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Should a non-recruiter launch a recruitment business?

by Max Jones/ Friday 12th January 2018

What right do SSG have to tell someone if they “should” or “should not” start their own recruitment business?

It’s a funny question to be honest.

What right do SSG have to tell someone if they “should” or “should not” start their own recruitment business?

The short answer is none. We’ve been very fortunate to have been launching & supporting recruitment agencies for the last 15 years & in that time it’s always been clear to us that starting a recruitment business is a very personal aspiration, one that can (& more importantly, should!) not be something you are talked into or out of for that matter.
However, with that experience what has also become evident is how exceptionally tough running your own recruitment business really is. Therefore, the mantra here at SSG has always been the same – while we completely respect why somebody (a “non-recruiter” for want of a better word) would look to start their own business & why it might be an immense success, for SSG we feel that that experience is integral to making your own venture a long-lasting success. We know how tough it is, & therefore know how important building a solid foundation of experience is before looking to make the leap.
So, what do we mean by a solid foundation? What would a few years of 360 recruitment experience from an agency within the sector you are looking to go into really give you as a person & professional that will put you in great stead going into your own business?

Recruitment – the devils in the detail

Now there’s no coincidence that “Recruitment” starts with an “R” & so too does the phrase “really really hard”. After all, recruitment is a tough old gig – ask anyone in the fantastic market & I am sure they will agree. It doesn’t matter if you’re 6 months into your first trainee role or going into your 12th year – there will always be new challenges sent down by the Recruitment Gods to challenge, push & tease you. 
Couple the strenuous skills of balancing a clients need against a candidates, a contractors against a pay rate & the very fact that you are dealing with the most valuable (& unreliable) commodity known as people, with the new challenges of running an agency, dealing with taxation, suppliers, HMRC, Data protection – the list goes on!
Now imagine if you were not only learning the ropes of your own agency but also the ropes of recruitment at the same time – for SSG, we just think that’s slightly too much an individual should handle.

Hiring & Recruitment – there’s a difference

As a recruiter, how many times have you been horrifically offended by a family member or close friend who refers to your profession as “easy”? Now I don’t know you personally, I don’t know your family either, but I can assume that perhaps from time to time this has either been said or inferred!...
One of the most challenging aspects of recruitment is marrying up the right candidate to the right role. How do we know that? Because we have both been & worked with recruiters for years & years – anyone fortunate enough to work in recruitment knows how challenging that can really be.
However, for those “non-recruiter” folk (again – for want of a better word) there is sometimes as misperception that recruitment is simply placing an advert on a popular job board, trawling through 30 CVs, calling 5 candidates & then simply popping them all into interview & letting the client pick.
Mastering the art of building client relationships, understanding a client’s needs & how they handle their internal processes; building a network of potential prospects, shortlisting & managing that candidate process; to negotiating payment terms, “package” negotiations & - are things that years of 360 experience will give someone. That exposure is useful – not only because you will gain skills you can then bring to your own agency but also because, recruitment is not for everyone – heck, you might start your own agency, put all that risk on your shoulders & then 6 months down the line realise that recruitment is not for you.

Recruitment is not for everyone

Now for those recruiters reading this today, I’ll give you a moment while you get back to your feet & sit back on your chair…
But it’s true – recruitment, being the wonderful market it is, is not something for everyone & therefore in the humble opinion of SSG it is really something that people need to have experience in before looking to start their own agency.
& as I hope I made clear at the start of this blog, we don’t say that because we feel that someone CAN’T start a recruitment business without any experience, after all – who are we to say that? But, we feel that people would have a far better foundation if that experience was there. Experience of dealing with clients & candidates, non-paying clients (as cynical as that sounds), elusive candidates & the on-going compliance surrounding the market you are in.
At the end of the day though - whether you’re a seasoned recruitment veteran, an experienced head or recruitment is something completely new to you. If you are thinking about the idea of starting your own agency at some stage in your career, then it would be a pleasure to talk to you & chuck the idea around. After all, this is a slow burn business – whether you’re in recruitment now or not, the desire might already be there. It’s now all about understanding the logistics to get you to where you want to go, is it not?

Thank you so much for reading this article on wearessg.com

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