Starting a headhunting company can be easy. If you're great at talking to people over the phone and negotiating, a career as a recruiter might be a good fit for you. If you're also highly self-sufficient, self-directed, and entrepreneurial in nature, starting your own headhunting company could be a dream come true for you. Follow these steps to set up your own headhunting company.

Setting Up the Basics

Decide on a niche. While you can be a general headhunter, most recruiting agencies have a specialty area that they focus in, such as healthcare staffing, sales representatives, or executive-level positions. Specializing in a niche will give you more credibility as an expert in this area, and can make it easier for you to land contracts with big clients.

Choose a name for your business. If you're going to be a sole proprietor, you may choose to operate under your given name. You could also choose to use your last name followed by a descriptor, such as "Smith Recruiting."

Consult an attorney and an accountant to set up a legal structure for your business. There are several options to choose from, but an attorney can give you expert advice about which type of business structure would work best for you. As an alternative, you could choose to work with a portable employer of record organization, which includes additional benefits, such as business insurance. Investigate all your options before making your decision.

Create your marketing materials. Now that you've chosen a name for your business and have a formal business entity, you can begin to create your marketing collateral. You'll want to have professional business cards printed, a basic website, and letterhead, at the minimum. Depending on how you choose to market yourself to your potential clients, you may also want to create a brochure or other informational piece that you can mail to potential clients.

Develop policies and procedures. How are you going to run your business? Decide if you have a standard recruitment strategy that you would want potential employees to follow. Determine if you will need employees, and whether you will hire them as employees or independent contractors. Develop rules and regulations that you plan to adhere to in running your business. You should also develop a contractual agreement that you will use to outline your fees and business relationship with your clients.

Getting Things Running

Now that you've gotten your framework set up for your business, it's time to start actually conducting business. Tap into your network of current contacts to prospect for potential clients. Let your business contacts know that you are now in the recruiting business, and that you would enjoy the opportunity to help them fill their empty positions.

Cold call other businesses within your niche. Inquire about their staffing needs, and try to uncover a problem in the course of conversation. Once you've identified a problem, tell them how you can solve it with your services. Attend local networking events and pass out your business cards to everyone you meet, even if they are not in your niche industry. They may have friends who are, or they may choose to use your services anyway.

Try to get several contracts lined up with clients. While your contracts don't have to be exclusive, they should outline your placement fees and a length of time that you are permitted to try to fill open positions that the company refers to you. Having many contracts allows you the most opportunity to easily match candidates to open positions that are a good fit.

Set yourself up with accounts with internet job boards that will enable you to search resume databases. This will ensure that you will always have a pool of potential candidates you could contact. Develop other systems for researching and contacting potential candidates. For example, if you specialize in placing pharmacists, you could develop a system for calling pharmacies in areas where you have an open position. This would help you identify potential candidates who are not actively seeking new employment, but are willing to move on for the right opportunity. These are leads that you would not find by searching a resume database, because these candidates would not have had a resume posted online.

Develop a pool of potential candidates through people you know, by conducting research, and by making cold calls. Having an existing pool of candidates will make it easier for you to fill positions quickly, rather than have to track down a brand new candidate for every open position you're trying to fill.

Things You Will Need
  • A computer with high-speed internet access

  • A business phone line with unlimited long distance

  • Office space

  • Start-up funds


Be prepared for non-paying clients. It happens in every industry, and as a business owner, you will have to learn to prepare for this situation. You'll need to decide if the amount they owe is worth pursuing, or if it would be more efficient for you to simply write off the loss and move on.


It's wise to consult an attorney about the start-up process as well as to review your contracts. Sometimes, your clients will have a contract of their own that they would rather use than yours, and it's smart to have your attorney look it over first. Try to develop an organized system early on for keeping track of your candidate pool and the positions that you're currently trying to fill. It will make your life much easier when your business is booming and you're working on multiple contracts at any given time across the country.