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6 Tips About How To Source Passive Candidates

If you are a recruiter or works in the staffing industry, I’m sure you know that passive candidates are usually the best candidates. But passive recruiting is often easier said than done. You’ll have[...]

November 13, 2018

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How Independent Recruiters Create Thriving Businesses

Significant shifts in technology and sharing economics have inspired a renaissance of the entrepreneurial spirit by introducing a new element into the mix: freedom. We’re witnessing explosive growth in independent recruiters who are blazing their own trails. However, running one’s own business can present a challenge to the uninitiated. We want to help these industrious independent recruiting professionals.

Other companies will publish countless articles about refining your hiring skills, perfecting searches, enticing prospects and enhancing the candidate experience. We have, too, and these tips are important. Yet, most companies in the staffing space stop short of encouraging your autonomy. Not Crowdstaffing. We want your business to grow and to work alongside you as partners. So, I’d like to break down some essentials that will help you build the foundations of your own flourishing enterprise.

Rekindling the Independent and Entrepreneurial Spirit

According to the Total Early Stage Entrepreneurial Index (TEA), there’s been a 77-percent increase in entrepreneurs across all global economies. In fact, about 70 percent of young professionals from 42 countries view themselves as entrepreneurs. It’s no wonder that the consultancy EY has singled out entrepreneurialism as one of the biggest drivers in business. And no matter the company, organizational leaders need quality hires. The business of people is the business of the future.

The struggles of traditional agencies to correlate recruiting to high performance and results further complicates matters. As we wrote recently, “employers are racing to find skilled workers, yet their internal resources can’t keep pace with the job orders piling up on their desks. That’s why more companies are turning to the staffing industry for help. Even then, however, positions go unfilled and the war for talent rages on. Why? Because agency recruiters face limitations that independent recruiters have overcome.”

Independent recruiting professionals represent the future of the staffing industry. However, venturing out on your own can be a highly rewarding yet daunting undertaking. So here are some tips that can make the process easier and get you traveling in the right direction.

Laying the Foundations of Your Independent Recruiting Empire

An Eye for Details

If you want to create an exceptional experience for your clients and candidates (hint: you do), you should focus on the same practices as any other thriving, customer-centric enterprise.

  • Be professional, engaging, responsive and attentive to the needs of your clients and candidates. Your customers want to feel like they matter to you!
  • Create compelling job descriptions that remain simple yet include all the details necessary to ensure an optimal match. A carefully crafted job description goes a long way.
  • Return calls, emails or social media communications promptly.
  • Keep clients and candidates informed of progress at all times, through every stage of the hiring process. The Crowdstaffing platform has an integrated email button that lets you quickly send an email whenever a candidate moves up a stage in the job pipeline.
  • Ensure that the candidates you submit match the job profile. Just as diners sour over an incorrect order, clients and talent will become equally disappointed if the job or individual are blatantly incompatible.
  • Communicate clearly and ensure that your interactions -- whether digital or vocal -- embody the brand you want to promote. Create a brand voice and stick with it.
  • Maintain your physical and virtual office spaces (e.g., social media, blogs, websites) so that they best represent your image. Everything should look updated, crisp, compelling, functional and tidy.

Financial Competency

You’ve authored a great business plan. You’ve designed a unique model. Based on your early marketing research, employers and candidates will be hammering down your doors. However, without managing money correctly, even the most creative businesses -- those fueled by visionary leaders and staffed with highly skilled talent -- can tank. For entrepreneurial recruiters, financial considerations are imperative.

  • Keep track of your operating costs, payroll, profits, losses, taxes, expenses, and other overhead. Use a system, not just a spreadsheet. Accounting software doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Programs such as Quicken, QuickBooks or Sage can make a big difference.
  • Determining a worker’s compensation and markup isn’t giving you the entire picture of rates. Use a transparent and methodical approach. There are a lot of statutory costs involved in bill rates, beyond your marketing and profits. A wise plan is to determine all statutories before tacking on profits. These include FUTA, FICA, SUTA, taxes, employer mandated health, paid sick leave, disability, and more. Remember that these percentages vary by state and city.
  • Create a database of all statutory costs for the regions you support. Make sure you update them at least once a year.
  • By understanding these costs, you achieve greater visibility into your revenues. A lot of agencies propose markups because they seem “standard.” However, before you submit your 38 percent markup, you’ll want to know precisely what that entails. Let’s say the statutory costs total 35 percent. That leaves just three percent to cover your general and administrative expenses, recruiting costs and profit.

Passionate Leadership

Nine times out of 10, organizations operate more efficiently when the owners have worked their way up through the industry hierarchy. The same principle applies to recruiting. Your staff will respect and follow your vision when they have confidence in your experience, knowledge, and skills. The best leaders put aside their egos and mentor their teams. They demonstrate a “buck stops here” attitude when issues arise. Today’s professionals want to develop. They want to advance, and they hunger to learn. Your firm will soar when your leaders are prepared to guide others by example.

Passion is also a critical element of strong leadership that can’t be ignored. Creating a rich corporate culture stems from instilling shared values and a sense of belonging throughout the organization. How far are you willing to go to make your businesses succeed?

Your team members must believe that they can conquer any obstacle, solve any challenge and deliver the best service possible. Candidates must sense that they’re placing their career choices in the hands of experts -- people who advocate for them and work tirelessly to find them an ideal position. Your emotional investment into the mission cements those attitudes and ultimately reflects the character of your firm. It’s also what attracts talent, staff, and clients to your agency.


In this fiercely competitive market, no industry is immune to change. Labor demands continue to shift. The skills needed for today’s businesses have evolved. A new, younger breed of worker has entered the workforce. Everything about talent and staffing is dynamic. Outpacing your competitors requires innovating new ways to discover, source, engage, and connect with top talent.

Your recruiting business should continuously study industry trends -- in recruiting and in the client sectors you serve. Watch for lulls and forecast evolving needs. Examine and refine your methods, sources, systems, and tools at least every two years to make sure that you’re adapting and remaining relevant.

Stand Out

So what differentiates your favorite shop from another that stocks the same wares? Everything, really. It’s the whole experience that matters. Think about your favorite brands and what makes them so special:

  • The stores you frequent appeal to your tastes.
  • The quality of their products and delivery of their services are unbeatable.
  • Their prices are fair and commensurate – not necessarily cheap; they accurately reflect the quality of the offering.
  • The ambiance is inviting and energizing.
  • The service is exemplary, and there’s a palpable sense of devotion and vigor -- that passion infuses the staff and patrons alike.

Your favorite shops are most likely unique. Something about them stands out. Successful recruiters must also distinguish themselves from their competition. Without the best service, top talent, consistent delivery, operational stability, committed team members and a unique approach that guarantees performance, clients and candidates won’t consider what you have to offer.

Enterprises that try to be all things to all customers usually fail. Their message is muddled. Their brands are confusing. Their services are diluted. The best places know their niche or play to their strengths. Strive to make what you have to offer uniquely yours. That doesn’t mean you should strive for flashy or gimmicky. Success involves creating a brand that embraces your values, capitalizes on your strengths, emphasizes your specialties, and caters to a core base -- the right people and the right business cultures.

The Time is Right for Entrepreneurial Endeavors  

The entrepreneurial ecosystem is one that encourages passion and the spirit of independence – the very things that make you an entrepreneur. These ecosystems are flourishing on a global scale. The world is seeing a significant uptick in entrepreneurship, in part due to the evolving cultural and economic support systems that are needed to fuel today’s independent enterprises. In short, there’s no time like the present to become an entrepreneur. And, by using the right tools (like the ones we outlined in this post), your path to success becomes that much easier.

Bret Bass
Bret Bass
Vice President of Special Operations
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