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Decide Which Recruitment Sector to Specialise in

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 6 May 2015 | comments*Discuss
Recruitment Specialise Recruitment Jobs

The sector you recruit for will be one of the biggest decisions that you make when setting up your own recruitment business. Although you can choose to diversify later and start new divisions, the services you offer at the beginning will invariably define you to your market.

Even if you feel there is an obvious choice for what sector you will specialise in, it is worth having an open mind. You may have recruited for a particular niche sector when you worked for an employer, but it may not be appropriate to continue in the same area.


Most people who set up their own recruitment business have worked for another recruitment agency before as an employed consultant. They see that they are doing the majority of the work, yet the company is taking the majority of the commission, so they decide to go it alone. You may feel as though it is a no-brainer to continue in the same recruitment sector – you have clients and candidates that know you, after all – but this may not be a wide enough employment sector to sustain a business.


If you choose to continue recruiting in the same field, not only will your old employer be a direct competitor, but it may be that you are contravening the rules of your employment contract. It is a common clause that ex-employees are unable to work for another recruitment company or set up their own business in the same field, within a certain distance and a certain time frame.

Look around your local area, or the area in which you plan to open an office if you are not working from home initially, see what types of agencies are available. Look on the internet and see which agencies have a good presence in your area. Gather all the information you can about your potential competitors and make sure you offer something different.

Economic Climate

There is no point establishing your own recruitment business in a declining sector. Think about what sectors are growing and what sectors are emerging and see where your experience fits in. For example, there have been a number of new agencies popping up around east London to utilise the possibilities that the 2012 Olympics will bring. There are also a number of agencies currently doing very well out of the building boom in the area.

Personal Interest

If you have a passion for architecture or teaching, why not establish your new business in that field? Just because you have always worked in banking recruitment, for example, when you have a business to build it is far better that it is in an area that you are passionate about. This will come across when you are talking to candidates and clients, or potential PR contacts, so you will soon be up to speed with the recruitment side of things.

With the internet being so widely used, having an excellent website built means that you can offer a niche service wherever you are in the country. Just make sure that you appeal to your target audience and be flexible about travelling to meet people – you could also invest in a webcam so that you can conduct interviews for jobs on line, far better for your carbon footprint!

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@AK - if you are already involved in consultancy and have some knowledge of the workings, but not enough, I advise that you try and look online for some relevant business start-up workshops that apply directly to you. The more experience from every angle the better foundations you will have in which to start your own business. Business Gateway is a Scottish local authority run website that might help you through offering some constructive business advice (however, just remember that it is aimed at Scottish businesses, rather then English and some rules may be different, but it does offer som great downloadable advice that might help get you started) link here. Unfortunately, there is nothing in England of the same ilk, so you may have to pay for any workshops, unless you contact your local Jobcentre Plus who may be able to inform you if there is anything you can access locally to you. I hope this helps.
StartARecruitmentBusiness - 26-Jan-15 @ 11:10 AM
I have many different experience in catering, HGV,LGV,Bus driving and the construction industry. I understand what the recruitment agency does to put unemployed people back to work, but I don't understand how to set up a business of that kind. I currently do voluntary work for a charity group in east London who provided consultancy work for the central government. And I am starting to understand the concept but can't get round to doing it. Need help and advise on this please
AK - 23-Jan-15 @ 8:27 PM
@chilli chatter - you would have to get some specific advice from a business adviser who will go through outlay, running costs, wages and cash flow etc. If you have not run a similar business before, then it would a big undertaking and one that you need some proper consultation on.
Ben - 3-Dec-14 @ 1:50 PM
I am very curious to start my own recruitment agency for HGV Driver. I have been working as a driver for about 10 years and thats all I know! I really havent got a clue about where and how to start this project and I would surely do with all the help...thanks.
chilli chatter - 2-Dec-14 @ 5:11 PM
HI, I amworking as an IT professional am planning to start my own business as an recruiter. please if can anyone guide me in this like how to get lisence for this and how to get client support. with regards R.Shyam sundar
shyam - 9-Aug-14 @ 3:15 PM
Hi I am at the very early stages of thinking about setting up my own recruitment company. Is there anu advise / pointers you can give me? Regards
Jon Price - 24-Mar-13 @ 9:59 AM
Hi, I'm in the process of setting up a recruitment agency for my local area providing temp and perm staff (office and light industrial). I want to take on a Recruitment Consultant from day one who will help me build up the business in terms of registering candidates and winning clients. The issue is, I dont know where to begin in setting the Recruitment Consultant targets and what their commission should be. Does anyone know what the "norm" is? How much business should I realistically expect them to bring in each month and what commission should I pay?
Ralph - 8-Jan-13 @ 11:26 AM
I've know loads of people who've tried to make a success out of recruitment. It takes a certain type of person top be able to make any money out of this. IMHO the best sectors to get on in recruitment are IT and Retail. YOu really need to know what you're talking about though, so it';s best if you've worked in one of those fields. To anyone thinking about it...don't give up, loads of people do so there's bound to be a point where you'll be one of a few who knows their stuff.
TOUGHONE - 21-May-12 @ 7:17 PM
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