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How to Build the Very Best Team for a Recruitment Agency Startup

Posted on Thu, Jul 13, 2017

It’s a well-known fact that most recruitment startups are founded by ex-recruiters that have done well for another company and feel that they can now go it alone. It’s an exciting journey, but of course, it’s hard going too. In the first 3 – 6 months, when your adrenalin is flowing, you’ll literally be able to work round the clock! However, before you know it, you quickly find yourself doing at least 10 different roles and wondering what a social life used to look like. Unless you have a team in place to take some of this workload off your hands, you’ll burn out really quickly.

So, it is important when you start to plan your recruitment startup to really think about the type of skill sets you need to attract in your first five hires, as in truth, these first five hires will hugely impact your recruitment agency’s future. So here are my top tips for who your first five hires should be to build the very best team for a recruitment agency startup…

1. Someone with Fantastic Energy and Ideas

How to Build the Very Best Team for a Recruitment Agency Startup-1.pngFirst, you are going to need someone that shares your passion, believes you can achieve greatness and has lots of creative ideas that will help shape why your recruitment agency will be different to the thousands out there already.

2. Someone That Has a Great Sense of Detail

In the early days of your startup, with loads of ideas flying around, new sales propositions and energy running high, the need for a person with a strong eye for detail quickly becomes the next priority. It’s important to allow your team member with all of the creative ideas room to shape your agency, but it’s equally important to ensure your agency can deliver on what this person promises. Essentially, your second person should provide the research and backing necessary to put the first person’s ideas into action. 

3. Someone Who Can Tell a Story Online

This role is often overlooked, especially for a recruitment agency startup, but I would argue that one of the most important team members to add early on is a person skilled at telling a story online. This could be the marketer or recruiter that is a digital native online. Your online presence is your shop front to the world so you need someone to mark your stamp on all the relevant social platforms. Your tone, voice, and brand are all built through how you shape this story online and it will become the reason why  your candidates and clients engage with you now and in the future.

Listen to our podcast with Peter Gold on the power of why when scaling a recruitment agency.

4. Someone That is a Workaholic

Now that you have the key ingredients for your recruitment agency to motor along, the next step is finding a good workaholic. This person will keep you company in the dark evenings and although I don’t support the working around the clock, these workaholics are often your top billers. They’re 100% bought in to you and your vision for your recruitment agency and motivated with a fierce competitive edge to be the best. This person will set the standards for what is achievable, what your recruiters can earn and essentially set the bar for results. Motivate and encourage this person all the way as work is what drives them (and your business) forward.  

5. Someone Good with Numbers 

Ok, you can get by initially by outsourcing your accounts or catching up at weekends doing your bookkeeping, but I have never met an entrepreneur that got in to business to manage the numbers. So, get an expert in that will do it better than you.

This person will create the foundations for stable growth, give you insights into what the business can afford, and flag early warning signs if you are expanding too quickly. He or she could be the reason that your agency will survive or fail in your first 3 years in business. 

I've been involved with a few startups now and in my experience, the teams that motored along were the ones where the founding team had different yet complimentary skill sets. Each team member knew their unique role and each person could effectively contribute to the company’s success. The startups that struggled were the teams that were fighting to be heard, bickering over decisions, or even trying to compete with one another.

So, choose your team wisely. It’s the most important decision a recruitment agency owner can make when starting out.

Is your agency set up for future growth?

Wendy McDougall, Firefish Software CEOAbout the Author: Wendy McDougall is the CEO of Firefish Software. With just under 20 years experience in the recruitment industry, Wendy is on a mission to inspire the next generation of recruiters and help challenge the traditional recruitment agency model of doing things. In her spare time, you’ll find her enjoying some down time with the family, playing squash and feeding her inner geek with all the latest technology!

Tags: Agency Management, Startup

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