What agency owners need to do now to get 2022 off to a good start

The recruitment industry has seen a surge of activity in H2 2021, as clients across all sectors look to recover lost ground and make critical hires in a re-energised market.

Dry investment powder stored throughout 2020 is being deployed by Venture Capital and Private Equity funds, fuelling a rush of rapid growth as ambitious businesses scramble to win talent and position themselves to deliver on strategic plans. 

With so much opportunity, what can recruitment agency owners do to ensure they are primed and ready to capitalise on the potential promised by the year ahead?

SourceBreaker spoke with a range of leading experts, including SourceBreaker’s CRO and Co-Founder, Adam Dale,  across the recruitment sector to get their thoughts on how businesses can prepare for 2022.

Dean Kelly – NED/Advisor

“To capitalise on the pent-up purchasing in a post-covid market, businesses will need a defined strategy going into 2022.

This starts with pipelining, and ensuring there is plenty of business going into the New Year. 

It’s also a great moment to focus on client expansion – people shouldn’t be working in 1’s and 2’s, but in 10’s, 50’s or 100’s to make sure they’ve capturing the full potential. 

Another important aspect is internal talent – agencies should work to make sure that they have the right people in place, on the same page, and that internal culture is strong. 

They should also ensure that they have the infrastructure in place to support that growth, with the right processes and frameworks. 

Outstanding rectech is another high-priority item, as good technology has the ability to radically shape a company’s performance. 

Lastly, agencies should set audacious targets for 2022. 

2021’s targets were average at best, with everyone surpassing them! 

2022 is about returning to a growth mindset – companies should be speaking with their banks, monitoring their cashflow and getting ready to make the most of the opportunity.”

Ben Broughton – Founder, Primis

“Starting a new year in recruitment really is a blank canvass to write your own results and break records.  

It is so crucial that from the bottom up and top down not only does every single person in the business start the year knowing what they want to achieve but they also know how they are going to achieve it.

In any business I have run the starting point is to get every single consultant to create a business plan for the following in year in November/Early Dec along with their key goals both personal and business. 

These business plans then feed into their team’s business plan, office, country.  

Everyone needs to be aware of what each other is looking to achieve and most important of all EVERYONE should be aware of what the company is looking to achieve the following year. 

Whether that be growth, improved quality of business, diversification into different markets, acquisitions – the communication of these goals and the HOW needs to be shared.

People need to see how their goals can be achieved within the business goals.

It is a brilliant feeling for anyone coming back into work on January 2nd knowing exactly what you are going to do that year and how you are going to do it!”

James Osbourne – Co-Founder, The Recruitment Network

“We are in a glorious moment in time, where every recruitment business just about is having record months, record quarters – predominantly due to the market being on fire and clients’ hiring needs going through the roof.  

This is great, of course, so enjoy the ride!

But it is a bit of a false economy that will only last so long in this state, so we need to prepare ourselves now for what will happen when the bubble starts to deflate.

The reality is that whilst we are all flying right now, there is also a huge amount of opportunity loss.

Missed opportunities, lower than expected levels of conversions, unfulfilled briefs… 

The market (and your CFO!) will only tolerate this for so long, so now is the time to focus on anything and everything across how your operational model works that will create greater levels of sustainability and scalability.

  • Think embedded and sticky solutions and long-term contractual tie-ins with clients.
  • Think generating 25% capacity uplifts across consultants through automation and remodelling.
  • Think building sourcing-only functions at scale, to drive greater conversions.
  • Think annuity subscription recruitment partnerships over contingent supplier relationships.

Think about this unique opportunity that we have been given to create more efficiency, more productivity, more profitability with our businesses… and act on it now before you miss the boat.

Nicole Plinston – Co-Founder, Prime

“Preparing to get the best out of 2022 involves a number of key components.


The first is hiring plans, and ensuring that you have the right headcount and people in place to hit your 2022 objectives. 


The second is a solid business plan. Having a clear growth strategy in place and communicating it to everyone in the company is crucial, ahead of the New Year.


Training is another must – now is the time to upskill and ensure that your team are ready to smash the new year.


Business development should also be a focus. Many have let this slip with the amount of work they have on in the current market, but levels will return to normal at some point. The BD we do now and into early 2022 should set us up for the year ahead.


Lastly, business owners should review their technology. What tools can you invest in to make your business better?”

Hishem Azzouz – Founder, Recruitment Mentors

“To ramp up for 2022, I think agency owners need to ensure that they can clearly articulate what ‘progression’ looks like for their current and potential new staff.

Most recruitment companies will continue to hire in an attempt to keep up with their client’s demands.

This will likely mean that it will continue to be highly competitive to hire & keep staff.

Spending time on building out clear career paths & journeys for your teams will help you retain your staff and give you a better chance of hiring new staff.

I meet countless recruitment professionals every single week, and one of the core drivers they share with me is always progression.

If you can’t clearly communicate what a future looks like in your company and how to get there to your teams today and to the new people coming into your business tomorrow, you will be at a significant disadvantage.

Regardless of how big your agency is, spend time on this today, and you should have an even better chance of retaining and attracting talent to your business in 2022.”

Adam Dale – CRO, SourceBreaker

“I think the biggest opportunity in 2022 is for the industry to redress the balance between agencies and clients. 

For far too many years it has always been the recruiter who has had to work on unfavourable terms because the landscape has been so competitive. 

Now, with client hiring needs far outweighing the amount of quality candidates available, this is the time to build real partnership models with clients and ensure that time and effort is valued, as well as the outcome. 

For this rebalance to work, agencies must ensure that quality is maintained as volume increases.  

Quality is all about the right structures, processes, systems, and accountability, and to make 2022 get off to the best start this is where agency owners should spend their coming weeks. 

Additionally, it wouldn’t be me if I also didn’t mention the role of technology!

Technology now sits at the heart of most recruitment businesses and is more and more seen as a driver of change and efficiency – but it also directly impacts quality. 

In 2022, agency owners should be focusing on the quality at all levels – from the interactions their consultants are having with candidates and clients, through to the level of service clients are getting, and ultimately the quality of the jobs they are working. 

I believe tech sits at the heart of this and is the way we make this possible. 

So, let’s get our plans for 2022 sorted early and implement the tech we need now to make the magic happen!”

Interested in reading our eBook ‘How to maximise ROI from recruitment technology’? Download it for free here.