3 Ways to Slash Costs if You’re Running a Recruitment Agency

By Richard Kao - Aug. 25, 2016
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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Richard Kao from The Cos Group. His opinions are his own.

In the UK, the recruitment sector grew bigger than its pre-crisis peak, boasting an annual turnover of £28.7 billion in 2014. US-based employment and recruiting agencies, on the other hand, generated $28 billion in revenue while enjoying an annual growth rate of 4.6%.

Great news for head-hunters and employment agencies indeed! But just like any business, companies that match prospects with employers for a living also have to deal with growing expenses: office rent, tech and tools for their staff, and marketing campaigns to grow their business.

Let’s take a look at a few tried-and-tested ways for anybody running a recruitment business to slash their operational costs while maintaining a high-quality of work.

1. Office Space

If you are to look at your monthly financial sheets, office space rental probably accounts for at least 50% of your expenses. In the West End of London, businesses pay up to £1324.72 per square meter in office space rental. Businesses in large US cities like New York, on the other hand, spend up to $14,800 per employee in workplace rental.

You’re most likely not spending that much per square meter, but cutting your rental costs while still providing an adequate place to work is always welcome!

The amount you pay for office rental depends on how many employees you have. If you’re just starting to build your recruitment business or you have less than 10 employees in your team, co-working spaces are an option you should definitely consider.

These workplaces have just about every amenity you and your small team of recruiters need to work: high-speed internet, coffee to keep focused, desks and workstations, phone numbers clients can call, and more.

Moreover, these affordable office spaces will be easier to come by as the Global Co-working Survey predicted that we’ll see over 10,000 co-working spaces in cities around the world before the end of 2016.

For mid-sized to larger recruitment firms (75+ employees) however, alternative workplaces like co-working spaces may not cut it.

Fortunately, a recruitment business owner can still slash as much as 25% of their rent by subleasing an office space. Sure, subleasing an office space is pricier and does not give you the amenities included in a co-working space. Nevertheless, subleasing is still easier on the pocket than renting on your own.

When looking for subleasing opportunities, working with a broker who maintains a good track record and specializes in small offices in the area is the best way to go. The broker’s expertise and knowledge of the lease rates, hard-to-find office spaces, owners open to subleasing, and more will significantly reduce the time you spend searching.

2. Tech and Tools

When all is said and done, recruitment companies are tasked with sourcing candidates for vacant positions, running the candidates through a selection process, and making sure the new hires stay motivated and productive. That’s a lot and it’s not at all surprising that employment agencies need a host of tools to get the job done.

Fortunately, many of the tools you need to find clients and talented job seekers can be found online – and even better, some of them are free. Have a look:

  • Glassdoor: The large US-based jobs and career marketplace is a god-send to recruiters, one that gives you a better understanding of the market including what the competition offers. Glassdoor delivers a lot of niceties from a few searches and clicks: title variations, average compensation and value for the position, and reviews of the top-rated companies in your target industry – written by no less than their former and current employees.
  • ZipRecruiter: The website isn’t just a massive job search engine for job hunters. ZipRecruiter also lets you find a wealth of qualified candidates and post your job listing to over 100 job boards!
  • FullContact: The contact management tool brings a lot of features to keep your network and connections up-to-date: automatic addition and merging of new contact updates, secure cloud storage for your contacts, and an add-on to put your Gmail on steroids to name a few!

Want more of these time-saving and affordable recruitment tools? Check out this technology guide for every modern recruiter!

But outside of the online services needed for attraction, selection, and retention, recruitment agencies also need tools for their day-to-day activities such as regularly backing up files and databases of resumes, managing payroll, and dealing with IT security issues that may arise.

Before you shell out hard-earned money for software or a suite of applications that sit on your desktop or server, look for alternative cloud-based services first.

For example, are you looking for a backup solution to keep your resume databases safe along with an easy-to-use word processor and spreadsheet software? Check out Google Drive first. The service lets you backup and sync your files across multiple devices, giving you access to a solid suite of programs, and it’s cloud-based! 

What makes cloud-services appealing? Two words: significant savings. A study by Rackspace, Vanson Bourne, and the Manchester Business School found that 88% of participating UK and US businesses enjoyed cost savings by migrating switching to cloud-based providers for their most common processes and applications.

Moreover, 56% of the study participants saw an increase in profits since going up to the cloud while 62% are reinvesting their savings back into business.

But of course, office technology goes beyond the software and applications a business uses for daily operations. Laptops, workstations, printers and printing supplies and mobile devices for employees on the go – you need to equip your staff with the right hardware to get the job done.

And if buying brand new is out of the question, leasing is one option to explore.

Leasing allows you to keep your technology up-to-date without upfront costs. Not to mention the monthly expenses are manageable (and easy on your budget) while the leasing company takes care of breakdowns and technical issues, keeping the equipment virtually maintenance-free.

3. Marketing

Did you know that 22% of recruitment agencies generate 50% or more of their income from their largest client? And here’s the worse part: 6% of these companies admit that they’d close down if they lose their largest client.

Don’t be a part of that 6%! Marketing your recruitment services and finding top talent to fill in job vacancies should be priority number one. Fortunately, you can spread the word about your business using cost-effective marketing strategies.

When thinking about saving costs on marketing, you should focus on things that you can DIY or easily designate to a team member.Here’s a short list of marketing activities you can roll with:

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM) – Harnessing the power of social media takes time and consistency, especially in publishing content and engaging followers. But the rewards are handsome. For many businesses, social media marketing helped slash their lead generation costs by up to 80%. However, to succeed in social marketing while keeping your expenses low, focusing on one social network is highly recommended. LinkedIn, for example, is a business-oriented social networking service that can help you find top talents and clients for your recruitment company – and should be the platform of choice for your SMM efforts. Plus, you can also use this daily 18-minute SMM plan to make sure every minute you spend on social networks are well-spent. 
  • Posting To Job Boards – People first turn to job boards when they’re looking for employment opportunities, and it makes perfect sense to establish your company’s presence on job-posting websites. As an added benefit, creating a profile and posting job vacancies on these boards help create backlinks to your website. Keep in mind, however, that your profile should have complete information to inspire confidence from job seekers: email address, location, phone number, website URL, logo, and other important details. 
  • Blogging – Creating a blog and regularly adding fresh, informative posts to it can massively increase the traffic your website (and its important service pages) receives. Want to increase your traffic by 53%? Blogging also helps increase social shares for your brand, which helps boost your credibility. We don’t have to search high and low for examples. RecruitLoop has one of the best and most highly shared posts around.This post about female Full Stack developers in NY got over 5,000 shares, while this post got over 1,000 shares.

Things are looking bright for recruitment and employment agencies.

The number of small businesses and start-ups, in particular, is rapidly growing and even generating twice the number of jobs that big businesses eliminated through downsizing.

With the trend poised to keep up for a long time, these businesses will need your recruitment services and expertise to fill vacant positions with qualified and motivated individuals.

Set yourself and your recruitment company up for success by keeping your finances healthy. And with the money-saving tips and cost-effective ideas for office space, technology, and marketing outlined in this post, there’s no reason why you can’t!

Richard is the sales director for COS Sales, an office technology solutions provider. When not meeting with his team, he's busy reading blogs and sites like RecruitLoop to learn how to better run the biz.


Richard Kao

Richard is the sales director for COS Sales, an office technology solutions provider. When not meeting with his team, he's busy reading blogs and sites like RecruitLoop to learn how to better run the biz.

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