6 Ways to Scale a Recruitment Business

Wondering how to scale a recruitment business?

Starting your own recruitment agency can be confusing enough in an industry that employs over 100,000.

But what happens once you’re officially up and running?

How do you keep building your business and gaining steam? 🧱🚂

Should you specialise in a certain sector? Should you streamline? Should you take more risks?

There are a million different options, and in this blog, we’ll explore them together.

Let’s get going…


From Start-Up to High-Value Company: How to Scale a Recruitment Business

For anyone who has launched/is in the process of launching a new business, questions about growth and the future are common and necessary.

But thinking about the hypothetical expansion of your recruitment business and making it happen are two different things.

Many smaller start-ups in the huge recruitment space feel overwhelmed by the amount of competition.

Lord knows we’ve felt that way before over here at AdBuilder. 🙀

Recruiters fresh to the scene wonder: How am I ever going to stand out in an industry like this one? How is my agency ever going to grow?

But then…

They lace up their boots, get started, and make magic happen. 🥾🪄

(At least, the best of the bunch do, and you could be among them.)

Why Does Scalability Matter? 💭

“If your business goals include entering new markets, establishing multiple domestic and international entities, and growing your profits, then it’s time to consider scalability. Business scalability is a necessary part of adapting to company changes successfully as you grow, meet, and exceed your goals.” – Globalization Partners

Scalability = The capacity that a business has to grow in size and scale. The degree to which your operation can be expanded.

As you can probably guess, scalability is essential. ✅

It allows your agency to start small and build itself up over time, increasing revenue and responding to rising demand at a steady rate.

Never hitting a ceiling that can’t be broken through.

It isn’t easy, but if done correctly, building a scalable recruitment business is the best way to start from scratch and enjoy sustainable success in the hiring industry.

How Can I Grow My Recruitment Agency? 🌱

Growth and scalability are two subtly different terms.

– Growing = Increasing your business’s revenue

– Scaling = Increasing your business’s revenue without incurring significant new costs

For instance, Google only employs 80,000 people despite boasting a roster of seven products with over a billion total users each.

For years, the company has been adding customers without adding anywhere near as many employees.

While growth is a finite and specific measure, the scalability of your business is exponential.

When you design working processes that not only work at your agency’s current level but are also highly scalable, you make your possibility for success… well… limitless.

You can shoot for the stars. 💫

Scalable businesses are, therefore, businesses that can easily and rapidly grow.

So, the answer as to how you grow your recruitment agency leads to another question: How can I scale my recruitment business?

6 Ways to Scale a Recruitment Business

Creating a strong agency from the seed of an idea is much like growing a plant from its seed.

It requires time, effort, attention and plenty of nurturing. 🌿

But unlike growing a plant, there’s a lot more to focus on when you’re a recruiter.

From filling job positions with workers quickly to optimising your job ads for SEO, there are many different things on your plate.

It’s easy to give attention only to what’s in front of you, rather than planning ahead.

But if you don’t want your agency to plateau?

Planning ahead and carefully considering the future are two things you’ve gotta get well-acquainted with.

We’re talking BFF levels of well-acquainted here, like these two. ⬇️

My six best recommendations for scaling a recruitment business from start-up to prominent name in the hiring sector are as follows:

1. Build a Strong Team

The strength of your team is not solely defined by the number of people on that team.

In fact, 94% of recruitment agencies based in Singapore employ less than 10 people – and many of these agencies are extremely successful.

It comes down to the people that you’re hiring.

You spend so much time meeting the hiring needs of clients that it should come naturally, but it’s easy to want to rush the internal recruitment process.

After all, it’s not making your business any money at the moment, so it can’t matter that much.


Wrong. ❌

Making a bad hiring decision can cost your business a lot of money, time and strife in the long term.

You need to make every hire an incredibly valuable one, and though this is always true, it’s especially true of early team members.

Founding, formative members of the brand.

To make a good internal hire, ask the following questions (regardless of role):

– Does this person share your agency’s values, ethos and vision for the future?

– Does this person plan to stick around long-term and embark on a career in the recruitment industry?

– Has this person communicated promptly and effectively during the hiring process?

– Does this person have a clear and accurate idea of the role they’ll be filling and what it will entail?

When everyone is on the same page, and everything is communicated, your hires soon come together to form the beginnings of a strong team.

You can further strengthen this team by ensuring you create a happy, welcoming and supportive working environment – one that encourages collaboration and values honesty. 🤝

Nine out of 10 CFOs agree that improving company culture has increased the performance and value of their business.

2. Find a Specialism in the Business Recruitment Space

One great way to expand your business’s reach in the industry and access a new customer base is by pivoting your slate of offerings. 🔄

If you’ve been a fairly general recruitment business and you’d like to try something new, why not consider becoming a specialist recruitment agency instead?

There are a million different types of specialism to consider, but every specialism comes with its own niche client base and less competition from the wider recruitment world.

Less competition means more room in the sub-sector to scale your business up.

Big fish, small pond. 🐟

(That’s you.)

You could become:

A headhunting/corporate recruitment agency – When compared to a generalist agency, headhunters spend more time on each hire and are usually brought in to fill more specific and highly-skilled senior roles. Headhunters and corporate recruiters need very specific skills/abilities, and as they have a lower hire volume, they tend to charge more for each successful hire they facilitate.

An industry-specific agency (e.g., focused on healthcare recruitment, education recruitment, construction recruitment, so on) – If you’re pivoting from another industry into the hiring industry (i.e., you used to work in healthcare/education/construction/so on), this might be a great way to incorporate some of your past knowledge and give your agency a leg-up on the competition.

A diversity-focused recruitment agency – There are many examples of agencies that focus their recruitment efforts on certain minority groups to promote a more diverse workforce. BAME Recruitment, for instance, is an executive search recruiter and a diversity and inclusion consultant, helping employers to diversify and connecting a wide range of jobseekers to the perfect roles.

A recruitment agency tied to a specific area/location – Whether you’re simply emphasising your generalist agency’s location or making location the forefront of your marketing, this is a great way to tap into a new market. Some companies want to hire close to home, prioritising local talent and supporting the local community. Your agency could help them to do so.

3. Create a Comprehensive Recruitment Business Plan

The best way to get to where you’re heading is, in short, to know exactly where you’re heading. 📍🗺

That’s where building a really good business plan for your recruitment agency comes in.

My best tips for doing this are…

Clarify your brand vision – At the top of your business plan, clearly detail the plans you have for the future and the ethos/central ideas of the agency. Reveal your vision for the brand. This way, you can refer back to your vision as you set out everything that follows. You can ask questions like: Is this decision in line with the vision? Is this action moving us closer to the vision?

Conduct detailed market research and identify your space in the sector/your brand’s USPs – When you do the research and understand exactly what you’re working with, you put yourself in the best possible position to make your agency viable, profitable and successful. Know your place, know your audience, and discover as much as you can about your industry.

Set short-term and long-term goals which are measurable/quantifiable – Setting and measuring goals is the best way to scale your recruitment business over time. When you use KPIs and benchmarking, you develop a strong sense of what is and isn’t working, and when things aren’t working, you can quickly step in to make adjustments and improvements.

4. Grow Your Agency’s Brand

The scalability of a business is massively impacted by the strength of its branding.

That’s why growing your agency’s brand is crucial from the moment you start.

[Statistics from: LinkedIn]

It could be:

– Posting regular informative, engaging content on social media and building a new following in this way.

– Sharing longer-form blogs on your website to improve SEO and encourage more site visits and click-throughs. 🌏🖱

– Heading out into the real world to connect with clients and jobseekers in-person at seminars, conferences and fairs.

Whatever your strategy, showing up and marketing your agency matters.

It could be the difference between a jobseeker entering your pipeline or another, and the difference between a client choosing your agency or another to partner with.

Imagine that your agency’s brand was a product on a supermarket shelf…🤔

You’d want to be the name brand, top-of-the-line stuff that everyone’s reaching for.

Not the off-brand knock-off stuff left on the shelves before a restock.

5. Balance Risk and Reward

Over 500,000 companies dissolved between 2018-19, with around 130,000 of this number thought to be start-ups.

When you’re building up your business, you need to take risks.

But these risks will need to be calculated, priced and carefully thought out.

Any wrong move – especially in the early days – could see you becoming a company within that 130,000.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Make sure you have the cash to support the kind of growth you’re hoping to achieve, and if you don’t at that moment, hold off.

Didn’t you ever hear the story about the tortoise and the hare? 🐢🐇

6. Streamline Your Working Processes

When you streamline, you save time.

And when you save time, you have more room to invest that time elsewhere. ⌛️=🤑

There are plenty of ways to streamline, from planning your days and hours more effectively to implementing recruitment automation tools.

Automation tools are a form of AI, and 80% of executives believe that AI can improve productivity and performance.

One example of an automated tool that could streamline your recruitment agency’s working processes and make it more scalable is CRM (Candidate/Customer Relationship Management) software.

CRM software helps you to keep track of many applications at one time and is ideal if your agency is handling a high volume of job applications.

Another example is a job advert building software like ours – AdBuilder. ✨👐

AdBuilder massively cuts down the time it takes to produce each job advert you share on behalf of your clients.

Beyond this, there are many more types of automation software to explore.

Do your research, try them on for size using commonly available free trials, and find out which works best for your recruitment business.

Make Growing a Recruitment Business Easy with AdBuilder

As mentioned above, investing in AdBuilder’s speedy job advert building platform is one of the best ways to streamline your working processes and increase agency-wide efficiency.

As your business grows, you’ll find that the less time spent on busy work that could be automated, the better.

Why not put those minds you’re paying to employ to good use, rather than wasting them on simple tasks that AdBuilder could accomplish in about 10 mins?

Time spent creating a job ad from scratch over and over again could instead be spent actively sourcing talent for your pipeline. 🔍👀

Or promoting your brand and raising its profile on sites like LinkedIn.

Or communicating with clients and talent (especially important, given that a whopping 69% of jobseekers want to see response time during the hiring process improved).

Make growth and scaling simpler.

Try AdBuilder for free today.

Or, for more wisdom on all things running and improving your recruitment agency, stick around on the AdBuilder blog.

Check out:

Share this article
James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

Read more from James
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments