Should I Be a Specialist Recruitment Agency or Not?

Whether you’re starting a recruitment agency or thinking about pivoting your existing agency’s offerings, you might be wondering:

Should I be a specialist recruitment agency?

Would I be suited to the work? 🤔

Is it what I want to be doing? 🤷‍♀️

Is it my best option? 💭

At AdBuilder, we’re here to help recruiters however we can.

Sometimes, that means saving them precious time and effort with our one-of-a-kind job advert building platform.

But today it means taking an action-packed sightseeing tour through the ins and outs of specialist recruitment!

Let’s do this.


Is It Better to Be an All-Round Recruitment Agency, or to Find a Specialism? 🧭

This is question one.

The BIG one.

But the answer isn’t a simple yes or no!

Some all-round, multi-industry recruitment agencies see huge success (take Coburg Banks as an example), while others struggle.

Yes, there are more candidates to source on behalf of your clients if you’re hiring across the spectrum, but there’s also more competition in non-specialist spaces.

Swings and roundabouts. 🎠🎡

The biggest things to think about, when you’re trying to find your place in the recruitment industry, are:

– The size of your agency/the number of employees on staff

– The amount of money available to your agency

– The number of resources available to your agency

– The existing professional knowledge that you and your employees possess

Casting as wide a net as you can when you’re starting might seem like a good call, but as I’ve already suggested, demand comes with added competition.

In 2019, the direct contribution of recruiters and recruitment agencies to the UK economy came to a whopping £42.3 billion.

Carving out a niche within this billion-pound industry equals increasing your chances of standing out. ⚠️

Now you see.

There’s more than one way to specialise, and there’s more than one way to go about finding a top candidate.

Still sitting on the fence?

Keep reading.

Find out a bit more about specialist agencies, and what you uncover might sway you one way or the other. 📖

What Is the Right Industry for Me?

Assuming you’ve decided to head down the niche route, it will soon be time to ask yourself:

What is the right industry for me?

Where can I strut my recruitment stuff?

And which industries are a favourable, viable investment at the moment?

Here are a few options to get you started.

Should I Specialise in Tech?

It’s easy to see that the tech industry is on the rise. 💻📈

Rapid digital advancement is making computing and coding jobs steadily more necessary with each passing year.

And with that rise in demand comes a rise in the number of job openings.

According to 61% of HR managers working in IT, the greatest recruitment difficulty as of 2020 was finding qualified candidates.

That’s exactly why there’s a need for specialist agencies like TechNET IT Recruitment.

Agencies that can bridge the divide between candidates and employers and make life easier on both ends.

And that’s where you could come in.

Should I Specialise in Health and Social Care?

Healthcare services are absolutely vital, and carers of all kinds bring support and dignity to the most vulnerable members of our society.

If there’s an industry where the quality of supplied candidates matters more deeply than any other, it’s this one. 💛

This is exactly why specialist agencies like Temps4Care step in.

In the words of Temps4Care…

“We only work with the very best – and crucially, the most reliable – care temps in the West Midlands. And we make sure that we keep our standards so high by putting in place strict vetting procedures, in-depth, face-to-face interviews and a one-strike rule. We simply will not allow our clients to be let down, left waiting for someone who doesn’t show up. We don’t stand for it. It’s as simple as that.”

The number of adult social care jobs in England rose by 2.8% between 2019/20 and 2020/21.

If you’d like to conduct important work in a growing industry, health and social care might be a good fit.

Should I Specialise in Accountancy and Finance?

Accountancy and finance is a growth industry.

Financial recruitment consultancies like CMA Recruitment Group are benefitting from this fact and high levels of client demand. 🤑

A late 2020 interview with the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) revealed that key figures in the financial recruitment sector were positive about its future, even in a post-COVID context.

Lee Owen, Hays Accountancy & Finance Director, had this to say:

“Sentiment from our clients about the long-term prosperity of the sector is somewhat upbeat. Most are expecting their activity levels to increase or stay the same over the next 12 months, and there is optimism about the health of the wider economy.”

Should I Specialise in Education?

Starting an education-industry-focused recruitment agency could bring new value to your work.

It could offer you a chance to do two things:

  1. Enjoy steady demand and strong profits.
  2. Bring hard-working, talented people into the world of education.

Companies like Class People exemplify how this can be done effectively, and how much room there is in education for the care and attention that specialist recruiters can bring to the table. 🍎👩‍🏫

Should I Specialise in Sales and Marketing?

In 2020, almost 200,000 people were employed in marketing and advertising roles in the UK.

A sharp rise of almost 50,000 from nine years before.

Marketing is a natural niche to fall into when you’re already working in recruitment since the industries share many common principles and features. 🌚🌝

(That’s how much marketing and recruiting have in common.)

In both industries:

– You’re selling something.

– You’re trying to get heard, seen and noticed in digital spaces.

– You’re working to meet client needs and respond to client requests.

– You’re measuring data to figure out what does and doesn’t work.

If you chose to become a specialist marketing recruitment agency, you could occupy a similar place in the market to a brand like Kandidate.

Should I Specialise in Property and Construction?

Many specialist agencies recruit primarily for construction companies. 🚧

Agencies like Capstone Recruitment, for example.

This testimonial for Capstone, provided by Global Engineering Consultancy’s Director of Cost Management, should show you what your agency could be, given enough time, expertise and effort:

“Capstone is my first port of call when I’m recruiting. They understand me and my business and work in partnership to resource my requirements. Capstone is an expert in their field, have a strong network of candidates and always offer valuable market advice. Their service is excellent and is based on speed, efficiency, honest advice and matching candidates closely to my requirements. Whether it’s freelance or permanent needs, Capstone can help.”

How Else Can I Narrow Down My Niche?

Outside of an industry niche, you might choose to get specific by running a diversity-focused recruitment agency like BAME Recruitment.

Diversity and inclusion best practices are a huge focus in the UK professional sphere, and a diverse workplace is a real priority for the modern jobseeker. 🌈

As a recruiter of this kind, you’ll help your clients to hire diversely.

You’ll ensure that candidates from a range of backgrounds are matched with supportive, inclusive employers.

Do I Need Specialist Recruiters?

There are different types of recruitment agencies, so it stands to reason that there are different types of recruiters.

Generalist recruiters work across the board, with clients from a range of different industries and places. 🌎

Specialist recruiters focus on a niche market, skill set or location. 📍🗺

Let’s take a two-pronged approach to this question.

Firstly, let’s come at it from the perspective of someone running a niche agency.

And secondly, from the perspective of someone running a traditional agency…

Does My Niche Recruitment Agency Need Specialist Recruiters?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is yes.

If you’re working in a very particular field, recruiters with experience relevant to that field are a must.

This factor is especially true if you don’t have that depth of sector-specific knowledge for yourself quite yet.

That’s not to say that you can only hire industry experts and highly experienced specialist recruiters – a range of skill sets, and perspectives often enhances the power of a team.

At a minimum, you’re going to need a few. 🤷‍♂️

Does My All-Round Recruitment Agency Need Specialist Recruiters?

Yes, all-round agencies DO need specialist recruiters. ✅


Because the best traditional, multi-industry recruitment agencies in the UK are actually many specialist recruitment departments combined to form a larger agency.

Mind. Blown. 🤯

Begin your journey in the “traditional agency” space, and you might well find that over time, your business will naturally develop areas of specialism and departments of focus.

Too much expertise has never been a bad thing.

Even in smaller agencies, specialist knowledge is sure to come in handy sooner or later.

Running a Specialist Recruitment Agency Doesn’t Need to Be a Headache 🤕

It’s not easy to try something new.

Last week, I tried a new dish at a local Indian restaurant, and I had regrets.

It was HOT hot, and I missed my usual. 🥵

But while AdBuilder won’t help you handle the heat; it will help you launch a specialist recruitment agency with minimum fuss.

In one corner, you’ll have the support of our job advert building platform.

The time you’d otherwise be spending painstakingly writing out each new job ad, you can instead spend on researching your specialist area.

On staying up to the minute on the latest industry developments.

In another corner, you’ll have the support of AdGrader, our debiasing tool.

AdGrader will leave you and your clients safe in the knowledge that your job ads are free of any exclusionary or limiting language.

“But wait,” I hear you say.

“What about EVERYTHING else?

Creating high-quality, inspiring job adverts is only one piece of the puzzle!” 🧩

“Fear not,” I reply.

For the rest of that puzzle, here are my five best suggestions…

5 Ways to Overcome the Challenges You’ll Face When Starting a Specialist Recruitment Agency

1. Spend Your Budget Wisely

When you’re launching your specialist agency, it pays to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

You probably don’t have millions to spend at this early stage, so don’t make decisions as if you do.

If, for example, you’re investing in software to streamline your processes, snag free trials where you can.

Then, pay careful attention to what works and doesn’t work for your agency.

What’s actively producing results/saving you time/helping you out, and what’s probably a waste of the amount you’d need to pay at the end of the trial?

2. Focus Heavily on Building Strong Relationships

Once you have a few clients on your books, pay them as much care and attention as possible.

Foster strong relationships early on.

When your clients rate your services highly, your specialist recruitment agency will be able to generate referrals and repeat business with relative ease.

Extend this same energy and effort towards the candidates that you’re connecting with on behalf of your clients.

3. Nail Candidate Sourcing and Screening

Consistently connecting quality candidates with employers and roles is going to be the name of the game in whichever industry you choose to specialise in.

There are three key “S” words to consider:

Sourcing, Screening and Selecting.

The last “S” is on your client, but the first two should be well covered by your hard work, particularly given the level of expertise that clients expect from a niche agency.

Give enough time and energy to your “S” words, and don’t disappoint!

4. Know The Recruitment Industry Like the Back of Your Hand

In a digital and rapidly evolving world, every industry experiences change, year on year and month on month.

One of the best ways to push past the competition is to stay ahead of the curve in terms of the latest recruitment trends and developments.

If you can be the one to report things to your clients like “remote working options will continue to gain popularity this year” and “jobseekers are increasingly demonstrating an interest in company culture”, this will be much appreciated.

5. Know Your Niche/Specialism Like the Back of Your Hand

Like the above, an understanding of the particulars of your niche is a must.

If that’s something you don’t already have in the bag, it’s time to put on your research hat AND consider hiring some experts.

If, for example, you’re running a specialist financial recruitment agency, you’ll need to pay attention to shifting age demographics in the sector, helping the finance firms that make up your client base to attract millennials and younger talent.

AdBuilder Helps Recruiters of All Kinds Save Hiring Time

Whatever your recruitment agency’s path turns out to be, AdBuilder is here to help.

Save time, satisfy clients and focus on building the most efficient recruitment agency possible with our innovative platforms and blog-based wisdom. 😉

For more recruitment tips and tricks, check out:

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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.

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