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 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!



19 thoughts on “Would you borrow $12K knowing you had to pay back $150 – $300K?

  1. Powerful and I agree with you! So, give us insight into why you think most people, even after reading this will continue to take that loan and pay back that huge amount to an owner? Does it take a different breed of person to actually do what you are suggesting? Just curious…

  2. What exactly are “sendouts”. Are these emails with resumes? Are they a list of candidates in an email?

    Some recruiters work for agencies b/c they are fresh out of school. Others might have to much to lose in commissions. I know I did back in 2002. I had over 15 placements one Qtr when the owner decided to not pay us. I left. I worked for myself, so you are right to a degree.

  3. Good points guys. I’ll clarify a bit. This post is directed at someone who has already been in the field a while. Someone who knows what making placements is all about and considering working for another agency.

    RECON – Fear of Failure is what holds most back I suspect. What I’m bringing up for discussion is that you must make a placement no matter WHERE you go. You’ll fail either way w/o making something happen. Maybe it does take a different breed – but if you’re in recruiting then you’re already in the game. The only question is – where are you going to play?

    Michael Glenn – Sendouts is when you have a candidate going on an interview. I’ll emphasize – recruting is not something I would suggest learning on your own. You absolutely need to work in an agency or with a mentor. This is about the decision to move forward from there.

    Anti Pimp – Agreed!

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. It’s all true. That’s how/why I went out on my own many years ago. You either sink or swim on your own whether you are sitting at a desk someone else owns or your own. Make no placements you have no job. Make no placements you have no business. At least when you make a placement on your own you’re making all the money too!

  5. My IMHO, is that it takes working for a company like Robert Half or TekSystems for a while to get the good experience.

    I worked for 2 staffing companies but didn’t do full desk. When I forged on my own, I really struggled to get my foot in the door.

  6. @MichaelGlenn – I agree. What sparked this blog idea was a conversation I’ve had recently with several experienced recruiters.

    What happens if I go on my own and don’t make a placement?

    My spouse needs a “steady” paycheck…..

    Agencies already have clients……

    I need a draw……

    I don’t know anything about running a business……

    There are quite a few reasons to be apprehensive about going out on your own. Fear is a natural part of challenges in life I think. I’m just throwing out something to chew on!

  7. Great post! It is all true but many people just don’t have the entrepreneurial spirit. You have to be comfortable or at least foolishly confident in the face of failure.
    I sense a little hint of self or should I say ‘verbal” promotion.

    1. Hi Cybursleuth. I hope the post underlines what I really wanted to say – and that is: You have to make a placement. It is always a do-or-die situation.

      Once you get past that you should be able to get your mind around working for yourself.

      Hint: You do anyway….

      P.S. Where would any of us be w/o self promotion? I’m trying to be discreet…:)

  8. I believe there are a number of reasons why UK recruiters continue to plod along and not branch off by themselves. As previously mentioned it does take a certain level of belief in you abilities to walk away from the comfort of a recognised brand within the recruitment industry and go it alone! Also recruitment is a labour intensive time consuming profession, so as well has having to develop new business continually you also have to run your own business including paying invoices, book keeping, paying tax and quarterly VAT, which are all time consuming and boring tasks.

    Another reason why recruiters don’t go it alone is finances, I remember in 2007 when I decided to go it alone, it was so difficult to raise any money to tied me over until I made my first placement, so no money means no business!

    And finally, a lot of recruiters I have worked with in the past work on large corporate accounts, so they essentially churn out CVs day in day out and never have to develop new business, so they wouldn’t know where to begin if they were tasked with developing a new desk.

  9. This is a great post Jerry!

    Keep blazing the way for entrepreneurs. It’s really about having a core skill set + experience as a solid foundation. From there-the sky is truly the limit. Look forward to hearing more insight from you.

  10. For anyone following this thread – my dear friend Animal wants to swing this toward me saying that working for an agency is stupid. I am not saying that at all.

    It should be pretty obvious what the point is. If you are considering MOVING FORWARD in your career – take a look at working for yourself. Everything you need is available to you. Potential clients, candidates everywhere, no long distance burdens, training in any topic you can think of. I have also started a forms library for any paperwork you may need.

    And the taxes? Hire an accountant. They’ll take care of everything.

    Just take the plunge! (you are anyway…..)

  11. If you want the skills to be a successful recruiter. If you want your own company to succeed. then work on both sides (internal & external) for a while. You will see how the end to end process works and will tailor your company to suit it.

  12. Jerry,

    I agree. There is no middle ground. Either you make a placement or you don’t. There is no “sorta made a placement” involved. Having the next placement in the pipeline is critical if you are going to be a going concern.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s