How to Start Your Own IT Recruitment Agency?
Do you build extensive plans? Do you want to start your own business, but don’t want to retry an experiment of many startups that “died” within the first five years? Indeed, the market today faces hard times. Even in high-end spheres such as IT, the risk of failure is quite high. And, nevertheless, if you are a fan of technology and you have an excellent set of soft skills, then IT recruiting can become a profitable and exciting business format for you.
In our experience, IT recruiting is a rather obstinate business with its own pitfalls. There are no magic recipes for success, if you are eager to know how we’ve managed to create a successful IT recruiting agency solely because of our intelligence and hard work, then let’s go, we are glad to share our experience!
What is the feature of an IT recruitment agency?
Agencies specializing in IT recruiting are narrow-focused. Unlike general-purpose recruiters, we are well-versed in the tech field, have well-established networking and our own candidate base, we are fluent in English; know where to find a TOP professional and how to “hunt” them.
IT recruitment agency: how to start one and how much will it cost?
To start an IT recruiting business you need to do two common things: decide on the form of ownership (self-employed entrepreneur or OOO) and the form of employment (office or remote work).
Next comes what no recruitment agency can work without — access to recruiting services and a special CRM system. These tools will be the main cost pool.
In addition, our fixed costs include mobile communications, site maintenance, and advertising. According to our calculations, it turns out that to run an IT recruiting business you’ll spend more than $40,000 a year, and this doesn’t include taxes, payroll, office rental and working facilities for employees!
Success Principles of IT Recruitment Agency
Be well-versed in the tech sphere
It is simply inconceivable to claim that you run an IT recruitment agency without a basic knowledge of IT. To be successful in the market, you need to at least:
- Understand the terminology. This will help you to be on the same page with clients and IT specialists, as well as determine the level of candidates’ knowledge correctly.
- Learn fast. New technologies in the tech industry appear almost daily. If you don’t follow the trends, read a lot and communicate with IT specialists, your agency won’t be able to compete with others on the market.
- Know the rules. IT recruiters must understand which specialties are in demand, and know their real salaries. According to our observations, 30% of our customers need a good reality check. They are not always well oriented in the market and offer non-competitive working conditions. Our task is to help the client understand what is real and what is not, and give advice on how to attract one or another specialist.
- Understand the psychology of an IT specialist. The profile of a typical cool specialist looks like this: he works according to a non-standard schedule, is not in an active job search (because he is employed), regularly receives several job offers and has a unique CV writing style. Another important point – tech people don’t like test assignments.
Have work experience in recruiting
It is impossible to become a recruiter in a week after taking a short course. Real experience is gained in real headhunting. Therefore, without an appropriate background, it’s quite impossible to “blend in” the market and become a powerful player in it.
At Lucky Hunter, we describe ourselves as lucky ones in the recruiting world. However, this isn’t an empty pretentiousness: the key to success lies in perseverance and hard work. For 434 business days and 3620 business hours, we’ve filled more than 300 difficult positions for 40 companies. And the more we work, the more we are lucky.
Be flexible and stress-resistant
If you are dreaming of a comfortable routine, then we honestly warn that IT recruiting is not about that. “Instability and risk” – this is how we can describe this business in a nutshell. Negotiations are often postponed, requirements for candidates are constantly changing, and you might not even dream of a standard nine to five schedule. But where does this instability come from?
- The specificity of the IT-sphere. Many IT-talents work flexible hours, so it’s okay for them to schedule negotiations at a time when all ordinary people already sleep. If you work with foreign companies, you’ll have to adapt to their time zone, so negotiations at 5 a.m. aren’t uncommon.
- Our guarantee. If “our” candidate leaves the company before the end of the probationary period, we guarantee a free single-time replacement. This guarantee attracts many customers, but there is naturally the risk of double work behind it. Even trying our best every time, we can’t be sure that there will be no candidate replacement. In 99% of cases, this is not our fault.
- Misunderstandings. In my practice, there was a case when a client refused to accept a suitable candidate, whom we motivated enough to consider a job offer. The reason lied in the fact that the specialist’s CV was once published on an employment website (like Indeed). So the client decided that he could take the candidate without paying for the agency services and send his CV to the company’s in-house HRs. We had a feeling that we weren’t partners who worked for the common cause, but competitors.
The client needs to be constantly informed that:
- a) Recruiting is a partnership. We don’t compete with in-house HRs but work together to fill the position.
- b) If you’ve found a candidate’s CV on the open Internet, this still doesn’t guarantee that you can motivate him to consider an offer without the agency’s assistance. A professional recruiter knows how to “sell” a job vacancy.
- c) To find a candidate’s CV in the database is only part of the story. The main difficulty is to “sell” the vacancy to a candidate. To do this, you’ll need a highly qualified IT recruiter.
- d) Employment websites like Indeed or Monster ( in Russia – Headhunter) are only one of the tools that IT recruiters use in their work. Most often, we find candidates through our unique closed channels.
Love your job
I don’t want to sound corny, but a simple question: would you work as an IT recruiter if you weren’t paid for it? If you didn’t feel your heart skipped a beat, don’t start. Passion for your work gives strength to cope with difficulties and stress, as well as to grow professionally.
The Golden Age of IT Recruiting
Digitalization and the implementation of new technologies into a business causes the high demand for IT specialists, and, consequently, for IT recruiters who can provide companies with clear heads.
Lucky Hunter has existed since 2017 and now confidently stands at the market. Over two and a half years of work, our team has grown to 13 people, and the cost of services has risen by 4%. In addition, we are opening an office in London. It means that we enter an international market. Within this period, we’ve developed a huge customer base, as well as managed to establish steady partnership relations with our regular customers.
If IT recruiting – is not for you…
The sun of IT recruiting is reaching its zenith, and only the lazy ones don’t want to bask in it. Many entrepreneurs have a stereotype that IT is a bonanza business, and they have nothing to do to win this summit. I’ll disappoint you. You provide a very specific service, and not only your reputation will depend on your choice of candidate, but also the career of that candidate, the business processes of the client hiring him, and even the state of the market. Therefore, without a background in recruiting and basic knowledge of IT, it is unreasonable to take such a responsibility.
You may have thought that we are discouraging you so that we have fewer competitors. Alternatively, every day we fight for the quality of our recruiting services, and it is beneficial for us that our competitors do the same. After all, the more quality recruiting is in the market, the more business trusts us. So if you are going our way, welcome to IT recruiting!
About the author: Tatiana Melnichuk is the head of the international IT recruitment agency Lucky Hunter. For more than 10 years she’s been recruiting staff for IT companies all over the world, holds lectures and training courses. She knows how to recruit the best IT specialists, where to find them and what to do if you need to relocate a specialist to your country.