There are 20,000 staffing agencies in the US, with new firms popping up every day—often by industry professionals looking to strike out on their own. But figuring out how to start a staffing agency can be daunting. And, if you’ve already started your agency, growing it can be overwhelming, too. Success comes with a whole new set of challenges, some of which can come as a nasty surprise if you’re not prepared. Here are 12 areas any new firm should consider.
How to start a staffing agency: 12 focus areas
These topics cover a range of important factors to consider. Answer these questions to ensure that every aspect of running a successful staffing agency has been accounted for.
Your business plan
- Do you have a growth strategy in place?
- Are you emphasizing profit or revenue?
- Are you focusing on existing clients, new clients, or an even mix?
- Will you specialize in a specific placement-type (temp, perm, contract, direct hire)?
- What industries will you serve?
- Do you have a modern website that’s easy to use?
- Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Do you monitor review-sites for feedback about your firm?
- Do you provide resources for candidates on your website?
- Do you have a specific selling point that differentiates your firm from the competition?
- Do you personalize your communication (in email, social media, etc.)?
- Do you have a clearly defined target customer audience?
- Do you have satisfied clients you can use as referrals?
- Do you have a strategy for generating leads that goes beyond cold-calling?
- Do you avoid generic value propositions in describing your firm? (e.g., “We provide great customer service).
- Do you have an established presence on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook?
- Do you regularly share useful content with candidates and clients?
- Do you have a sourcing strategy for identifying qualified candidates on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?
- Do you use social media to effectively network with prospective clients and candidates?
- Do you use an applicant tracking system (ATS) and/or customer relationship management (CRM) software to manage your data and nurture relationships with candidates and clients?
- If you are currently leveraging an ATS, is your email fully integrated?
- Do you have a reporting solution for tracking candidate and client data?
- Do you automate the onboarding process for candidates or is it manual?
Staffing trends and news
- Do you stay up-to-date on staffing industry trends?
- Do you network at staffing events?
- Do you stay up-to-date on current events and legislation that impact staffing firms?
- Are you a member of your state’s staffing association?
- Do you embrace new staffing technology?
- Are you seen as an expert in the industries you serve?
- Do you provide valuable industry resources to prospective candidates and clients?
- Do you go to industry-specific events to stay up-to-date and network with prospective clients?
- Do you have a formal training program in place?
- Do you incorporate employee feedback into your training?
- How frequently, if ever, do you evaluate employee performance?
- Are you able to ramp-up new employees in a month or less?
- Do you have a candidate engagement strategy in place at your firm?
- Do you personalize all communication with candidates?
- Do you follow up with candidates after their placement?
- Do you measure candidate satisfaction?
- Do you solicit candidate feedback?
- Do you interview candidates at the end of the hiring process to learn about their experience?
- Do you use candidate feedback to make deliberate improvements to your firm?
- Do you use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to nurture client relationships and detect unhappy clients?
- Do you maintain consistent and frequent communication with your clients?
- Do you measure client satisfaction?
- Do you solicit customer feedback?
- Do you use client feedback to make deliberate improvements to your firm?
- Do you report on critical staffing metrics like fill-rate and gross margin?
- Do you perform weekly or monthly reports to better understand your business?
- Do you measure your employee’s performance on specific key metrics?
- Do you use your data to make meaningful changes to your firm?
- Do you have a backup of your pertinent client and candidate data?
- Is your data linked to a personal account vulnerable to attack (e.g., a personal Gmail account)?
- If you use an ATS/CRM vendor, are they SSAE 16 SOC1 Type II compliant?
Want more insights and tips on how to start a staffing agency? Check out Toolkit: Resources to Grow Your Staffing Firm from the Ground Up for useful tools and tips you can use to better your firm.