Contract recruitment is fiercely competitive. Leading the market are the contract recruitment billing machines.

Contract recruitment is highly lucrative for these agencies, as they:

  • map their market
  • have a network of talented contractors, fully referenced ready to go
  • can deliver each time without fail

The UK Recruitment industry is continuing to grow. It saw a total revenue of £35.7 billion in 2018. 86% of that was achieved through temping and contracting – that’s a huge £30.85 billion.

At a time when many companies are looking to create more flexible workforces and some industries experiencing significant skills shortages, there are many opportunities for recruiters to develop a contract desk.

Here are five tips on how to build a contract recruitment billing machine.


1. Map your market

Mapping a market is a great way of building a picture of who does what in your chosen market.

For example, say you’re providing marketing automation specialists to SaaS tech companies with more than 100 employees in London. You need to do the following:

  • Your first objective is to find out who the major SaaS companies are.
  • Next, filter them by location and finally by employee size.
  • Take note of the size of the marketing department, as well as the ‘Head of’, VP, Director or Manager.
  • Then, look for the HR contact at the business.

You now have a list of contacts to connect with on LinkedIn and introduce yourself to.


2. Obsess about your metrics

The most successful recruiters judge every scenario numerically. For every single placement and client they work with, they consider the following:

  • How many interviews do I need to close the deal?
  • What’s this months’ pipeline look like?
  • How many contractors are finishing this week?
  • Can I extend the placement?

Building a contract recruitment billing machine first requires setting realistic goals, and then ensuring you hit the numbers you set out to achieve.

Run the numbers and ask yourself:

  • How many calls will it take to get a new client on board?
  • What’s the average number of contract placements at a client?
  • What’s the average length of time it takes to fill a contract role?
  • What’s the average margin – both % and £?
  • What’s the average timesheet value?
  • How many finishers do I have each week and how many starters are confirmed?
  • What’s the average length of placement
  • What’s my daily GP?
  • What’s my % fill rate?

Ten recruitment KPIs you need to know

3. Develop your service

You want the service you provide to be simple, repeatable and exact. A much overlooked way to get buy in from candidates and clients is to have a service level agreement documented and communicated. It sets out what you will do, when and how.

Pitching for new business becomes a lot easier if you can cite 3-5 reasons why the prospect should use you. These could be:

  • I will only send over fully referenced candidates
  • I will manage the entire process, and will brief you before each interview
  • My network all have experience of working for SaaS


4. Know your network inside out

The best contract recruiters close the deal before the phone goes down. How they do this is simple, yet difficult to do in practice.

They have an encyclopaedic knowledge of their contractors, where they’ve worked, their accomplishments and successes.

Above all, they have a number of contractors ready and available to start immediately.

So, when the call comes in from their client, they’re in prime position to close the deal there and then.

To make sure you have an in-depth knowledge of your network, you should:

  • keep in touch with them, regardless of their current employment status, so you always have an idea of who is currently looking for work, and who will be available in the near future
  • connect and engage with them on LinkedIn, as well as other professional networking sites – it’s a great tool to use as a live “availability database” of your pool of candidates
  • make sure you have an up-to-date CV and portfolio for each of your candidates – an easy way to do this is to send an email every quarter that asks them to submit one


5. Use the best tools

If your daily work schedule is admin heavy, you’ll be wasting valuable time and resources filing paperwork, instead of doing more deals. And, if your systems and processes aren’t efficient, you will lose money and business.

Our ultimate online toolkit shares the best digital platforms you should use to make sure your back office operations are running as smoothly as possible.

To help you build a contract recruitment billing machine, we’ve shared the following advice: