Growing Your Recruitment Business: 7 Scaling Strategies
By Space Coast Daily // March 13, 2023
Recruiting is an incredibly competitive business niche that can generate impressive revenue if handled right. If not, it can fail like any other business endeavor out there.
So, the first tip to success when managing and, eventually, growing a recruiting agency is to set clear development goals and measure your business progress.
This statement is especially true for scaling an already existing agency — you have to choose the right moment and have a good understanding of the direction you’re going in. As far as the moment is concerned, it is usually wise to start scaling your business after two-three years of steady progress. The direction and business specifics are for you to decide because, here, everything depends on the niche you’re already catering to.
But as far as actionable scaling strategies go, there are seven tips that simply cannot go wrong, no matter which recruiting market segment you specialize in.
More importantly, most of the following principles are as true for starting a recruitment business as they are for scaling one because they help you lay out the right foundations for a company that can be easily scaled in the future.
1 Growing your team
The first step to scaling any business is hiring more employees, especially if you already feel short-handed. On the other hand, growing your team should be done with caution because more in-house staff members mean higher budgets — salaries you will still have to pay even as the workflow decreases. So, you should first analyze the real need for new in-house staff by balancing your finance spreadsheet.
A possible alternative to increasing your team while bearing minimum long-term financial responsibility for it is to outsource some tasks to regular freelance contractors. Fortunately, today’s workforce market is more than suitable for it because ever-more professionals prefer remote independent workflow even at the cost of sacrificing income security.
There is a lot to say about the pros and cons of working with remote contractors instead of hiring in-house staff, and we will not go into detail here. The fact is, both approaches have their drawbacks and benefits, and it is up to you to consider which option works best for you when scaling your recruiting team.
2 Building brand awareness
The next step in scaling your recruiting business is building (or, with an existing business, increasing) your brand awareness. This step is mostly about marketing and making your message known to a larger audience. Traditionally, there are three main approaches to making your company known to wider audiences:
- Building website traffic through SEO
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
Each is a rather time-consuming process, so you may, once again, want to consider hiring outside contractors to manage all of these activities. The chances are that you have already invested some effort in one or several of those promotional campaigns, but as you scale your business, your marketing efforts will have to be scaled, too. If, for example, you already have a website, you might consider starting a blog to boost your SEO rankings.
Another idea is to expand your official channels over social media networks and try launching marketing over new sites (as long as they appeal to your target audience, of course).
3 Exploring new markets
Exploring new markets may seem like the primary goal of scaling a recruiting business, but this is not always the case. If, for example, you have already built a reputation as an agency that finds the most qualified IT developers, it would make little sense to suddenly start catering to the mining and construction industry. Any expansion should happen more or less naturally, so it’s better to consider diversifying into professionally-adjacent markets.
In our example of development, the logical step would be to build a database of web designers or content creators. Or, you may not even need to add another market specialization to your list of services — you can consider expanding your geographical area, for example.
4 Investing in the right technology
Even though recruiting is a largely personalized activity that relies on building trust with both employees and employers, quite a lot of routine activities can be automated. You probably already use some automation software, but when you decide to scale your operations, you might need more advanced tools.
If, for example, you have been relying heavily on LinkedIn for communicating with potential hires, it is time to switch to more personal channels — particularly email. Today, you can use an email finder extension to extract a candidate’s contact details from LinkedIn. By using an email finder, you can quickly and easily locate email addresses for individuals, which can save you time and effort that you would have otherwise spent searching for this information.
Moreover, email finders can help you expand your outreach beyond your immediate network, allowing you to connect with a wider audience of potential candidates or collaborators.
5 Focusing on quality not quantity
If you’ve been running a successful recruitment agency for a few years, you probably know that quality must always come before quantity. Still, as you scale your agency, it is easy (tempting even) to fall into the numbers trap. We strongly suggest you keep providing the most personalized approach to candidate screening and focus on your hire rates rather on the number of candidates offered for each position. And that leads us to the next, equally important point.
6 Nurturing trust with existing clients
The best way to spread the word about your effectiveness as an agency is to nurture trust with your existing clients. Once again, candidate quality and hire rates are the key factors here, but there can be more creative solutions to achieve the same effect. You can, for example, throw in a free consultation to your employer clients now and then or share any information you have about changing market and salary trends. Reaching out to potential prospects in your hiring database is also a good idea. You can do so by sharing the same industry updates over social media or any other promotional channels of your choosing — whatever works as long as people remember who you are.
7 Keeping track of industry trends
Information is the key to everything these days, so it’s vital to stay aware of the latest industry trends — not only in HR and recruiting but also in the professional fields you are catering to. If part of your scaling strategy is an expansion to HR consulting, this final tip is an absolute must. Another tangible bonus of monitoring industry trends is that you can share updates with your existing clients — via the same email marketing, for instance. Not only will this remind your clients about your agency, it will also build trust and showcase your professional experience — something without which building trust with existing clients is impossible.
The final word of advice when scaling a recruiting business is to constantly monitor your growth progress. Sometimes, impressions can be misleading, but math never lies.
Carefully analyze your profits and the efforts it took to raise them. For a startup, for example, it is not uncommon to invest funds and effort in hopes of future ROI. For an established business that is going through a new development stage, this is not the case.
So, plan, monitor, and adjust if necessary — those are the three cornerstones of every successful business growth.