How You Can Make Five Figures As a Freelance Recruiter on LinkedIn

We all know how important it is to bring in more money and to diversify your income these days. Life has drastically changed and it’s difficult to rely on just a full-time job in this climate.

Did you know that you could build a side hustle on LinkedIn by recruiting employees to work for a company? We’re going to look at how you can make money as a freelance recruiter.

This is a guest post from my buddy Mark who will be sharing how you can make money as a freelance recruiter…

Freelance Recruiting on LinkedIn

I had been working on my side hustle for a little over a year when I received my biggest check to date. My cut of the deal was $4,800 for recruiting a new employee for this company.

[Note from Martin: We love sharing unique side hustle ideas with you guys on here. We’ve looked at starting an Airbnb Experience, tutoring for money, and even building tables. Today we’re going to look at how you can make money from recruiting on LinkedIn and your professional circle.]

To receive that all-in-one payment was a bit overwhelming at the time. To get a check like that in addition to my regular salary made a huge difference.

What could a $4,800 payday do for your finances right now?

Over the span of two years, I made about $25,000 from my side hustle of recruiting new employees from LinkedIn.

In an era where I see people scratching and clawing for a few bucks a month on the side, it’s always interesting to me that this side hustle isn’t mentioned more often.

It could be because of the high barriers to entry and hard work to get involved. This side hustle takes knowing someone in the industry or trying to set up a small business of your own. Recruiting is a tough business but there is much money to be made.

How Do Freelance Recruiters Make Money on LinkedIn and other platforms?

Did you know that recruiters can make between 15% and 35% of a hire’s first-year salary for a placement?

Higher skilled executive positions may require upwards of 35% while positions requiring more common skills could be closer to 15%.

Life as a recruiter can be tough though. The ups and downs of the business are not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot like being a real estate agent where one or two deals could be the difference between a great year and not so great year for smaller businesses.

[Note from Martin: The good news is that a few deals can bring in much more money than any other side hustle venture. You also don’t have to fill out surveys for pennies.]

How do recruiters make money on LinkedIn?

Recruiters are paid by the company to fill a position with an ideal candidate.

A recruiter’s services are almost always free to the candidates applying for the positions. This can sometimes result in an unfavorable candidate experience but the best recruiters find the balance between the client and candidate to keep everyone happy.

How does a freelance recruiter make money? What’s this side hustle all about?

According to Zip Recruiter:

“As a freelance recruiter, your job is to implement recruiting strategies, interview and screen candidates, and generally act as a source of employees for one or more companies. Freelance recruiters typically work on a contractual basis instead of as a direct employee. You can also find work with larger recruitment agencies that can leverage their size to offer more recruitment options.”

How much money is there in being a recruiter? Check out this graphic below from Zip Recruiter.

Make Money Freelance Recruiting

[Note from Martin: Just like any other side hustle, you can choose to do it on your own or work for an established platform. There’s money to be made in recruiting.]

My Experience Recruiting as a Side Hustle.

In my case, I had a friend who was looking for help with his small recruiting business. He was a team of one but had a small group of independent contractors that would help him find candidates. We had arranged a fee schedule where the more work I did to fill a position, the more money I’d make.

How exactly do you get paid to be a freelance recruiter? How can you make money from freelance recruiting?

If I just found the resume and passed it on, I’d get a few hundred dollars. If I found the resume, screened the candidate, and conducted the initial interview before passing onto the client, I would receive about 40% of the hiring fee.

So if you do the math, if we hired someone with a starting salary of $80,000, at 15% the recruiting company would receive a $12,000 fee and my cut would be about $4,800 if I did the bulk of the work.

This was how our fee structure played out but I’m sure every arrangement is different. Our biggest client ironically was Aldi which is the grocery gem of the financial independence movement.

Three Tips if You Want to Become a Freelance Recruiter…

Starting your own recruiting business has a very high barrier to entry. The most difficult part is getting a company to trust you to help them fill positions. Landing a client is largely about your reputation and your relationships. It’s tough to have a good reputation until you’ve worked with a number of clients.

So we’re not going to focus on starting a recruiting business here. Instead, we’ll focus on becoming and standing out as a freelance recruiter.

Step 1: Identify Small Recruiters in Your Area.

Larger recruiting companies are likely to have an army of recruiters already lined up. However, if you can find the smaller mom and pop recruiting companies they may be more willing to partner with you.

The best place to find recruiters is on LinkedIn.

This is where they are spending the bulk of their time anyway so start connecting with recruiters in your area and see if you can take them out for coffee (or virtual coffee in COVID times).

LinkedIn is also the same platform where you’re going to do the majority of your recruiting. So you could contact a recruitment agency and a potential employee within a few minutes of each other.

Step 2: Make Your Sales Pitch.

If you happen to come across a recruiter that is looking for help, now it’s time to make your pitch. Since you know how recruiters make money you can offer to work on a few of their open positions. Be specific about what you plan to deliver and do your research on how to identify the highest quality candidate.

Every fee situation is going to be a bit different but be willing to take less money at first until you can prove yourself and then ask for a higher cut of a placement. This is generally a low-risk situation for the recruiter because if you aren’t able to find quality candidates to fill positions then you may not get paid much if anything.

Step 3: Take Time to Really Understand the Client’s Needs.

Recruiting is all about matching great candidates (hires) with clients (companies).

What separates an average recruiter from a great recruiter comes down to understanding exactly what your client wants. This can be easier said than done because sometimes the client does a poor job articulating what they want in a candidate. Other times they don’t even really know.

So how can you separate yourself?

Ask a lot of questions.

Really try to understand the void they are trying to fill on the team. Learn about the unique skills and competencies they need for their company to succeed. If filling the position was easy they would do it on their own.

Remember why the company is using a freelance recruiter.

They’re likely using a recruiter because they don’t have the time or resources to go out and find what they need. This could be even more difficult as a freelance recruiter if you don’t have direct access to the client. The recruiting firm you support may work with the client and relay the hiring information to you, making it even more important for you to ask good questions given the degree of separation from the hiring manager.

Why Did I Quit My Freelance Recruiting Side Hustle?

To close out my story, I recruited for about two years on the side before calling it quits. The highs and lows of the business are intense. There were a few stretches where I had candidates close to being hired that for whatever reason were not. This could have meant working for months without making any money.

However, when I did land clients it was a huge high. Not only was I helping to change someone’s life by helping them get a great job, I would receive a check for my services, sometimes thousands of dollars.

Ultimately the reason I quit my freelance recruiting side hustle was because I took on a management position at my day job. Recruiting for another company became a conflict of interest because I was sometimes recruiting and interviewing for positions at my day job.

Even though the extra money from freelance recruiting was awesome, I believe the biggest benefit became the skills I learned and was able to use on my day job. I got really good at screening resumes, interviewing candidates, and seeing what subtle traits resulted in great hires. This has greatly benefited me in my career even to this day as I have taken on increasing leadership responsibilities and have hired several employees.

Is Freelance Recruiting for You?

While the barriers to entry for starting a recruiting business may be high, partnering with an existing smaller recruiting company could allow you to build side hustle income away from your 9-5.

Here’s how you can start freelance recruiting…

Reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn and ask if they need any help sourcing positions.

If you’re willing to not get paid unless you help get a candidate hired, the recruiting firm really has nothing to lose.

Hint: Recruiters are often overwhelmed and need help with all aspects of the business. If you can make a good impression and help find good candidates to fill the recruiters’ needs you may find yourself getting increased opportunities.

Keep your LinkedIn profile updated.

You’re going to be using this platform to build connections and to recruit candidates. So it’s important that your profile is updated and that you remain fairly active.

That’s how I made five figures as a freelance recruiter on LinkedIn. If you have questions feel free to reach out for more information at At Financial Pilgrimage we help young families become financially free by increasing income, reducing debt, and saving for the future. Check out our roadmap to building generational wealth to learn more.

Working as a freelance recruiter could be one of the best side hustles. You could use LinkedIn to bring in extra money. Have you ever thought of becoming a freelance recruiter?

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