Recruitment agencies

Starting a Recruitment Agency? All You Need to Know!

Top tips to start a new recruitment agency

With more than 28,000 recruitment agencies in the UK, if you’re considering starting a recruitment agency, you’re not the first one!

There are 3 main things to consider when starting, to give you better chances of succeeding:

  • How to find clients?
  • How to attract great candidates?
  • How to optimise your back-office?

How to find clients?

With more than 10,000 temporary recruitment agencies in the UK, your ability to find new clients, and retain those you already have on your books is absolutely vital for your success.

There are 4 main ways to find new clients and retain existing ones: 1. focus on a niche sector or geography, 2. network, 3. use recruitment marketplaces and 4. deliver an exceptional level of service to your existing clients.

1. Determine which sector and/ or geography you want to focus on

Being focused on a sector or a geography is a very powerful way for you to stand out from the crowds and be able to offer a truly exceptional service.

If you’re opting for a sector, choose a niche in which you have contacts from your prior work experience, or that you know inside out.

If you’re opting to be generalist, but focused on one geographical area, once again, choose an area which you know well, and where you’re well-known and trusted, that will help!

2. Network, network, network

People trust people. The most powerful way to encourage people and businesses to use your services is by knowing them personally, understanding their challenges and trying to be helpful.

Leverage all potential networking opportunities in your niche: career fairs, networking events organised by the Federation of Small Businesses, your Chamber of Commerce, reach out to people directly via LinkedIn.

Invest in a good CRM system to be able to keep track of these contacts and discussions, in a GDPR-friendly way, of course, so that you can follow-up at the right time, or send interesting newsletters.

TempaGoGo - temporary hiring platform helping recruitment agencies with their Business development
TempaGoGo helps recruitment agencies find leads from clients looking to hire.

3. Use recruitment marketplaces

To complement your own business development activities, hiring platforms can be very powerful at helping you boost your database of clients.

There are platforms specialised in temporary recruitment, such as TempaGoGo, and other specialised in permanent recruitment, such as Hiring-Hub.

These platforms connect companies looking to hire temporary or permanent members of staff with recruitment agencies providing candidates.

Some platform such as TempaGoGo offer a free registration and trial so there’s no risk in you trying them out!

4. Deliver an exceptional level of service to your existing clients

Finding new clients is always much more time consuming and difficult than nurturing existing clients.

The recruitment industry suffers from bad press – so delivering an exceptional level of service to your existing clients is crucial to stand out. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile, even if that doesn’t scale.

This includes:

Communicating effectively – follow-up with your clients by providing regular updates (not too frequent!) about the recruitment process. Don’t be afraid to share the bad news – this is a good way to build trust too!

Filtering CVs – recruitment is not a number’s game when it comes to CV – filter the CVs and only send the most relevant ones. Clients hate wasting time on CVs that quite obviously don’t match their requirements

Offering a slick service – If a candidate turns out to be bad, apologise promptly, and discuss options in line with your contractual agreement.

In a nutshell, don’t try to “sell”, but try to be as helpful as possible. This will end up with happier clients, and more return business.

How to attract great candidates?

Attracting great candidates is the second most important part of being a successful recruitment agency owner.

Depending on the level of seniority and types of roles you’re focusing, you can use different channels to source your candidates.

Options to source candidates for junior roles

Leverage the local Career fairs and work with Job Centres near you.

Also, some job boards such as CV-Library offer you the ability to pay to search for CVs. That’s a great way to start building your database quickly.

CV-Library: A powerful database of searchable CVs
CV-Library – a powerful database of searchable CVs.

Options to source candidates for senior roles

For more senior roles, leveraging your own network and using LinkedIn Recruiter can be a very effective way to find suitable candidates.

LinkedIn recruiter
LinkedIn Recruiter – a great tool for Executive Search firms

It allows you to find potential candidates faster, and contact them via InMail directly.

Once you’ve found great candidates, how to encourage them to change jobs

Finding target candidates is one thing. The next important thing is to encourage them to change jobs or take up your offer.

In the case of a candidate-poor scenario, candidates are king and need to be nurtured very carefully. Managing their expectations, communicating effectively throughout the interview process, explaining the company’s culture, and sharing why the opportunity is positive to them is absolutely crucial.

Don’t drown in paperwork!

How to optimise your back-office?

Last but not least, and that’s probably the most boring part of the job, as it does not relate to people but to processes, optimising your back office is really important and can make a huge difference to your bottom line.

By back office, I mean, how do you spend as much time as possible generating revenue, and as little time doing administrative tasks (e.g., your accounts, your invoices, your payroll, chasing late payments)?

1. Creating an appealing website

Nowadays, having an appealing website is key as most companies and candidates will check you up online prior to making a decision.

Ensuring that your website is optimised for Google for Jobs to crawl your job offers is also crucial.

There are some free website creation packages that you can use (e.g., Sydney on WordPress) and great tutorials on Youtube for you to build nice looking websites without breaking the bank!

Useful tutorials online (example of the Sydney WordPress template)

2. Having a GDPR-friendly CRM database

Up-to-date clients and candidates data will be your gold mine over time.

Ensuring that you have an easy-to-use and GDPR-friendly CRM system to store and manage this data is really important.

3. Choosing to have a virtual or physical office

Nowadays, more or less everything can be done online. Choosing to operate from a virtual office can reduce your costs significantly.

Ensure that you have a fast connection is vital, and don’t forget to pick up the phone or get out to meet clients and candidates!

4. If you’re a temp recruitment, find a great factoring company

Cash is king for any business, but particularly a temp recruitment business!

As you’ll pay your candidates weekly and be paid by your clients on a fortnightly or monthly basis, you’ll bear a credit risk. Getting insurance for your credit risk is vital for the finances of your company.

There are plenty of factoring companies out there, often banks (e.g., Lloyds), or other third party suppliers (e.g., Sonovate, Bibby Financial Services).


I wish you all the best with your new recruitment business. To help you get started, you may also want to join one of the Recruitment Trade Bodies in the UK such as the REC or APSCo (if you focus on White Collar roles).

They also offer plenty of advice, training, and special discount offers for third party suppliers.

Have you started your recruitment business? What have you found most difficult?
I’d love to hear from you!

Caroline, co-founder of TempaGoGo

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