I am a recruiter with about 1.5yrs of experience, unfortunately I left the company i was with due to cutbacks. From the get go i knew recruiting was for me, loved speaking to candidates, knowing I was doing some good by getting them to their next job. ( I have always loved helping others, however I can ). Placements came and were as sweet as can be... Right now the spot I am in I cannot work with another company because I do not have sufficient experience. Would this be a good time to start my own business then? Or should I focus on trying to work for others? 

I come from a technical background of nearly 10yrs but no longer want to focus on that. Recruiting is the way to go for me.

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1 1/2 years is plenty of experience for 90% of the agency based recruiting companies out there. The fact is that you have 10 years technical which puts you years ahead of a generalist recruiter as long as you are strong with rest of the work.

Where are you located?

I wrote a blog on this a while back - so rather than retype the whole thing I'll just copy it here.

Would you borrow $12K knowing you had to pay back $150 – $300K?

Of course you wouldn’t! That would be out of the question in anyone’s opinion, right? Well – that’s exactly what you are going to do when you go to work for another agency.

Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? Believe it or not that is happening throughout the staffing world! As the economy rebounds and jobs start opening up – many recruiters are now looking at either changing agencies or getting back into recruiting from being off for a while.

Let me be clear: When you get hired into an agency you are expected to generate business. In most cases you’ll be expected to go find an opening and then fill it. That’s what we do. There is no magic box awaiting you at your new desk. Probably a computer, a phone and a few new pens. YOU are the one bringing the magic!

So there you are. Let’s say you have a reasonable draw. $4k/month would be a good starting point. So you dive in – ready to make something happen. By the end of your first month you have a few sendouts. Ending the second month you’ve probably got a placement or two in the pipleline. By the end of the 3rd month you’ve made a placement and are heading toward your next. Right? You bet I am.

But what if you don’t have anything happening? You’ll be canned. You didn’t bring the magic. Your desk will be cleaned out and another hopeful staffer will be brought in to replace you. And you get to go try again.

What I’m getting at is this: YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PLACEMENT EITHER WAY! Get it? So why borrow 10-12 thousand dollars to get started when you will then be paying back 50-60% of every placement you make for eternity? See the math here? Over the course of 2, 3, 4 years just look at how much money you will be paying back for the initial loan to get started? The numbers are staggering!

When I got my start in recruiting (1987) it would have been impossible to start working for myself. There was no internet. Boolean strings were not a common term being thrown around. Client names were found only in the Harris Directory and what we called the Blue Book. Our database was a giant cluster of drawers filled with candidate folders. You HAD to be with an agency. There was just no way around it. And the phone bills? Outrageous!

It is such a wide open world now. Everything you could want is right at your fingertips. Candidates, company names, no long distance charges – you name it. If you’ve been in recruiting a few years and are looking for something new you should consider becoming an independent recruiter. Do yourself a HUGE favor – hire yourself!

With only 1.5 years of experience though, you may actually make more money by going to a good agency. You'll get a base or draw so you have a weekly paycheck for one thing,   the chance to learn from the more senior people, but most importantly you'll benefit from the leverage you'll experience by working as part of a team. If you are on your own, you might get a job order, but then it's on you to fill it and beat out the other recruiters who are likely working on it. At an agency if you get a new job order, you have a better chance to fill it because you have both time and leverage on your side....several people in your group may have great candidates to send out immediately, which ups your odds of filling the role.


You can make money without even having a job order as well, by filling a colleagues opening. Some people prefer to focus on recruiting vs. business development and can do just as well by focusing on the candidate side and filling jobs that come in. On the flip side, if you are great at getting orders, you might find that you don't have to work as hard to fill them if you have some good recruiters on your team.


Plus, you might just enjoy the comraderie of being in an office and working with other people. Working from home 100% is great for some people, but not everyone loves it, it can be a little isolating. All things to think about. 


This also gives you time to learn more, build a base of clients and candidates, improve your skills and then in a few years, maybe then you'd want to go on your own.


Going on your own can be a great thing, you keep all the commission....but at the point you're at now, you have to remember it might be better to have half of something than all of nothing. :)  When you're on your own there's no base to carry you through a slow month or two, and you have to do your own business development and handle your expenses. This may be a piece of cake though if you are very good at business development and have a nice savings account.


Both options can be good ones.....depending on what you are ready to take on.

Good luck!

  If you have the motivation to work by yourself and have no problem in using the telephone to solicit business, you should get into the business yourself.  

Jay, first of all, I'm glad to hear there is an entrepreneur inside of you waiting to get out.  You ask a very smart question because whether you realize it or not, timing is a big thing.  It ultimately doesn't matter what I or anybody else says but its wise to get some input so you are making decisions with good information.

Let me start off by stating that I think you will go off on your own and actually I think you should.  However, if this is the time to do it is a completely separate issue.  Why?  Not because of the economy but more so if you're ready.  Have you learned enough?  Are you aggressive enough?  Are you seasoned enough?  Only you can answer those questions.  Don't worry about the economy and outside factors as much.  That stuff will naturally figure itself out into your ultimate decision but these other internal factors which you have more control over should be your primary focus.

I welcome you to check me out on Linkedin as well as read some of my blogs.  I have postings that are related to your question and my own career has involved all available facets of recruiting (third party agency, contract recruiting, internal in-house employee, and consultant).

All the best!


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