Thursday, September 24, 2009

How To Start A Staffing Agency - Part 1

It is possible to start a staffing agency with no employees, no resume database, no fancy software, no business contacts, and virtually no money. A staffing agency requires a computer and a phone. That's it. What you do need is the capacity to learn, the fortitude to make a serious amount of mistakes, and a little common sense. I'd also highly recommend getting a mentor.

Obviously you need a way to support yourself financially while making no money, but my point is that the business itself has no fixed expenses worth mentioning.

Here's how you do it...

  • Step 1: Ask what kind of people do employers really need.

    This means asking around a little bit. Talk to local businesses, not the little dinky corner stores, but bigger businesses. You'll find pretty quickly that nonprofits always need good fundraisers, any company needs good salespeople, every company needs computer help, hospitals always need doctors, etc. There's demand for a skill in your area that exceeds the supply of people to do the work, and companies will pay you a lot of money to help them hire for these critical and unfilled positions.

  • Step 2: Can you find the people that these employers need?

    There are certain types of positions that are hard to fill because they take time to track people down, and there are other types of positions that cannot be filled for any number of reasons (compensation is too low, expectations are too high, the location is inconvenient, etc.). All you have to do is track people, have candid conversations with them about the opportunity, and see if enough people say yes. If you can't find the people, or none of them are interested, find clients you can actually help.

    Here's a short example. Let's say you learn that a hospital in the middle of nowhere wants to hire a cardiac surgeon. Just because a hospital in a backwater part of the country wants to hire this heart mechanic doesn't mean that hospital can step up to the plate and do what it takes to secure top talent. It shouldn't be that hard to track down a heart doctor. Just call other hospitals, ask your doctor where to find them, etc. Talk to a few surgeons, ask if this opportunity sounds interesting, and then find out why or why not. You'll figure out soon enough if you can fill the position or not.

That's all I feel like writing for now, but starting a staffing agency at its core is playing matchmaker between the hirer and the hiree. You are getting paid to know who is hiring, who is looking, and connecting the dots. That's it.

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