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Freelance recruiting has become an increasingly popular career choice in recent years. Offering individuals the flexibility to work on their own terms and the potential for high earning potential. But how much do freelance recruiters make?

In this article, we will explore the factors that can impact a freelance recruiter’s income. From experience and industry specialization to client base and geographic location.

Whether you’re considering a career in freelance recruiting or simply curious about the earning potential. This blog will help you discover how much freelance recruiters make and what it takes to succeed in this competitive field.

Defining the role of freelance recruiters

First, it’s important to understand the role they play in the recruitment industry. Freelance recruiters, also known as independent recruiters or headhunters, are professionals who work on a self-employed basis. They find and match qualified candidates with job openings for employers.

Unlike in-house recruiters or agency recruiters who work as employees either internally with clients or for a recruitment agency. Freelance recruiters operate independently but usually have previously worked for an agency. They typically work with multiple clients simultaneously and may specialize in a particular industry or niche, leveraging their expertise.

Freelance recruiters are responsible for the entire recruitment process, from sourcing and screening candidates to negotiating job offers. They rely on their network, online platforms, and their own marketing efforts to connect candidates with job opportunities.

Factors that influence the earnings of freelance recruiters

The earning potential of freelance recruiters can vary based on several factors. Here are some key factors that can influence how much freelance recruiters make:

1Experience and Expertise: Just like any profession, the level of experience and expertise of a freelance recruiter can greatly impact their earning potential. Recruiters who have a proven track record of successfully placing candidates and have a deep understanding of their industry are more likely to command higher fees.

2. Niche and Specialization: Freelance recruiters who specialize in a specific industry or niche often have a competitive advantage. By focusing their efforts on a particular sector, they can develop a deep network and knowledge base, making them more valuable to clients seeking specialized talent. This specialization can lead to higher fees and earnings.

3. Network and Relationships: The strength of a freelance recruiter’s network can also influence their earnings. A well-established network of professionals and industry connections can provide a constant flow of candidates and job opportunities. Recruiters who have strong relationships with clients and candidates are likely to attract more business and command higher fees.

4. Market Demand: The demand for freelance recruiters can fluctuate depending on the economic climate, industry trends, and job market conditions. In a highly competitive market with high demand for specific skills, freelance recruiters may be able to charge higher fees due to the scarcity of qualified candidates.

5. Client Base and Volume of Work: The number and type of clients a freelance recruiter works with can impact their earnings. Recruiters who have a large client base and are consistently working on multiple assignments will have the potential to earn more compared to those with a smaller client base or sporadic projects.

While these are the key factors that can influence freelance recruiter earnings, it’s important to note that individual results may vary. Freelancers in any field often face a level of unpredictability and have to adapt to changing market conditions and client demands.

Industry trends in freelance recruiter’s compensation

As the job market evolves and organizations seek innovative ways to attract top talent, freelance recruiters are staying agile and constantly adapting.

One notable trend is the use of technology to streamline recruitment processes. Many freelance recruiters are utilizing advanced applicant tracking systems and data analytics tools to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. This not only allows them to handle a higher volume of live roles but also enables them to be more successful. As a result, recruiters who leverage technology effectively are often able to command higher fees.

Looking for a free applicant tracking system or a free recruitment CRM? Then check out Giig Hire’s free recruitment software here:

The rise of remote work and virtual recruitment has opened up new opportunities for freelance recruiters. With the ability to work with clients and candidates from anywhere in the world, recruiters are no longer limited by geographical boundaries. This has led to an increase in the demand for specialized recruiters who can source and place talent on a global scale. Freelancers who can offer this expertise often have the potential to earn higher compensation.

How do freelance recruiters earn money?

Freelance recruiters can work in several different ways, the most popular being a monthly retainer or contingency. These are the three main approaches to how you can charge for your services:

1. Contingency Fee: A percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary and is typically paid by the hiring company once they successfully hire a candidate that was referred. Contingency fees usually range from 10% to 30% of the candidate’s annual salary, with 15–20% being a common range.

2. Retainer Fee: For high-level executive positions or specialised roles, recruiters may be hired on a retainer basis. In this case, the recruiter charges a portion of the fee upfront, usually based on a percentage of the anticipated total fee or on an agreed fee. The remaining fee is paid upon the successful placement of the candidate.

3. Project-Based Fee or Hourly/Day Rate: Some recruiters charge an hourly rate or a fixed project-based fee for specific recruitment services, such as CV screening, candidate sourcing, or interview coordination. Hourly rates can vary widely based on the recruiter’s experience and location.

How much can freelance recruiters can earn $$$

United States: According to Glassdoor the estimated total earnings for freelance recruiters in the United States is $90,000 per year with highs of $100k+. states the range for freelance recruiters is from $47,531 to $67,428 per year with the average being around $60,000 per annum. In contrast, the average earnings of an agency recruiter in the United States is $78,000 per annum according to Glassdoor or around $60,000 according to

United Kingdom: According to Glassdoor, the average total earnings for freelance recruiters in the UK is £54,000 per annum with highs of £100k+. Whereas, the average earnings of an agency recruiter in the UK is £50,000 per annum (Glassdoor) or around £30,000 per annum according to both Indeed and Reed).

Giig Hire: At Giig Hire we conducted a small study involving 50 freelance recruiters who currently use the Giig Hire free applicant tracking system, to understand what their total earnings equated to in 2023. Despite an overall down-trending job market in 2023 (Statista), 52% still recorded earnings of over $100,000. It is also important to highlight that 90% of the freelance recruiters in this study recorded lower earnings this year than they did in 2022.

Strategies to maximize freelance recruiter income:

Now that we have discussed the industry trends in freelance recruiter compensation, let’s explore some strategies that can help maximize your income as a freelance recruiter.

1. Specialize and build expertise: Focusing on a specific industry or niche can give you a competitive edge. By becoming an expert in a particular field, you can command higher fees and attract clients who value your specialized knowledge.

2. Network and build relationships: Building a strong professional network is essential for freelance recruiters. These connections can lead to referrals and new business opportunities.

3. Develop a strong online presence: Create a professional website and optimize it for search engines. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn to showcase your experience and connect with potential clients. Post valuable content that showcases your expertise and engages with your audience.

4. Continuously upgrade your skills: The recruitment industry is constantly evolving, and staying updated with the latest trends and technologies is crucial. Invest in professional development courses, attend workshops or conferences, and join relevant industry associations to stay ahead of the curve.

5. Provide exceptional service: Reputation and referrals play a significant role in a freelance recruiter’s success. Strive to build a reputation for delivering outstanding service and going above and beyond for your clients. Happy clients are more likely to recommend you to others and provide repeat business.

Balancing quality of work with financial goals

As a freelance recruiter, it is essential to strike a balance between the quality of work you deliver and your financial goals. While it is important to focus on maximizing your income, it should not come at the expense of compromising the quality of your service.

By delivering exceptional results and exceeding client expectations, you not only build a strong reputation but also create a solid client base. This can lead to repeat business and referrals, ultimately driving your income higher in the long run.

However, it is also important to set realistic financial goals and manage your workload effectively. Taking on too many clients at once can lead to burnout and a decline in the quality of your work. Assess your capacity and prioritize clients and projects based on your expertise and availability.

Find a balance that allows you to earn a competitive income while maintaining the high standards that set you apart as a freelance recruiter. Remember, a satisfied client is more likely to pay a premium for your services and recommend you to others, contributing to your long-term financial success.


Freelance recruiters can earn good money by getting great results and handling their workload well. By exceeding client expectations and building a strong reputation you can attract repeat business and referrals, ultimately driving your income higher in the long run.

However, it is crucial for freelance recruiters to set realistic financial goals and avoid taking on too many clients at once, as this can lead to burnout and a decline in the quality of their work. By assessing their capacity and prioritizing clients and projects based on their expertise and availability, freelance recruiters can maintain high standards that set them apart and contribute to their long-term financial success.

Overall, freelance recruiting offers the opportunity for a lucrative career, but it requires careful planning, exceptional service, and ongoing attention to client satisfaction. By following this advice, freelance recruiters can maximize their earnings while providing a valuable service to their clients.

Further Reading:

Wondering how to become a freelance recruiter or considering working as an independent recruiter? Here are a few blogs that should help you on your way: