Is it possible to start a recruiting business without prior experience?

I know many people will think I'm nuts, but I'm a self employed mortgage broker that has gone from making great money to virtually nothing. I believe many of the sales/customer service skill that I have would help make successful in the recruiting business.
I know the traditional route is to go work for a large company and then go out on your own after achieving some success. However I have investigated that avenue and cannot at this stage of my life go back to an environment where the company will hire anyone with potential and see how it goes. (All the while the company makes a hefty portion of the fees as long as one of their recruiters places the candidate.)
Any constructive thoughts would be very much appreciated.

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Sure it is possible but, I too do not recommend it. That is a very bold move even in a strong economy. You can gain really valuable experience working alongside other recruiters working for a reputable recruiting firm. Can you do it on your own? Sure, however, I hope you have a business plan in place (ie, what industry or discipline to you intend to work? Local, regional or national? How will you find potential clients and candidates? , etc. etc.) Do you have money set aside to fund your business?

If you are really disciplined, have a voracious appetitite to be successful, not afraid of hard work and rejection, and can weather the ups and downs in the business you might make it on your own. Your sales experience in the mortgage industry should be helpful. Recruiting is a sales business AND a relationship business. You are entering the business during some tough times. How do you plan to differentiate yourself from your competition? Don't do it on price? This dilutes the value of our profession. To many of us recruiting has been a career not just a stepping stone. I have been in the recruiting business for 20 years now and have weathered several recessions. I have staffing industry experience as well as corporate recruiting experience. I also got the entrepreneurial bug, back in the late 90's and went out on my own. While I loved the freedom and opportunity to make a mark on my own, I found that I really missed working in an office environment with others.... working alone (in my home) got old. I found myself in the house all day and night. Distractions like the doorbell ringing, the home phone ringing, noisy kids trying to get my attention, etc. made it too easy to take breaks (wasting time and not making money). No sales... no paycheck!

Some things to consider when going out on your own:

Don't expect to make a placement in your first 6 months....unless you are really, really lucky it won't happen!!

Recruiting is not a get rich quick business. It takes years to become truly successful in this profession.

Be prepared to work harder than you ever did before. It is not a 9 to 5 job!

Learn as much as you can from other recruiters via blogs like this one, as well as others.

Be professional at all times. Treat candidates and clients with respect, and follow through on your promises.

Jerry, I wish you the best of luck! Feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance at


Tom Byrne
I think it can be done if you do your homework. If you have a target market and work your buns off.
It will take alot of effort but the payoff can be big.

Of course this depends on the size company your are planning to start. I would start small All you need is a registered business name and a website. That is if you want to do contingency recruiting. Contract recruiting is more expensive to get started. You need to payroll your people and that can be more difficult to start up.

However, if you are independently wealthy this should not be a problem!

I know what you mean about working for someone after working for yourself. I think you can make it without going working for someone else first. It may take awhile and you will make some mistakes at first but the longer you do it the easier it gets. Good Luck Liz
Craig, you can't be a hero in 90 days in this business.

craig silverman said:
My answer is YES! I have seen and helped many. You can go from a zero to a hero in 90 days in this business. The barrier of entry is low, but many fail. Some due to the fact that they are not salespeople at heart and this is a sales job.

One way to get started is to look at a franchise in staffing and there are several to choose from. My company offers franchise opportunities for healthcare, and there is MRI, Snelling, Express, SPI, and many others...

You can also find a ton of great training out there from the likes of events such as RecruitFest, ERE, Fordyce, NAPS, and ASA as well as from trainers such as Danny Cahill (awesome!), Barb Bruno (Top Producer!), Scott Love, Jeff Skretney, Bill Radin, Margaret Graziano, Doug Beabout, Greg Doersching...

Contact me if I can help you in any way.
Yes- I did in 2004

However, your timing is bad- now is probably a terrible time to start.
Once again, I am agreeing 100% with Craig. I've been in recruiting for a long time, and generally, anyone who is at all successful in recruiting, who gets into it, likes it, stays and does well, will make their first placement easily within three months, even in this economy. It's not at all unusual to do it in the first month or two. If it takes longer than 3 months, this probably isn't the right job for you.

craig silverman said:
Sorry but I have to respectfully disagree with the no placements for 6 months comment. I have hired over 1000 recruiters during the past 13 years and the rule of thumb is that you should close your first deal within your first 3 months. In fact we used to have an unwritten rule that if a recruiter could not close a deal in 3 months then they had one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel. Having an expectation of nothing for 6 months just does not sit well with me. Also the luck factor is there but the hard work will more often be the determining factor not luck. Just my 2 cents.

Tom Byrne said:

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