Peter Linas, EVP of Corporate Development and International at Bullhorn

The recruitment industry is ruthless, fast-moving, and always changing, and companies need to grow year-over-year to stay afloat. That is why almost every recruitment company seeks growth; fortunately, there are several ways of going about it. Firms can do more business with existing customers, attract new clients, acquire new companies, or be acquired themselves. But the most straightforward option for growth is simple and organic: doing more business.

How should recruitment agencies be focusing their efforts, especially with limited budgets and only so many hours in the day? Here are three key areas that will power any agency towards growth.


  1. Invest in tech

More than ever, technology is lifting the burdens of repetitive tasks to allow recruiters to spend more time doing what they do best. From scheduling to managing prospects, many basic recruitment processes can be made cheaper and more efficient through automation. While there is certainly a learning curve, these services are increasingly powerful and easy to use. And considering that many of them become indispensable tools across the industry, it pays to get on board early to get an edge over the competition.

Our Global Recruitment Insights and Data (GRID) survey found that just 36 percent of recruiters had ‘investment in new technology’ as a top priority. That 36 percent can expect early access to the cost and efficiency advantages that technology brings. When it comes to growth in a competitive industry, staying up to date on the latest tech is essential.


  1. Invest in online outreach

The second key to agency growth  is investing in reaching candidates online. This has become more important than ever with younger applicants entering the job market for the first time. From mobile to search engines to social media, choosing the right ways to search for prospects is critical, and those “right ways” are increasingly online

Ensuring that job posts are well-ranked on Google for relevant search terms or paying for targeted social media posts may seem outside many recruiters’ core competencies, but can in fact help reach candidates that other recruiters may miss. Companies can also use online tools to streamline early parts of the recruiting pipeline, for instance by using a chatbot to help prospects who are unsure of what they’re looking for, or video calls for initial interviews with candidates.

A data-focused CRM can also make a significant difference when it comes to keeping track of candidates across multiple channels. For example, it can make it easy to stay on top of what they are interested in and how best to reach them.


  1. Invest in skills

Recruiters put a lot of thought into whether a candidate has the right skills for a role, but rarely take a moment to think about their own skills. This is a significant oversight. One of the most substantial investments an agency can make is in reskilling and upskilling its own  employees. Learning new technologies, new ways of working, and other essential skills can go a long way in growing the company and offers some of the best value for money of any investment.


A major area for recruiters to stay up to date with is technology. As previously mentioned, our GRID survey found that 36 percent of UK consultants believed that embracing digital transformation was a top priority. Some 16 percent also felt they needed more training on using technology – specifically automation, social media, and candidate screening. Increased digital data handling is accompanied by new responsibilities, with regulations such as the GDPR mandating specific procedures. Staffing agencies must make sure someone in the organisation is up to date on the latest legislation.

With all this talk of technology, it can be easy to lose sight of the importance of human relationships. Over 20 percent of consultants who took part in our GRID survey thought that they needed to improve their client management and relationship-building skills. Technology does not take the place of this human touch, but rather empowers recruiters by making them more efficient and giving them more time to focus on that crucial aspect of their job.

Investment in the right areas fuels agency growth

Unlike other, more direct, forms of growth – like acquiring another company – organic growth is a secondary effect from other investments. With forward-looking investments – in areas such as technology, online outreach and skills – staffing agencies can put themselves in the best possible position to grow organically.