it makes sense. Well, to me.

On top of having a focus and a reason for people to use you, you need to have your ducks in a row too.

how to start a recruitment business by getting your ducks in a row

These chaps have got it sorted. But seriously, there’s no point burning a potential good bridge by looking like a clown. If you want to start prospecting for new business before all your paperwork is ready, try to put together what is known as MVP. This means Minimum Viable Product.

I asked how to start a recruitment agency not a Basketball team!

Well, if you are asking how to start a recruitment agency then you will be looking at the basics. This will be your MVP fundamentals.

  • Email Address
  • Domain with a decent launch page – and contact form
  • Landline forwarding number to mobile
  • Email signature
  • Short PDF brochure

These basic elements can be knocked up in a day to two and give you something to fill the gap. This lets you start calling people without looking like rank amateurs.

Remember – Act as if.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with….

There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling up a business owner and saying:

“Hey, we notice you are in a sector we cover, we are a new business but with a ton of experience in X and would like an opportunity to present a candidate or two in front of you as and when something comes up. Does that seem reasonable to you?”

That kind of thing.

You don’t need me to teach you how to pitch. If you do want some tips – here’s my handbook on telemarketing.

With that approach above, then having some basic contact put together in a professional appearing format can really open up a door for later.

But the key thing is to make sure you have something. Sites like Canva have great templates building tools for making brochures, while GoDaddy is a super cheap source of domain names and email forwarding.

This means, you buy a domain name and you forward it to your Gmail. Or pay £2 a month and send it from a company mailbox.

Plan your website design

Next up is making sure that you begin to plan your website. Planning that can be done in two ways.

  1. With marketing in mind
  2. Like a mindless idiot

It’s really up to you which route you take, but we suggest option 1. This means you plan out on a piece of paper, what your site should cover, what key words you want to target and which topics or pages will relate to one another and which ones won’t.

Want some help on starting an online business? Click the blue text behind this message.

This is called SEO Siloing and it’s a way to make a clear structure to Google what your site is all about.

And, take it from me, someone who has worked in e-commerce for a decade now, most of your competitors are not doing this.

If you have a limited marketing budget, you have two options.

A: Cold Calling or DM’ing on LinkedIn, Insta and Twitter

B: Organic search result ranking

If you have planned your site using option 2 in the section above, then scrap your hopes of choice B here.

If you want a good guide on siloing content for SEO, there is a good breakdown over at Deathground.

By the way SEO means search engine optimisation. Essentially, how prepared your site is for ranking on Google. (Or Bing)

Finally – Pricing

James Caan’s book wonderfully explains how to start a recruitment agency

Yes, there is a whole lot more to know about starting any business, but you asked how to start a recruitment agency, so we wanted to cut to the key elements you should get a handle on.


You need to make sure your pricing is competitive and worth your time.

But you also need to make sure you are pricing your services and offering them in an empathetic way. This means, how do they sound to a customer? One way a lot of new businesses price their service is this simple method.


Not entirely full proof but it can give you a ball park to work with. At the end of the day, while you have asked how to start a recruitment agency, you probably know how much your current place of work charges for jobs.

In fact if you left without knowing that, then I’d suggest you do go self-employed.

Pricing should also ensure that there is sufficient reward for recruiting your own team members and covering your fixed overheads. The beauty of recruitment business work is that the costs can be kept super low.

Final thoughts

If you’ve got this far – there is one book you need to read. It details a multi-millionaire’s journey to the top through recruitment. Former Dragon from BBC Dragon’s Den it’s James Caan. His book is available at this link below.

Spoiler alert – it’s a really good book

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