Talent Acquisition

How To Become An Independent IT Recruiter

The recruitment industry has undergone extraordinary changes over the last few years, and it has created an environment ripe for an independent recruiter to carve out a path. Digitalization has transformed how recruiters source and recruit candidates. 

Additionally, new online channels have expanded the talent pool, while the emergence of automation and artificial intelligence in the field streamlined recruiter databases and hiring pipelines. 

The pandemic accelerated these trends and created opportunities for professionals to think about their jobs in a new way. 

The resulting resignations over the past year increased workloads and pressure on internal HR departments and their staff to attract talent and retain employees. The consequence is that many recruiters have also elected to leave their jobs to try something new. The promise of autonomy in the burgeoning gig economy encouraged many professionals to leave traditional roles, forego recruitment agencies and become independent recruiters.

As professionals across industries put more value in their overall well-being and seek jobs with more flexibility and remote options, employers have had more difficulty attracting and retaining talent. 

This is especially true of IT professionals whose skills are highly sought after in tech and non-tech industries. Their specialized skills and the ongoing gap in available talent made it especially challenging to fill a large number of open positions. 

Lately, with the wave of layoffs sweeping across the tech industry’s largest and most well-known companies in recent months, more IT professionals are seeking jobs. 

This makes it an opportune moment to specialize in IT recruitment to help them find new jobs with smaller or non-tech companies that have struggled to attract these candidates in the past. Studies by ZipRecruiter and Revelio Labs found that about two-thirds of laid-off workers have found a new job within three months. As the tech industry shake-up continues, recruiters will have a critical role to play in connecting these recently laid-off IT professionals with new jobs.

The industry has noted that demand is spiking for recruiters specializing in finding senior engineering, product and design roles at fast-growing startups backed by venture capitalists. Many of these companies do not have the budget to hire internal recruiters and are instead looking to recruitment agencies and independent recruiters to meet their talent acquisition needs. 

Sourcing the right talent for these specialized roles requires significant time, effort, and a fairly deep knowledge of both the market and the technical skills needed to be successful.

An internal recruiter with these skills can seamlessly transition into a career as an independent recruiter by taking the following steps.

Create A Business Entity

Establishing a new business can be a complex process depending on where you live, and may require some initial investment to get the enterprise off the ground. However, the basic process for starting a legal recruitment business includes the following steps:

  • Outlining the operating model and fee structure 
  • Setting business goals
  • Calculating the costs of setting up and running the business
  • Creating a marketing plan
  • Registering the business 
  • Obtaining applicable licenses
  • Researching local laws and regulations that govern the recruitment industry

Each of these steps is critical for ensuring that the independent recruiter sets up a profitable business that is compliant with local laws. It is prudent to consider consulting with a professional to offer guidance through the process.

In this article, we outline in more detail the steps to take to start a recruitment agency.

PODCAST: ​​EP4: Adapting to Change and Challenges in IT recruitment (with Tatyana Melnichuk, Founder, Lucky Hunter)

YOU MIGHT LIKE: How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Starting A Recruitment Agency

Source Clients

Once the business is created, the next step in the process of becoming an independent IT recruiter is sourcing clients. Networking with former colleagues and clients is an essential first step in building a client roster since these are people you have an existing relationship with and already know the kind of work you are capable of. 

An independent recruiter can also send a mass email to their contacts to update them about the new business venture and offer a referral incentive to get the ball rolling. These peers can make powerful connections to other people in their network on your behalf and expose you to a wider group of potential clients.

Professional organizations in the IT industry, such as CompTIA, the Association of Information Technology Professionals, the Association for Women in Computing, and the Information Systems Security Association, are also great places to meet IT professionals and gain knowledge on member companies. This research will build your knowledge of the local community and provide insight into existing opportunities. 

Another avenue for sourcing clients is through marketing your services. Social networks like LinkedIn are valuable channels for publicizing your IT recruitment services. Recruiter marketplaces such as Giig, Instalent, Hiring Hub, and Recruiter.com can also be useful for an independent recruiter in the beginning stages of their business. 


Becoming an independent recruiter will require more skills than just talent acquisition. Knowledge of business functions, such as accounting and marketing, as well as leadership skills and business management, can really help you succeed. Therefore upskilling is a critical step. 

The recruitment industry is also changing rapidly, so it would be wise to brush up on your knowledge of the industry and acquire new capabilities. 

According to the World Economic Forum, half of all employees worldwide will need significant reskilling or upskilling by 2025. Resources such as LinkedIn Learning, the Academy to Innovate HR (AIHR), Udemy, and professional associations such as the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), the American Staffing Association (ASA), and the National Association of Executive Recruiters are helpful places to seek out upskilling courses. 

In the recruitment industry, online recruitment trends have taken off. Virtual hiring became a significant part of talent acquisition during the pandemic and is here to stay - especially when hiring for remote positions. 

Skills in video conferencing can help to augment your capabilities. Tech proficiency and data analytics capabilities will also be essential with the adoption of tech solutions.    

Although it might seem like there aren’t any extra moments to fit in upskilling, carve out the time to invest in yourself and ensure that you have the right capabilities to be a successful independent recruiter. Gaining knowledge of how to take advantage of these trends can pay off in your business. 

PODCAST: EP7: How to Stand Out as a Recruiter Amidst the Ever Changing Scope of IT Hiring (with James Hine, MD and Co-Founder, True Blue) 

Develop A Superior Database 

Recruiters know that they are only as good as their candidate database. As a result, it is crucial to create and maintain a database that is up-to-date, comprehensive, and user-friendly. Investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) like Manatal can help an independent recruiter track and build relationships with candidates seamlessly. It can serve as a one-stop shop for your recruitment business, allowing you to manage your candidate and client relationships in a single platform.

Manatal’s cloud-based recruitment software makes it simple to source candidates from various channels and create profiles in a centralized database. Candidate profiles can be customized to include more than just their resume, which enhances your knowledge and allows you to include more personalized insights. 

When recruiting for a job, the AI-powered system makes it easy to search for the candidates in your database who are the best match for the role and share candidates with your client.

The recruitment CRM feature enables you to also manage the sales pipeline for your business to track business development activities and make revenue forecasts. It is also easy to collaborate with clients to streamline the interview process and reduce the overall hiring time, which will contribute to a satisfied customer base. 

Its integration with your email provider solution can also make email marketing campaigns to candidates and clients quick and easy to configure, track and measure. 

Take The First Step

Becoming an independent recruiter in the current environment can seem like a challenging step in your career, but it is also a potentially rewarding path - especially as a specialized IT recruiter. Schedule a demo or start a free trial today to see how Manatal can transform your recruitment activities.

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