How to become a successful and highly paid freelance recruiter

Recruiter is a profession with a low entry threshold. At the start, employers do not have strict requirements for candidates. What matters the most is soft skills: proactivity, open-mindness, ability to find an approach to people with different types of thinking and temperament. And also the readiness for routine work.

Graduates or undergraduates usually come to the starting positions. It is important to have an education – without it, it will be difficult to develop in the profession. Specialty does not play a big role. Technical education will be a plus, but employers do not consider it a guarantee of successful work. Graduates of top universities are always of interest.

Transition to IT-recruitment from other professions is also possible. A big plus – if there is already a small experience of a recruiter in any other industry. IT or engineering background, sales experience are welcome.

So if you’re interested in how to be a recruiter, keep on reading – we’ll share some great tips and hacks.

4 steps to the freelance recruitment profession

4 steps to the freelance recruitment profession

#1: Training 

Back in high school, I knew clearly that I was attracted to human psychology and those areas of activity that involve helping people. For six months I was preparing to enter the psychological faculty. I have successfully passed the exams. But at the moment of submission of documents to the university, intuitively I decided to enter the faculty of personnel management in absolutely another university. 

The university gave me an excellent theoretical base on all functions of HR, except recruitment. It was a bit ironic, wasn’t it? To get more time, I decided to graduate in absentia. At the same time, I started looking for a job in my specialty.

#2: Practice 

I was lucky – my first experience as a recruiter happened in a trading and production company. This is the school that will prepare you for all the surprises of recruitment. Namely: mass recruitment of low-skilled personnel. Selection of people for salaries below the market average. Staffing the supermarket from scratch. Business travels to other cities. Missing employees on the first working day. Corporate phone, which does not shut up on weekends or holidays.

This kind of experience builds stress tolerance and teaches you not to be disappointed in people.

If you have worked in retail, managed to withstand the staff turnover and have not lost faith in people – recruitment is surely for you. The significant disadvantage of such work is that you practically do not use the assessment of competencies of candidates. And for me, this is an important factor in quality recruitment.

The next company where I continued to develop was a full-service advertising agency. I came to work as an HR manager. Over time, the range of my duties expanded to HR-generalist. But at the same time, I spent most of my working time recruiting. Thanks to this company, I learned the peculiarities of the national hunt for the designer, PR-manager, Event-Manager, faced with the selection of top positions.

# 3: Development 

At some point, I felt a severe lack of professionalism in evaluating candidates for management positions. I monitored the market for quite a long time for specialized courses with an optimal combination of theoretical knowledge and practice. At that time, the choice was small, given my budget constraints. As a result, I was recommended to take long courses, where I fully covered all HR functions with a bias towards recruitment. 

By combining quality training and work in the company, I managed to achieve confidence in my profession.

In recruitment, as in any other area, changes are very dynamic. It is important to regularly read articles on specialized resources, attend topical events, follow the opinion leaders of the sphere, and share the experience with colleagues.

Now the choice of training courses is quite wide. It is important to find those that are taught by practitioners and give a lot of practical cases and homework.

# 4: Selecting a niche

While working with HR, I sincerely did not understand how one can recruit outside the company. How to select target specialists without getting into the corporate culture, without knowing the microclimate. Just like most of my colleagues, I perceived recruitment as the first stage of development in the HR profession. Over time, I realized that I was wrong on both points.

Now, working in a consulting company, I can say with full confidence that high-quality external selection is more than possible.

That’s what it takes:

  • to have a detailed brief for the owner and fill it out together with the customer in his office;
  • to get acquainted with the key specialists of the client company and thus form not only a portrait of the candidate but also the portrait of the employer;
  • during the interview, use the most accurate tools to identify the motivation and competencies of applicants, and carefully check the recommendations.

Thanks to this approach, 70% of vacancies can be closed from the first selection.

Now I know that it is possible to develop qualitatively inside the profession and not to perceive it as a step.

Why external recruiting?

  1. Every time I brief the owner, I immerse myself in his sphere of business. I get acquainted with his unique business process, form an understanding of the market. This knowledge greatly expands the picture of the world. It plays a very important role in my work. 
  2. When I communicate with job seekers, I immerse myself in their professional experience. I admire successful and complex cases, I learn more and more nuances of different specialties. These two ingredients inspire me to work every day.
  3. I am also inspired by the fact that business success depends on competent selection.

If you have a sincere desire to contribute to the growth of business and the development of specialists, recruitment – this is exactly the area in which you can fully realize your desire.

9 steps of effective freelance recruitment

There are many recruiters in the world, but not all of them work efficiently and correctly. That is why the terms of closing the vacancy are more than 60 days, candidates do not reach the interview, 50% do not accept job offers and 50% quit within the first year. Will you check if your recruitment is in line with these steps?

9 steps of effective freelance recruitment
  1. Qualitative application for selection

Preparation is important everywhere. In sport, negotiation, battle. Recruitment is no exception. You can’t start a search until you have a qualitatively completed selection application, a description of the candidate’s profile, a list of Hard and Soft skills, a developed candidate evaluation card (Scorecard), an understanding of all stages of selection, all participants, the criteria for selecting the finalist and of course the salary for the vacancy.

  1. Realistic salary

For each vacancy, there is a market where candidates with very clear salaries are working or looking for work. You can easily hire candidates for salaries above the market, but if they are below the market by more than 20%, the chances are dramatically reduced. Do market research before you start looking for a job and see if the salary of your job is realistic.

  1. Search Strategy

Before you start searching, you must immediately determine where you will be looking for candidates. By which keywords. From which companies, in which positions. This requires preparation – making a list of companies-donors, searching for synonyms of job titles, making a list of unique keywords, so that the search was only the right candidates.

  1. Appealing description

Look for car or apartment ads on the message boards? What do you find attractive in one ad and not in another? Now try not to look at the pictures. Is it hard? The candidate is in the same situation – he sees a hundred ads without a photo, where more than half look like Siamese twins. To stand out from the crowd is the only way to get attention.

  1. The candidate’s working pitch

This is for not lazy recruiters who do not wait for feedback but find candidates themselves. They have to write cold letters or messages to candidates, and the quality of their text depends on the response or ignore/ban. Write an unobtrusive text that is presented to the candidates.

  1. Different search channels

The time has passed when it was possible to publish a vacancy on the site and wait for hundreds of responses. In today’s world, you have to compete with hundreds of recruiters like you, and searching through the most unusual channels allows you to get ahead of the competition. The rapid growth of online services gives many new search sources like Telegram chat or Facebook groups, but you need to know the nuances of the search there.

  1. Search queries and X-ray

Typically, sites have limited search capabilities for candidates, and here comes the knowledge of search queries like AND, OR, intitle, and X-ray search, which allows you to “educate” sites and get the names of candidates on a variety of resources such as Quora or Meetup. It is these two points that distinguish zero recruiters from advanced ones.

  1. Interviews on competencies

Finding a candidate is not enough. There is a difficult stage ahead in selecting the right person for the hiring manager to handle the job. You can drive candidates in crowds hoping for luck, or you can make a list of competencies, select selection tools, and select 3-5 finalists yourself, which will be presented to the customer.

  1. Vacancy pitch

Let’s say we found it, we evaluated it, we chose it. But the candidates also choose us, which means that we have to make sure that the candidate chose us. And this is about the skill of selling the position at all stages of search and selection. Bringing the candidate to the job-offer, accompaniment during the dismissal, and even basic adaptation of candidates.

Recruiter salary

The average Recruiter I salary in the United States is $56,620 as of April 27, 2020, but the range typically falls between $49,803 and $62,949.

Technical recruiter salary

A mid-career Technical Recruiter with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $69,201. Not too shabby, right? And don’t forget that a senior technical recruiter salary goes far beyond these figures. 

How to become a freelance recruiter

A recruiter’s career can be started at a recruitment agency or in-house, before transitioning to freelance. 

An agency is a quick start and a high pace of work. Onboarding and training are designed so that a new employee joins the job as quickly as possible, pumps skills, and starts closing vacancies on his own.

The agency’s income is always composed of salary and bonuses. The fixed part at the start is usually about 30 thousand rubles. When performing internal KPI, the total income will be from 50 to 100 thousand rubles – depending on how successful the month was for the recruiter. With the increase in grading, both the salary and the bonus part will increase. 

The advantages of working for the agency:

  • The level of total income is higher than that of the Inhouse.
  • Fast immersion in the subject area.
  • You could work part-time and get work from home recruiter jobs
  • Formation of a broad outlook, knowledge of the market of candidates and employers from different industries.

With its obvious advantages, working in an agency is not suitable for everyone. The more “soft” option to start a career is to go to the inhouse. An internal recruiter may specialize in a certain block of vacancies. 

He knows his internal clients well, the specifics of the business and the development team. Over time, the internal recruiter will have new HR tasks (adaptation, HR branding, research projects).

The pros of working in the inhouse:

  • Stable income: the bonus part usually does not exceed 20% of total income, the rest is the salary.
  • Closing vacancies is easier than in an agency, as there is direct access to internal customers.
  • Varied development prospects within the company.

This is not a bad option to get entry-level recruiter jobs and then switch to freelance once you’ve had some experience.


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