When you decided to go out on your own and create a start up recruitment business, what did people say? “Good for you”, “You’re so brave!”, “I could never do it”. People are generally quick to volunteer their opinions and share their thoughts on whether they could do it. Well, they are not doing it…. You are. You are going out on a limb. Granted it’s in a field you have expertise in but you’re building a new business and a reputation as a solo recruiter. Pretty soon, it can feel like you verses the rest of the world. You’re up against other recruiters, well known brands, established relationships and PSLs. You didn’t do this on a whim though, recruitment can be tough and in the battle of you against candidates, clients and competitors you could do with some secret weapons in your armoury. 1) Get a coach I am a coaching devotee. I’ve been both self-employed and run a business, at times they can be lonely places. Working with a coach has kept me on track. Coaches focus you on your goals, keep you in action and silence those critical voices that creep in and create doubt. A coach has no agenda for you, they are not steered by their experience or opinion. If you’re looking for someone who has been there and done that in recruitment, then go for mentor. Both are fantastic support. 2) Pick up the phone Being self-employed is not the time to hide your light under a bushel. You might have an engaging website, sent the most enticing InMail or written a persuasive blog but that won’t be enough. Research from Social Talent showed that just 6% of recruiters pick up the phone to source candidates. This compared to 38% using LinkedIn mail. 6%! Your chances of being heard are significantly increased if the crowd is smaller, so pick up the phone. There’s no need for the hard sell but introduce yourself, get known and gently persist in making contact. 3) Assess and Interview Working for yourself gives you more control. Control over processes and being able to focus on what matters to you. There’s a strong chance that one of these factors is service and having the time to source and get to know your candidates, so you’re truly putting forward the best to your clients. So there are no excuses, get to know your candidates. Don’t be swayed by preconceptions of previous experience, we all know this can pigeon hole a candidate who is capable and has a host of transferable skills. Invite your candidates to take skills based tests and some behavioural profiling. You’ll get the measure of their capability and what sort of roles they will flourish in. Skill based testing helps identify any areas for development and the behavioural profiling is fantastic for self-awareness, particularly helpful when you’re about to sit interviews and talk about yourself. 4) Invest In Yourself and Your Tech The temptation to start off with low cost basics makes sense. You want to generate revenue before committing to spending. However, relying on spreadsheets and post-it reminders won’t cut it. You set out to make your recruitment business a success so invest in yourself. There are plenty of free tools, apps and plug-ins that you can use but it’s worth investing in a robust candidate management system, like Voyager’s Infinity. This can be used on the go and integrates with multiple platforms like job posting tools and ISV’s skills testing software. Not only will it make your sourcing and selection process more professional, it will save you time and improve your results in the long run. 5) Know what your value add is Any business should be clear on their ‘why’. Their USP and the things that set them apart. This is the same for a recruitment start-up. Why should candidates and clients pick you? These days, it’s not just enough to tick a box – you need to set yourself apart and clearly communicate how and where you add value. Maybe it’s through the interview coaching you provide or perhaps the report generated by candidate testing but make it easy for anyone listening to hear why they should pick you. Starting a recruitment business isn’t easy, but if it was easy then everyone would be doing it. Use these tools and tactics to give yourself the edge and the best possible chance of success. ***** ISV.Online is the leading supplier of skills testing software and services to the UK Recruitment Industry. Used by 9 of the top 10 UK agencies, by number of offices, and 7 of the top 10, by revenue, ISV.Online offers candidate skills assessment and evaluation software and online training tools, allowing agencies and in-house HR/recruitment teams to validate the skills of potential candidates and existing employees across a wide range of areas.