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How to Become a Freelance Recruiter

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Freelance recruiters match job candidates with open positions in corporations and small businesses. Clients pay freelance recruiters a percentage of the candidate’s full-time salary to find the best employees fast. With no college degree required, you can easily begin your career as a freelance recruiter with a telephone, computer and Internet access. Learn how to interview candidates, connect with potential clients and start your new career as a successful freelance recruiter

Get recruiting knowledge. On-the-job training as a recruiter is a must. There are very few books written on how to become a recruiter, as most titles are geared towards becoming a top salesperson. Knowledge of the sales process is imperative, but knowledge of human resources principles is crucial to your success as a freelance recruiter.

Determine the type of candidates you’ll place. The top freelance recruiters are specialists, not generalists. Most high-paying freelance recruiters are in the technology, executive search, marketing, advertising or accounting fields. Start recruiting candidates and collecting resumes in your field of interest, before you start calling clients to help staff their positions.

Set your freelance recruiting fees. Recruiters are either paid either via contingency or retainer. If you are finding clients on a case-by-case basis, you can charge a fee between 20 to 33 percent of the first year’s salary of the candidate you place in any permanent position. Retained search freelance recruiters require a flat fee for a few months or a year-long search for candidates. Retained freelance recruiters get paid upfront, in comparison to contingency headhunters who are paid only if a candidate accepts a full-time position (see Resources below).

Build your network of client contacts. You must develop a reputation in one particular industry to find the best candidates and the highest-paying clients. Cold-calling clients to is one important method of finding open positions where your freelance recruiting services may be needed. Join one or two associations in your field of interest to find the best candidates for placement and prospective clients.


Work for a minimum of 3 to 5 years before you start your freelance recruiting business.


Be prepared to hear the word "no" frequently as a freelance recruiter. While a freelance recruiter doesn’t need a college degree to start their business, knowledge of basic human resources practices is necessary.