If you’ve ever considered forming a recruitment start-up, you’re not alone. Since 2010 we have seen the formation of over 1,490 recruitment startups. But establishing a successful new company in recruitment – as in any sector – is hard work, especially in the critical early stages. Here are some tips for entrepreneurial recruiters who want to make it on their own.

Pick your niche
It’s vital to choose your specialism early in order to give your work focus. If you have experience in one particular recruitment sector already, it makes sense to build on your existing network and expertise. Take a long-sighted view of the market and choose strategically, as this will be one of the most important decisions you make as a new business owner.

Balance online with ‘real world’ networking
The essential tools for starting a recruitment business are few: a phone, an internet-connected computer and a lot of determination. Using these tools, recruiters can monitor social networks – especially LinkedIn – and sector-specific forums. Online job postings are live 24/7 and CV databases are useful tools to supplement such searches.
But while the online part of a recruiter’s work is increasingly important, the human element of the role must not be neglected. Recruitment is a personal business, and a face-to-face meeting with a client or candidate can tell you more about their needs than any online communication.

Choose the right software
Once you’ve gone beyond basic tools you can begin building your technology infrastructure, but this should be a considered process. There are tools that allow you to post jobs to multiple online channels at once and that help you manage candidate searches more efficiently; others can manage your tax and accounting.
Your back office software is also crucial. Choose the best customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep all your correspondences in order, and think about timesheeting software to monitor how your time is spent (always with an eye on profitability).

Master the legalities
When you run your own business, you put your livelihood on the line, so make sure you do everything by the book. That means not just keeping on top of all tax and audit considerations but also staying up-to-date with the laws that affect the recruitment industry.

The acts you need to be familiar with include the Agency Workers Regulations, which ensures that employers do not breach the rights of agency workers; the Equality Act 2010, designed to guarantee every candidate is treated fairly, and the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code), in place to ensure that every job ad you post represents a real job and is fair and non-discriminatory. It’s also important to be acquainted with the Data Protection Act, which makes certain that client and candidate data is treated fairly, confidentially and professionally.