The Mystery of Temporary Recruitment Revealed

Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 by Alison Humphreys - Award winning NED and strategic advisor

One question I encounter, more often than any other is, “how do I start a successful temporary recruitment business?”

This question appears to defeat even the most experienced recruiters, but they do get the message and understand the value of temporary recruitment. A temporary or contract business adds real value to your firm, provides some visibility of future income, is a useful counter-cyclical to your perm business and acts as a way to keep other recruiters away from your clients. 

But to understand how to start a successful temporary recruitment business, you first need to understand why so many fail.

  1. They don’t understand the need for readily available contractors. No client will give you a chance if you can’t demonstrate that you already know people who are qualified, available and experienced in contracting. You cannot take a contract job order and start from ground zero. 
  2. They haven’t looked at what makes a great contractor. I’ll give you a clue – it is about factors that are probably not on their CV.
  3. They don’t have the stomach to understand compliance, financial and regulatory demands. It just seems too complicated to even start. 
  4. They try to slide into it by asking recruiters to work split desks. Wrong!
  5. They don’t adjust their reward schemes correctly. The instant gratification of a hefty permanent fee will always be a quicker buzz than slowly growing your contract GP division, for example. 
  6. They don’t apply processes… with discipline. 
  7. They don’t really understand what the role involves, so they can’t flex the client’s specification.
  8. They allow clients to insist on permanent recruitment processes. Just no.


If you want to grasp how exactly to start a successful temporary recruitment business, reach out to Alison Humphries is a highly experienced MD and NED, with 35 years at the top of the recruitment sector. She advises directors and owners of recruitment businesses on strategy, finance, sales and management to maximise performance, enter new markets, prepare for sale and work more efficiently. 

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