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February 22, 2024

How to become a freelance recruiter

John Kim
Co-founder @ Paraform

A job as an agency recruiter can be a fulfilling career path with tons of earning potential and fast promotions. In addition, the dopamine rush when you make your first placement is up there with the best feelings in the world–A rush of euphoria as you realize that all your hard work has paid off, you hit your target, and you just helped someone land their dream job.

However, not long after starting work at a recruitment agency, many recruiters either leave their agency or the industry altogether. The recruitment industry is renowned for having one of the highest employee turnover rates out of any sector with a whopping 43%.

So, if you’re a recruiter who’s pondering your next move, you might want to consider going freelance. Here we’ll give you all the insights into becoming a freelance recruiter and why it’ll be the best career move you’ll ever make.

Let’s get into it.

Freelance versus Agency Recruiting

While agencies offer stability and support, freelance ventures grant exhilarating freedom and the potential for high rewards.

Working at an agency: Enjoy regular paychecks, comprehensive benefits, and built-in infrastructure, like office space, legacy contacts, a LinkedIn recruiter license, and other recruitment tools. However, expect fixed schedules, no choice in your niche or location, possible micromanagement, and a sense of being a cog in a larger machine.

Freelance recruiting: When going freelance, you choose your own hours, work on diverse projects, select clients that align with your values, and have much higher earning potential. But be prepared for your income to fluctuate at first, having to motivate yourself, and building your network on your own. So if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and value autonomy, you’ve come to the right place.

How do I become a Freelance Recruiter?

Becoming a freelance recruiter is simple, but there are a few things you should consider when starting your freelance business. These are:

1. Get registered

Depending on where you are in the world, you’ll need to register yourself as a sole trader or create an LLC. If you’re in the United States, you must file anything you make over $400 in your tax returns as a sole trader. Checking the Government website and making sure you have all the legalities sorted should be your first priority. It’s worth investing in some accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks while you’re at it with mundane due diligence. For more on setting up an LLC and its benefits, you can visit the US Small Business Association here.

2. Choose your niche

Choosing your niche in recruitment starts with introspection. Delve into industries that you’re familiar with, excite you, and offer high earning potential–or a median of the three. Consider niching within a niche, focusing on a specific sub-segment, for example, instead of SaaS, consider Cybersecurity or MarTech to be more specific. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How well do I know this industry?
  • What are the fees like?
  • Is the market saturated?
  • Will this field be sustainable?

Like the Ikigai concept but for recruiting.

3. Create your tool kit

Arguably the strongest asset to your recruiting efforts are the tools you select that automate your work and keep track of your data. You should have a strong tech stack that you can use to keep track of your workload, manage client relationships, and find and retain talent. Here’s what your tech stack could look like depending on your niche and type of work:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM is a software system that manages the entire recruitment process while building and maintaining relationships with clients. CRMs usually help with:

  • Managing your client and candidate data
  • Emails and sales campaigns
  • Reporting and tracking your workflow

The best CRMs for freelance recruiters include JobAdder, Bullhorn, and Recruit CRM.

Used for: Storing all your data and managing client relationships

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Similar to a CRM, an ATS manages and tracks the hiring process whereas a CRM is more tailored to the client management side of recruiting.

Using an ATS, you can:

  • Parse resumes into your database
  • Schedule interviews
  • Track the overall progress of a candidate

Both systems are similar but differ in the features they offer ‌recruiters.

Some of the best ATS systems are Recruiterflow, iSmartRecruit, and Zoho.

Used for: Managing candidates and the recruitment process

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter offers you a separate platform from LinkedIn to search, source, and message candidates on the world’s biggest professional network. However, the cost of a LinkedIn Recruiter corporate license sets you back at a staggering $10,800 per year, so it’s worth checking out the alternatives if you haven’t got the capital to begin with.

Also, LinkedIn will only give you a certain amount of message credits (InMails) for you to send to candidates outside your network, additional message credits cost $8 a piece, so be sure to use up your 100 free weekly connections and use a lead finder tool to source contact details to engage candidates via email if you’re just starting out.

Used for: Finding and engaging candidates


Apollo is a lead intelligence and sales platform that enables you to find the contact details of (almost) any sales prospect on the web. It comes with a Chrome extension that integrates with LinkedIn to help you find the email address or phone number of most people on the platform by simply clicking ‘view contact details’.

Used for: Business development

We’ve partnered with Apollo to give recruiters a discount. Check out our partnership here (No affiliate‌ links).


hireEZ is a recruitment-specific CRM encompassing many features such as building email drip campaigns and providing candidate data in real-time. The platform also gives you updates on when candidates leave their jobs and competitor analytics.

Used for: Managing your recruitment operation

We’ve partnered with hireEZ to give recruiters a discount. Check out our partnership here (No affiliate‌ links).


After mastering the basics, consider other things such as: A website: You can build a website on WordPress, Squarespace, or GoDaddy.

Legal: Make sure you have a privacy policy when accepting candidates’ personal data as well as terms of business for clients.

4. Build your outbound network

This should come as a no-brainer but it’s important to build up a solid network in recruitment. Apart from marketing yourself on LinkedIn, you can do a ton of other things to grow your network, like:

  • Attending networking events
  • Going on/creating a podcast
  • Going to trade shows

These can help you grow your network and help you become a thought leader in your industry.

Also keep in constant contact with candidates, even if they’re not actively looking for a job. They’ll remember you when they are.

5. Leverage LinkedIn

LinkedIn will be your predominant source of attracting clients and candidates as a freelance recruiter, so invest a great deal in building your reputation. Start by using your 100 connections per week (20 per day) adding hiring managers and candidates in your niche. Then move onto:

  • Like & Comment: Like 15 relevant posts and comment on an additional 15 to boost your engagement.
  • Post 3 times a week: Ensure you’re posting content 3 times a week to boost organic reach within the algorithm. The best times are at 8am.
  • Write articles: Writing LinkedIn articles (once or twice a month) can help boost your presence.

6. Incorporate AI

AI is going to be the future and those who master it will win in not only recruitment but the digital landscape as a whole. Get accustomed to it. Find tools that can help you automate processes like:

  • Creating resumes.
  • Drafting ‌emails for clients and candidates.
  • Sourcing: You can parse resumes along with job descriptions into LLMs like ChatGPT, Gemini, or Pi and it will give you basic info on whether or not they’re a match.

Note: Although AI can perform a ton of tasks, it shouldn’t replace you as a whole. You still need to review and edit.

7. Sign up for Paraform

Paraform is the perfect place to get started on your freelance recruiter journey. The platform is shaking up the recruitment world by enabling freelance recruiting to become the norm.

Startups and scale-ups sign up to Paraform and post live jobs and recruiters join for free and recruit candidates towards those jobs for bounties. The average bounty is $15,000 and some bounty fees go up to $25,000.You even get paid for every interview round that your candidate passes. Simply sign up and choose a job that you want to recruit for, submit the resume of a qualified candidate, and get paid after they get hired. All on your terms.

Becoming a freelance recruiter in 2024 unlocks a treasure trove of freedom and fulfillment. Imagine setting your own schedule, tackling diverse projects, and reaping the full rewards of your hard work. Recruitment agencies offer stability, but the freelance life grants you control – choose clients who excite you, set your own targets, work remotely from anywhere, and build a business that reflects your values. It's no walk in the park, but for the bold and self-driven, the potential for growth, income, and flexibility is unparalleled.

Get started on your freelance recruitment journey today and join Paraform, the best recruitment marketplace where freelance recruiters are connected with innovative hiring companies.

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