How to Choose the Best Hiring Tools to Start Your New Agency

Thinking of opening your own recruitment agency? Congratulations on the new endeavor. Starting a recruitment agency is a huge step in a recruiting professional’s career. 

Getting the enterprise off the ground involves a lot of planning and decision-making. Each step in the process requires careful consideration, a keen understanding of the various factors involved, and the right hiring tools.

For example, when determining your agency’s niche, you will need to decide whether to be a specialist or generalist agency, as well as whether to set up the business as a temporary staffing, contingency, or executive search firm. Each choice is an opportunity for you to assess your strengths - as it relates to current market demands - and anticipate what the needs of the market might be in the future. It will also help to inform what hiring tools you will need to operate in this niche successfully. 

MORE: Read more about all of the steps that go into starting a recruitment agency here.

Speaking of hiring tools, this could easily be the most significant area of investment when you are getting a recruitment agency up and running. The right hiring tools will help the agency develop more streamlined hiring processes, boost efficiency and, ultimately, help you achieve better outcomes for clients. 

As the agency grows and establishes itself in the recruitment industry, the right tools will also help to attract top talent to work with you. It also doesn’t hurt that the best recruitment tools are built with security in mind, which allows you to focus on running the business with the knowledge that client, candidate, and employee information is protected.

As you embark on the entrepreneurial journey, expect to make a few key decisions about your technology investments. These business decisions about the hiring tools you incorporate into your business will ensure a strong foundation for the enterprise going forward.

RELATED: How to start a staffing agency

Digital native or low tech

A key consideration for business owners - regardless of their industry - is whether to start off as a digital-first enterprise or use more traditional methods for running the business. Digital-first organizations are primarily focused on delivering services to customers through digital means (e.g., an app or online channels), with the structure modeled to allow agility as technology evolves and customer actions change.

Digital-first companies have a vastly different way of thinking and operating - compared to recruitment industry incumbents. As EY’s ​​Global Organization and Workforce Transformation Co-Leader and Design Leader Matt Watt noted, digital natives have an advantage because the “structures, roles, capabilities and resources needed to continuously experiment, learn and adapt have been embedded in their organizational DNA.” This is significant for recruitment agencies in the current environment since changes to hiring practices over the past few years have been frequent, drastic, and swift.

By contrast, traditional or incumbent recruitment agencies may use legacy hiring tools such as Excel or Google spreadsheets that need to be manually updated. These are widely available, easy-to-use, and affordable options for a business owner. Additionally, spreadsheets can be formatted to suit your business needs. 

The drawback, however, is that it only allows you to create a database with basic data analysis capabilities. It is also only as up-to-date as the last entry.

Modern hiring tools provide a more comprehensive solution for recruitment agencies. Cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions incorporate other facets of the hiring process, including candidate sourcing, skills assessment, and interview scheduling. 

Combining core hiring tools such as an applicant tracking system (ATS) and a recruitment CRM makes it simpler to engage with candidates and clients as well as monitor and measure activities geared toward these groups from a central location. It also enables you to customize everything from job listings and resume formats to KPIs to help your new agency stand out. Integrations with multiple jobs posting sites and tighter management of the entire hiring process will also help a new agency crush client hiring timelines and enhance candidate experiences. Eventually, it is also doable to greatly streamline the collaborative process by sharing candidates’ profiles and status directly with clients via a guest portal, allowing both parties to communicate seamlessly.

Another crucial benefit is that the best vendors update their software often, so there is little need to invest time and resources into upgrades. Security and protecting the privacy of customer data are also a priority for top recruitment software vendors, which allows you to focus on running the agency. Find out more about Manatal’s approach to security and data privacy compliance.  

Starting a recruitment agency with the most important business processes in the cloud signals to clients that you are already thinking about the future. It also provides a competitive advantage over incumbent businesses that may have legacy systems and outdated hiring tools in need of upgrades because your agency will have the agility to meet changing market demands.

RESOURCES: Add hundreds of free and ready-to-use job description templates to your HR toolkit.

PODCAST: The Impact of HR Tech on Hiring Practices (with Anita Lettink)

What’s your total cost of ownership?

When evaluating the hiring tools that will be used in your new agency, there will likely be large upfront costs to consider - especially when factoring in hardware purchases and software implementation. What is often overlooked are the costs that businesses will incur overtime to maintain, upgrade and repair technology. 

Having a full-time IT professional on staff may not be an option when your business is in its earliest stages, so it is worthwhile to select hiring tools that do not require your staff to be trained by companies that offer 24/7 customer service.

The worst situation you can find yourself in is if your system is down and you are unable to reach the vendor to fix it. This downtime can be costly to your agency if it happens frequently. Also, make sure to spend time speaking to other business owners who use the same hiring tools to gain insight into their customer service record and how they treat new, smaller businesses. Another aspect of technology ownership is getting an understanding from vendors about when and how often software updates are conducted. This will provide some visibility into how the software is being maintained and what their future plans may be for the technology.

These are critical points to understand before purchasing any software for your agency - but especially the hiring tools that will be the core of your agency. The last thing you would want is for unplanned costs or for your solutions to become obsolete to new technology solutions. These are situations that can seriously restrict your agency’s growth.

PODCAST: Creating a Memorable Candidate Experience to Attract Top Talent (with Mark Laothavornwong)

How will these investments help the business?

The most important area to consider when thinking about the hiring tools you and your employees will use is how they will aid your business. While it can be a nice selling point to have all of the latest technology, it will all be pointless if it doesn’t help the agency operate efficiently and allow your team to deliver better services to clients. Just like with any technology, implementing something new just for the sake of it won’t have the intended impact.

Hiring tools like a recruitment CRM can help agency owners engage prospective clients, retain current clients, and ensure that the entire team is delivering top-notch service. Collaboration capabilities can really get clients involved in recruitment projects and help to deepen your agency’s relationships. ATS solutions can also streamline the various steps that go into filling vacancies with top talent and give your team time to engage with candidates on a more personal level.

Another way of looking at your agency’s tech investments is considering whether the hiring tools you select enable businesses to scale or adapt to new market conditions seamlessly. This is critical to the success of any business today. 

An example of this is how quickly so many organizations needed to pivot their hiring strategies throughout the pandemic. Layoffs in areas like retail and food service happened just as quickly as widespread hiring in industries like healthcare. If you are waiting for your tech solutions to catch up with your business needs, you may miss out on opportunities to innovate or address these types of market changes quickly.  

Data analysis will be one of the greatest assets for your business, so ensure that you are selecting a solution that makes it easy to glean insights about what’s working - and what’s not.  The world’s leading companies are succeeding not only because they are providing innovative products or services but also because they have the data & analytics capabilities to anticipate what their customers will need and the ability to act on these insights.

LEARN: Find out how you can get started with Manatal

Engage a tech vendor that will serve as a trusted partner

The final factor to consider when starting an agency is considering the type of vendor you will engage. The company you select to work with should be concerned about protecting your company’s data and committed to ensuring that their software helps your business be the best that it can be. 

The best hiring tools are easy to implement, affordable, and customizable. It also helps when the company behind the software solution understands the business of recruiting and the challenges that business owners face. 

Start a 14-day free trial and learn more about how Manatal’s recruitment software can impact your agency. 

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