5 Mistakes You’re Making as an Independent Recruiter

5 Mistakes You’re Making as an Independent Recruiter

Striking out on your own as an independent recruiter can be a great opportunity. However, running your own recruitment firm is also a challenge in many different ways. It’s easy to hit some stumbling blocks on the road to success. What matters is recognizing when you’ve made mistakes, then taking steps to correct them.

Here are some of the most common mistakes independent recruiters make. If any sound familiar, it’s not too late to adjust your procedures.


1. An Independent Recruiter Tries to Source Clients from Ex-Employers

If you’ve been in the staffing industry for some time, you may have a lengthy list of people you’ve worked with. Many people mistakenly believe they can take this list of potential clients with them when they strike out on their own.

Always check your contract with any current and former employers for non-compete clauses. These clauses prevent you from “poaching” clients when you decide to leave. Even if a client liked working with you specifically, reaching out to them once you’re independent could be a contract violation.

Most non-compete clauses eventually expire, but many last for years. Before going solo, review the terms of your contracts with previous and current employers. Then make a list of clients and when you can contact them. You may find your list substantially narrowed, which can affect your business outlook.


2. You Price Yourself out of the Market

It’s a scenario you might have thought about as an independent recruiter. If your prices are too high, you could find yourself unable to compete with other staffing firms in the area.

Your clients are likely willing to pay a premium to work with you. This is particularly true if you work in a certain niche or you’re considered one of the foremost recruiters in an area.

By contrast, it’s also possible to set your prices too low. This is a much more common mistake. Independent recruiters worry their high rates won’t attract any business, so they lower prices. Sometimes, they lower their rates too much and aren’t able to make ends meet or grow efficiently.

Finding the right price is difficult but possible. Do some careful research, ask current and prospective clients for feedback, and consider your costs to make the right decision.


3. You Ignore Your Niche

Independent recruiters are often most successful when they develop their expertise in one area or industry. For example, you may develop expertise in helping healthcare firms meet their staffing needs.

As an independent recruiter, it can be tempting to focus on horizontal expansion, rather than vertical growth. This creates a twofold problem. First, you go too wide and spread yourself too thin. Second, you fail to capitalize on your expertise and talent.

If you have a niche, be sure you’re giving it attention. If you’re not sure what your niche is, take a step back and identify the industries you do the most business with.


4. You Offer Only Permanent Staffing

Another mistake independent recruiters often make is offering only one type of service. This is most often permanent staffing.

You may feel you can’t compete with larger staffing firms that offer better terms and lower prices. You may also worry about the additional paperwork offering contract staffing services can create.

It’s easy to offer contract staffing services to your clients, even as an independent recruiter. All you need is some back office help.

By expanding your service offerings, you’re better able to serve your clients’ needs.


5. You Don’t Get Feedback from Candidates

Have you asked your candidates why they liked working with you, or why they didn’t return? If not, it’s time to collect their feedback. It could help you identify why candidates aren’t sticking around or how you can source more candidates more effectively.

These common mistakes can be easily resolved. If you see any of them in your business, take corrective action immediately.