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How To Start A Recruitment Agency in 2024

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In 2024, the recruitment landscape is a thriving ecosystem, buzzing with potential and ripe for innovation. As an industry-leading recruitment platform, we can tell you firsthand how exciting the sector is. According to an IBISWorld report, the recruitment industry has experienced a 1.5 billion dollar market size spike this year alone, making it a lucrative venture for budding recruiters to start a recruitment agency. 

So, why not consider starting a recruitment agency? The industry is dynamic, fast-paced, exciting and with ample opportunities. We’ve seen the transformative power of technology, such CRM and ATS software tools help smaller agencies, savvy entrepreneurs and scaling businesses reach unparalleled success.

Whether you are a seasoned vet looking to start a recruitment agency or a newcomer eager to learn more about setting up a recruitment agency, this article is perfect for you. 

Let’s get started: 


The Headhunter  

If you're starting a recruitment agency and consider specializing as a Headhunter, you'll seek out executive-level, highly skilled individuals who are frequently sought after because of their specialized skills and experience. They approach candidates often using their network, research skills, and close connections.

Headhunting can be a highly effective method of locating top talent, but it requires a great deal of skill, patience, and persistence on the recruiter’s part.

The Temp Recruiter 

You may consider starting a recruitment agency that focuses on Temp recruiting. Temporary recruitment involves placing workers in temporary positions for a limited period. These positions can range from short-term projects to longer-term assignments and can be full-time or part-time.

Temp recruiting is a flexible option for companies that need additional staff during busy periods, or for special projects where they don’t want to commit to a permanent hire.

Temporary workers are typically employed by the recruiting agency, not the company where they are working, so as a temp recruiter, your recruitment agency is responsible for paying their wages and benefits and handling any issues that may arise.

Useful resources: 12 Mistakes to avoid when starting a Temp agency 

The Perm Recruiter 

Permanent recruitment is another lucrative path when starting a recruitment agency. The goal of perm recruiting is to find a long-term employee who will join the company permanently. This can involve sourcing candidates through job postings, social media, referrals, and other means, conducting interviews and assessments to determine the best fit for the job.

Permanent recruiters work closely with hiring managers to understand the specific skills and experience needed for the role. They then use their expertise to find and attract the best possible candidates. Once a candidate is hired, the permanent recruiter’s job is typically done, although they may stay in touch to ensure a smooth onboarding process.

The Contract Recruiter 

Setting up a recruitment agency as a Contract recruiter involves finding and placing workers in short-term, project-based roles. These workers are typically hired for a fixed period and are often brought on board to complete specific tasks or projects.

Contract recruiters work closely with hiring managers to understand the specific skills and experience needed for the role and then source and screen candidates with the right skills and availability. Contract recruiters may also help negotiate contracts and ensure workers are onboarded and integrated into the team effectively.


Retained Exec Search  

In the high-stakes world of Retained Executive Search, you’re tasked with finding top-tier talent for C-suite roles like CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, and other high-powered executive positions. 

If you start a recruitment agency with a focus on the executive level, this service can be an exciting and rewarding path. With salaries typically under $100,000, these are the pivotal roles in influential companies or organizations where only the best will do. Each decision they make carries enormous weight, shaping the company’s future trajectory.

Contingency Search  

For those who thrive on a fast-paced, high-volume environment, Contingency Search could be an ideal service when starting a recruitment business. With many open job orders, you thrive on volume, relying on a robust ATS/CRM. Given their fee is paid only upon successful placement, these recruiters can offer candidates to multiple clients, which is ideal for firms with frequent recruiting needs for mid-level positions.

Niche or Specialist  

If you prefer to specialize in a specific niche, starting a recruitment agency as a specialist recruiter might be your calling. Niche or Specialist recruitment firms are like the chess grandmasters of talent acquisition. They specialize in sourcing highly skilled candidates within a specific industry, often having a comprehensive database of top-tier talent at their fingertips.

They adopt a proactive approach, mirroring retained recruiters in cultivating long-term relationships based on trust. A laser-like focus on their chosen industry allows these firms to accumulate in-depth knowledge, making them invaluable for companies with positions requiring hard-to-find specialist skills.


Planning to master a specific industry? Assess your current level of expertise in that area. Knowledge is your ally, but avoid the trap of information overload. The learning curve is steep, but remember, you’ll navigate this terrain gradually.  

Identifying an industry or niche with a clear growth projection is mission-critical. Equally, developing a comprehensive yet adaptable plan when setting up your own recruitment agency is essential. This will enable you to withstand the ebbs and flows of your agency’s evolving demands. 

Here are a few pointers to get you started: 

Determine your skills and experience

Whether you enjoy playing it safe or are open to risks, capitalizing on your established skills can always steer you right. For instance, if you’ve invested a decade or more honing your craft in the renewable industry, your expertise puts you in an enviable position among budding recruitment entrepreneurs. So, what’s the best strategy? 

Leverage your strengths, trade in your extensive knowledge and unmatched expertise, and watch as the scales of success tip in your favor when setting up your recruitment agency. 

Research the Market 

Keeping up to speed with industry trends and shifting market dynamics is crucial when starting a recruitment agency. For instance, the increasing demand for Gen Z continues to be a hot commodity in today’s market. 

Consequently, recruiters are now adopting novel strategies, such as leveraging recruitment marketing software to tap into the increasingly demanding Gen Z market.

Determine Your Target Market 

You can determine your target market once you understand your niche’s demand better. Who are the clients and candidates you want to work with? What are their needs, and how can you meet those needs? This information will help you create a marketing strategy to reach your target market. It's crucial you understand the market and your prospects before you start your recruitment agency. 

Assess the competition  

Recruitment is undeniably a magnet for success-driven individuals eager to climb the ladder and come out on top. This only reinforces the industry’s highly competitive nature, so you must do your dirty work.  

What are your rivals bringing to the table that you aren’t? Track down agencies within the same industry/niche and critically evaluate their successes and stumbling blocks. This will help you navigate your course and stay on track as you map out your business goals. 


Mapping out your business plan is one of the most significant stages if you're wondering how to start a recruitment agency. A well-written business plan is a blueprint for your recruitment business, helping you stay focused, organized, and on track as you grow and scale.  

Here are some of the key reasons why creating a business plan is so crucial for recruitment agencies: 

Establish your goals and objectives

Setting clear and measurable targets is the first and most critical step to a successful business plan. Goals give direction and focus and serve as a roadmap for measuring progress, unlocking growth, and celebrating wins – no matter how big or small.  

Pro tip: Accomplishing goals is easier when you break them up; set quarterly targets, as it’s less likely you’ll get derailed. 

Short-term wins = long-term goals  

Attract investors 

If you’re looking to secure funding from investors, a comprehensive business plan is a must-have. You must showcase the unique benefits of your recruitment agency niche and your competitive edge that truly makes you shine.   

Highlighting a clear and compelling mission statement, a well-defined target market, and innovative strategies for candidate sourcing and client acquisition will capture the attention of potential investors. By presenting your passion, plan, and goals, you’ll have investors lining up to help you bring your vision to life! 

Identify opportunities and challenges. 

Defining potential blockers, challenges, or opportunities you may encounter is critical in the planning stages and throughout your recruitment journey.  

It’s important to consider factors such as:  

  • Market saturation  
  • Economic fluctuations
  • Legal and regulatory compliance 

Here are a few to consider:  

Create a budget 

Creating a business plan also helps you plan for expenses, including the cost of obtaining a recruitment agency license, investing in recruitment software for agencies, and setting up your office. Knowing your costs will allow you to create a budget that helps you stay on track financially. 

You’re looking to make costly investments at this stage of starting your own recruitment agency, so it’s important to be prepared. Here are some tips to get you started:  

  • Estimate start-up costs  
  • Determine ongoing expenses  
  • Create a cash flow projection  
  • Create a contingency pan  

Pro tip: Find a budget template to help you budget and calculate costs.  

Evaluate your chance of success 

Evaluating your chances of success will help you identify potential roadblocks before they become major obstacles. Consider factors such as your experience in the industry, the demand, and your ability to build a strong network of clients and candidates.  

Pro tip: Research other recruitment agencies – their success stories and pitfalls. What’s a critical move they made that contributed to their success? Any companies that couldn’t overcome their obstacles?  


Navigating the complexities of laws, licenses, and regulations is essential to setting up your recruitment agency in a rapidly changing world. Regardless of where you’re operating, awareness of these aspects is vital to your business.

Deciding the type of entity to register your agency is critical. Each country offers different entity structures governed by unique laws and regulations. It’s crucial to understand your target market and the candidates and clients you aim to cater to, as it impacts the type of company you register.

For instance, even if your company isn’t registered in the EU, you must be GDPR compliant if hiring for EU countries. When dealing with large corporations, data security and governance become crucial.

View these laws, licenses, and regulations as your guiding compass. They ensure fair play, safeguarding your candidates, clients, and consultants.

Safeguard your start-up 

In the UK, no specific license is required to start a recruitment agency, but you must comply with specific regulations. These include the Employment Agencies Act and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. Stay up-to-date and on the right side of the law to avoid any hiccups.

Invest in the proper insurance, such as professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Also, safeguard your data in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In this digital age, protecting your data is as important as protecting your physical assets.



Investing in recruitment technology can be a game-changer when starting a recruitment agency. A 2022 study stated that 73% of companies have invested more in recruitment technology in the past year. 

Here are some of the best recruitment technologies to consider and why they are essential: 

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) 

An ATS is a software application that can help streamline the recruitment process by automating the tracking of job applicants. It can also help manage candidate data, resumes, and communication with candidates. An ATS can save time and increase productivity, making it a valuable investment for any recruitment agency. It's important to shop around before you officialy set up your recruitment agency and ensure your needs align. 

Recruitment Marketing Software 

Recruitment marketing software can help attract and engage candidates by creating and distributing job ads, building talent communities, and promoting employer brand. This technology can help improve the quality and quantity of applicants, ultimately leading to the best-suited candidates. 

Video Interviewing Software 

When starting a recruitment agency, Video interviewing software can help speed up the interview process by allowing recruiters to conduct initial interviews remotely. This can save time and help reach candidates located in different areas.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools 

AI tools can help source candidates, screen resumes, and conduct initial interviews. They can help reduce bias and improve efficiency, making finding the best candidates for the job easier. 

A 2022 survey states that 42% of recruiters believe AI will allow them to be more strategic in their work. “This study found that recruiters are embracing AI”.  

By automating some of the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks, recruiters can focus on building relationships with candidates and clients. It can also help ensure a consistent and streamlined recruitment process, leading to a better candidate experience and reputation for your recruitment agency. 

Investing in the right recruitment technology is critical to your agency’s success. It can boost productivity levels and save time, ultimately leading to recruiting top talent across the board. Ensure you research deep into the most viable CRM/ATS options for your recruitment agency. 

Imagine a universe of recruitment software that seamlessly evolves and adapts to your business needs, your one-stop shop with everything at your feet. Everything mentioned above? It’s all there – from innovative video interviewing tools to smart AI, analytics, and automation – a simple yet expansive platform to help you find your true north.  

Check us out 👉🏼 Vincere recruitment software.   


It’s essential to understand the costs associated with starting a recruitment agency. The exact amount will vary depending on several factors, but it’s estimated that starting a recruitment company from scratch can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $250,000.  

This includes the costs of registering your business, obtaining a recruitment agency license, and investing in recruitment software for your agency, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year. 

Here’s a range of average costs depending on the requirements of your agency:  

  • All on your own - $3 – 10k  
  • Hands-on - $11 – 34k 
  • Outsource all services - $35 – 250k  

Starting a recruitment agency in 2024 can be an exciting and lucrative venture, but it comes with high costs.

Read more: How much it costs to start a recruitment agency in the UK 

Some of the essential expenses to consider are the following: 

Licensing and legal fees 

Depending on the country and state or province where you plan to operate, recruitment agencies may have licensing requirements. These requirements often come with fees, varying widely depending on your location. It's important you research the specific licenses, alws and regulations prior to setting up your recruitment agency. 

Office space and equipment 

You will need a physical location from which to operate a recruitment agency. This will likely involve leasing or buying office space and equipment such as computers, telephones, and other office supplies. 

Staffing costs 

Setting up a recruitment agency will require a team of employees to manage sourcing and placing candidates. These costs can include salaries, benefits, and payroll taxes. 

Read more: Effective strategies to reduce recruitment costs 

Technology expenses 

Technology is an integral part of the recruitment process, and you may need to invest in various tools and software to manage your candidate database, track job openings, and communicate with clients. Ensuring you have the best CRM for your recruitment agency, can help you effectively manage your candidate database, track job openings, and communicate with clients. Investing in the right recruitment software can significantly enhance your services and attract more clients.

Read more: Top sourcing tools for recruitment agencies 

Marketing and advertising 

You must invest in marketing and advertising efforts to build your client base. This can include creating a website, running social media ads, and attending networking events. Try to devise a marketing strategy throughout the planning stages of starting your own recruitment agency. 


Depending on your location, you may be required to carry insurance coverage for your recruitment agency. This can include liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and other types of coverage. 


Your website is your digital showpiece, your pièce de résistance in this rapidly transforming digital age. Pumping resources into your online presence isn’t just a good idea—it’s an absolute must.

Always keep in mind, first impressions can make or break your game. So, gear up and ensure your digital footprint is impactful before setting up your recruitment agency. According to Zippia, 79% of job seekers used social media and online websites in their job search last year.

Utilize Recruitment Software 

Investing in the right recruitment software for agencies can help you to streamline your processes, manage your candidate database and track job placements. This can be valuable in attracting and retaining clients and demonstrating your commitment to providing high-quality recruitment services.  

The cost of recruitment software can vary, with some options starting at a few hundred dollars and others costing several thousand dollars, depending on the features you need. 

Research from a Behaviour & IT journal states that it takes roughly 50 milliseconds for users to appraise your site and decide whether they’ll stick around.

Does your website tick all of these boxes?:

  • Intuitive UI
  • Creative web design
  • SEO
  • CRM Integration

Here are some tips to get you off the ground:

  • Study color theory and its impact
  • Keep it simple with straightforward navigation
  • Use an advanced job search tool
  • Make your CTAs stand out
  • Fuss-free application process (the fewer clicks, the better)
  • Humanize your brand (Include pictures and animations)
  • Make sure your site is mobile responsive

Without a solid integration, you could waste time going back and forth between systems, data gets mishandled, and tedious busywork drains productivity, resulting in inaccuracies, inconsistencies and a glut of outdated candidate information.

Manual processes and inefficiencies will hurt your business. Set your agency up for success and evaluate your tech wisely.

Learn more about Access Volcanic and Vincere integration.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

SEO isn’t just technical jargon - it’s your secret weapon that embodies efficiency and value. It drives organic traffic to your website, and provides a cost-effective marketing solution that keeps giving, even when you’re off the clock.

According to a Google 2020 study on SEO traffic, 90% of pages receive zero organic traffic. Suppose your recruitment agency does not appear on the first few pages of Google’s search results. In that case, job seekers will have difficulty finding you, resulting in missed opportunities to connect with passive and active talent.

A well-implemented SEO strategy can propel your recruitment business reach to the top of search engine rankings, making you the go-to choice for job seekers. After all, high-ranking websites on search engines are perceived as the most trusted.

Here are some essential tips:

  • Research relevant keywords
  • Use SEO-friendly URLs
  • Add modifiers to your titles
  • Use H1 tags for headline titles
  • Use H2 tags for subheadings
  • Internal linking
  • Add media

Keyword Research 

Perform in-depth research on your target audience and use industry-specific keywords to optimize your content. These targeted keywords will satisfy visitors’ search queries so you can rank higher on search results.

Here are content resources for you to optimize with targeted keywords:

  • Articles
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Software
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube
  • Industrial leaders
  • Webinars
  • Industry events
  • eBooks
  • Social media

A 2019 digital marketing study stated that 254 of 500 SMEs have only a basic understanding of SEO. High-ranking websites on search engines are perceived as the most trusted industry leaders. So, whether you’re a one-man band or a global agency, if you master the art of SEO, you will soar.

Create Valuable Content 

Providing valuable content, such as blog articles, e-books, and webinars, can help you to establish yourself as a thought leader in the recruitment industry and attract new clients. Additionally, sharing this content on social media and other online platforms can help to expand your reach and build your brand. Prior to starting your recruitment agency, think about the type of content you wish to create as this defines your brand voice and tone. 

Ask for Referrals 

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from satisfied clients. Word-of-mouth referrals are a powerful marketing tool and can be a great way to attract new business and build your reputation as a trusted and reliable recruitment agency. 


In today’s fast-paced world of recruitment, building and maintaining relationships with clients, candidates, and other industry professionals is essential for success in the industry.  

Read more: How to get even more clients for your recruitment agency 

It's importnat to remember when starting your recruitment agency that networking connects you with many recruitment networks – great opportunities to show off your reputation, meet people, build trust and credibility, and increase your chance of getting those quality referrals.  

Recruiters also have access to a larger talent pool – and as a recruiter, any method to increase the chance of finding high-quality candidates is one to be explored. Recruiters can also target candidates with specific skills and expertise, which helps when vetoing those irrelevant applicants.   

Think of the opportunities! It’s a fantastic way to stay on top of industry trends and keep up to date with the market, which is vital in a fast-evolving industry such as recruitment.  

Network and establish your agency as a trusted provider of quality recruitment services. 

Final thoughts

In conclusion, starting a successful recruitment agency in 2024 requires careful planning and strategic execution. Determining your niche and building a comprehensive business plan can help you define your target market, establish your goals, and select the resources you need to succeed.  

Understanding the laws and regulations help you stay in check, and setting realistic business goals can help you operate within the bounds of the law and remain focused on your objectives. 

Building the perfect team, with a combination of industry expertise, strong interpersonal skills, and a passion for excellence, is critical to success, as is networking and building relationships with clients and candidates. 

Finally, developing a solid brand and utilizing recruitment software for agencies can help you to streamline your operations, improve your performance, and stand out from the competition. With the right strategy, resources, and commitment, starting a recruitment agency can be a lucrative and rewarding opportunity, putting you on the map to get you on the road to success.  

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