Recruitment businesses are operating in the tightest labour market on record. Retaining a core of focus of headcount and financial growth is challenging when fighting increased competition on all fronts.

We’ve outlined five areas we believe are central to developing strategies to pursue effective scale.

Scale by building collaborations

One way to scale your recruitment business is to not only add value to your agency, but to offer added value to others. Rather than focusing solely on marketing strategies, you can achieve this any of the following ways:

  • Set up more events, whether they are networking or knowledge-sharing opportunities
  • Decide how you want your business to be portrayed in your industry
    • What expertise do you have?
    • What industry speakers would be beneficial to work with?
    • What suppliers should you partner with?

Social media also plays such a key role in building collaborations. The potential reach you can get from disseminating your content across your social channels is high, and it’s an easy way to penetrate existing audiences and engage new ones. Through social, you can build up stronger collaborative relationships with:

  • Your candidate networks
  • Your client networks
  • Suppliers
  • Industry peers


Scale by maximising your margins

Rather than focusing your time and effort on top-line growth alone, a key way to improve your profitability is through a number of strategies that have one shared focal point: margin.

There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Evaluate your pricing structure
  • Focus your best efforts, talent, and attention on selling in your most profitable channels
  • Look for ways to increase value to clients and customers
  • Review your client list to determine several things:
    • Who are your high value customers?
    • Who has the most growth potential?
    • Who isn’t making you money?

And here’s how to lower your customer acquisition costs and cut any unnecessary costs:

  • Review your customer acquisitions costs:
    • What is the ROI?
    • What mechanisms are you putting in place to evaluate spend?
    • How many candidate placements were already in your CRM?
  • Redesign workflows and systems for greater efficiency:
    • Where can your back-office processes be streamlined?
    • Do your suppliers exceed your requirements and expectations?
    • Can you eliminate any non-strategic expenses that aren’t adding value to the business?
    • Can you reduce your on-premise IT costs, by moving to a cloud-based solution?

This article shares some insights on techniques to do more contract deals.

Scale by outsourcing and cutting waste

Assess all of your outgoing costs, with the aim of finding areas where time and finances can be optimised.

Evaluate the money you’re spending and what it is bringing into your business:

  • When was the last time you negotiated with your suppliers?
  • Are your job boards providing ROI?
    • Are they providing you with high-value placements?
    • Do they actively engage with your business?
    • What’s their product roadmap?
    • What’s their candidate acquisition strategy?
    • What’s their stance on GDPR and data processing?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your database?
    • How many candidates have you placed from it?
    • If you place a candidate from a job board that was already on your CRM did you really need to advertise?
    • How are your consultants using the database? Are they working efficiently to extract value?

If you find that your suppliers are too expensive, or the job boards you pay to use aren’t converting, look for alternative options.

Look at the processes in your business as a two-way street.

Are there any processes you’ve outsourced or are running in-house that aren’t as efficient and/or cost effective as you need them to be?


Scale by attracting the best staff

David Oglivy, renowned advertising expert, once said:

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Here are four points to consider when increasing your headcount to help scale:

  • Conduct in-depth on-boarding and training with every new employee
  • Look beyond core competencies and find additional potential
  • Create and commit to your company culture
  • Hire experts and listen to them


Scale by automating workflows

Strip back the workload completed internally so that the time and effort of your team can be solely focused on networking and doing more deals.

Marketing automation is designed specifically to streamline the workflows of key processes, including:

  • On-boarding
  • Customer care
  • Lead generation
  • Candidate marketing

Before speaking to providers, determine what success looks like for each process and then set objectives, e.g. if you want to engage with your lapsed candidates, determine what engagement is. It might be an email reply or the completion of a goal (web page visit). Then set an objective against the measurement, e.g. achieve > 20% engagement.

This way you will be able to choose the solution that is perfect for your business requirements, which will avoid any unnecessary disruption further down the line if the provider you choose doesn’t deliver as expected.

Put the above into practice at your recruitment agency and you’ll find it easier to scale your business faster. And, whilst you’re going through these processes, look at the granular details and ask the right questions to ensure the best results.