Should you specialise your recruitment?

With new recruitment agencies popping up around the world we explore if the key to success is specialising in your recruitment offerings. Helping to answer the question, should you specialise your recruitment?

Within each industry there are subcategories for example within the Automotive industry there is Electrical, Petrol, commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles. Some recruitment agencies may cover the industry as a whole and have a wide range of clients and job openings. However, there are a select few that will narrow their openings into subcategories or even specific jobs.

A construction recruitment agency, for example, may offer their services to every corner of the industry from bricklaying to steel erectors. Then once the agency is large enough they may break down their agency into smaller groups which are more specialised and manageable. Thorn Baker, for example, has “three specialist brands; Thorn Baker ConstructionThorn Baker Industrial Recruitment and Thorn Baker Estates, Facilities and Maintenance.” which allows them to train their consultants to be experts in their operating area.

Some construction agencies will go further to offer niche services such as Steel Connexion who specialise in only steel-related jobs. They have marketed themselves as a professional recruitment agency, dedicated to the steelwork industry. This gives them a competitive advantage over more broad agencies.

When starting up a recruitment agency it is important to decide on what sector or types of jobs you will be focusing on. Many founders will open their doors to an industry they have previous experience in. This wealth of knowledge will also give the agency a competitive advantage making the agency more appealing to work with from a clients perspective.

There are advantages and disadvantages to specialising which are important to take into consideration:
  • Able to train recruiters to become experts in a chosen subcategory or job 
  • Candidates will be excited to work for a specialist company in their chosen job
  • Able to offer better rates
  • “Devoting the resources of an in-house team to a niche or hard to fill vacancy can be enormously time-consuming and costly to the business. In these circumstances, working with a specialist recruitment partner can save you time and resources from the beginning of the recruitment process.” Source: Phaidon International
  • Risk of skill shortage in chosen subcategory or job
  • Clients may be put off having to go to multiple agencies for large projects 
  • Pigeonholing your opportunities may run the risk of capped profits

In an interview with Technical Resources managing director Alan Derry, he gave his secrets to operating a niche recruitment agency. He would recommend every new recruitment agency to specialise in their chosen industry. He stressed the advantage of being knowledgeable within that industry.


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