How to Win Your First 10 Clients as an Independent Recruiter

If you’re interested in a career as an independent recruiter, we’ve got some great news for you!  Soon it will be a freelancer’s world!  Almost 80% of companies today are expected to rely on some form of freelancing in 2023.  

Add in the fact that our current job market is teeming with desperate employers in need of talent, and the two facts suggest that now is the time for recruitment professionals to strike out on their own.

Huge Demand for Recruiters

The recruitment industry is undergoing a huge transformation.  Job seekers now wield tremendous power, and traditional recruitment methods are becoming less effective.  Those dynamics have our job market roiling with an intense level of demand for recruiters who know how to find good workers.  In fact, there was reportedly more demand for recruiters on LinkedIn last year than there was for software engineers.  

With a mind-boggling 96% of workers expected to test the waters of our job market this year, independent recruiters are expected to have a very busy year.

What Companies Expect of Independent Recruiters

As an independent recruiter, you need to convey the message that you’re capable of finding top-tier talent that can have an immediate impact.  Understand that clients will rely on you to provide them with valuable market insights and guidance.  Be prepared to demonstrate your understanding of their industry and demonstrate that you have an expansive network that can reach their desired talent.  Above all else, you need to convince people that you have the skills to motivate someone to change jobs.  

However, for a newcomer to the freelancing world, finding those first 10 clients can seem like a daunting challenge.  Fortunately, we’re going to provide you with the top methods and technologies to adopt to put yourself in the strongest position to land those first clients.

Make Connections on Social Media

Right now, 8 out of 10 companies use social media as a recruitment strategy.  That means Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are loaded with remarkable networking opportunities to grow your prospective client list.  You can also use these social media platforms to gather valuable intel on different industries.

And get involved!  Use these platforms to post regularly and get involved in discussions to show a level of interaction with different companies.  Using this strategy, prospective clients will see these interactions and are likely to conclude that you’re a legitimate freelance recruiter.  

Another useful note about your social media strategy: with the right recruitment technology, you can promote the fact that you proactively screen the social media profiles of the candidates you recruit - a huge selling point considering that a large majority of U.S. hiring decision-makers believe that looking at social media profiles is an effective way to screen candidates.  

Be VERY active on LinkedIn

While LinkedIn falls under the category of social media, prospecting on LinkedIn will require a considerable investment of your time and attention.  But it can pay off handsomely in landing those first 10 clients.  Use LinkedIn to share helpful resources and informative posts to promote your skills and expertise as an independent recruiter.  It’s especially important to get actively involved in group discussions.  This is an opportunity to promote your skills to an extensive group of professionals.  

Scan Job Portals

This one might sound obvious, but it’s not to be neglected.  Job portals tell you what companies are hiring and what positions they’re recruiting for: two crucial bits of information for your prospecting efforts.  Job portals are nothing less than treasure chests for independent recruiters who are just getting started and eager to expand their professional network.  

Underutilize sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter at your peril.  

Research Cold Email Strategies

Think cold emails are a waste of time?  You’d be wrong.  It’s almost 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined in gaining new clients.  But writing cold emails that generate a response is an art form. The SUBJECT line must be worded properly, and the content in the message needs to be presented in a dynamic and engaging manner.  You can find many resources online with examples of cold emails that can elicit a response from prospective clients.

And remember to follow up!  Many recruiters abandon their efforts after sending just one email to a company without ever having followed up!

Ask for Referrals

If you say it, it’s bragging.  If a client says it, it’s proof!  

Few promotional strategies are as effective in helping independent recruiters find new clients than referrals.  Like testimonials, a referral is when a client enjoys such a great experience working with you that they tell other people about your services or, even better, they introduce you to a new prospect.  

And don’t be reluctant to make this request.  Even after you land your very first client, it’s okay to ask them for a referral once you’re done.  You might be surprised at how eager a satisfied customer can be to help you succeed as an independent recruiter!

The Role of Technology in Finding Clients

The most important thing to consider before reaching out to a single prospective client is whether you’ve properly set the stage by adopting the right HR technology.

As a freelancer, any technology that’s capable of automation and eliminates the need for back-and-forth communication is a must-have for your success.  In fact, it’s the independent recruiters who are willing to embrace rather than shy away from new innovations in HR technology that are winning the talent wars and new clients.  

The remarkable developments over the past few years include new applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and recruitment CRM tools that have changed the playing field entirely.  By adopting the technologies below, freelance recruiters are putting themselves in a position to compete on any level.

READ MORE: Benefits of ATS in Engaging and Managing Clients

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

In so many words, an applicant tracking system (ATS) is widely recognized as an organization’s main strategic HR software asset, and 75% of recruiters rely on their ATS to make their lives easier.  

Undoubtedly, an ATS is a powerful database for storing applicant data, and now, they offer an array of features that dramatically accelerate the talent acquisition process via intuitive AI recommendation engines, and they can help you cast a worldwide net for new job candidates – all selling points to be used in promoting your business. From social media enrichment tools to powerful analytics that can help you refine your efforts to land new clients, ATS systems are becoming increasingly critical to success.

What makes modern ATS systems so appealing to independent recruiters exclusively is their cost-effectiveness, overall productivity gains decreasing the cost-per-hire and fast-tracking the hiring process; they’re primarily offered as a cloud-based solution on a subscription basis.  You only need an internet connection to gain access to the same powerful recruitment platforms that your largest competitors are using.

In terms of tools to help you build and strengthen new client relationships, the best ATS platforms on the market today offer powerful recruitment CRM capabilities, which can ultimately be the determining factor in landing a new client or losing an opportunity.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: How ATS Optimizes Your Recruitment Management

LEARN MORE: How Applicant Tracking Systems Improve Productivity

Recruitment CRM: Building Relationships

The success (or failure) of an independent recruiter is oftentimes determined based on how well they manage their relationships.  We’ve discussed how to initiate new relationships using the methods above but having a platform in place to optimize the quality of those relationships increases the likelihood of landing new clients.

One of the tools that come embedded within certain ATS systems is recruitment CRM (customer relationship management).  By utilizing an ATS system’s recruitment CRM tools, independent recruiters can offer their clients a more engaging experience by providing them with visibility into their ATS system so they can proactively check up on the progress of their hires.  

Recruitment CRM can also be integrated into your email marketing strategy so you can share industry-related information and other materials with prospective clients.  Ultimately, recruitment CRM tools can go miles in helping you build trust with new clients.  When you use recruitment CRM to provide your clients with a great experience, it increases your referral opportunities and can lead to repeat business.  

POPULAR: How to Earn New Clients through Recruitment CRM Integration

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Recruitment CRM

Artificial Intelligence: The Key to Finding the Talent Your Clients Want

The role of AI, or artificial intelligence, in optimizing efficiency within the recruitment industry continues to evolve at a torrid pace.  In fact, the effectiveness and reliability of AI recommendation engines that come embedded within modern ATS platforms continue to marvel and impress even the most hardened skeptics, but the truth of the matter is that AI has yet to take automation to its highest levels.

That level of automation in the recruitment process gives enormous amounts of time back to recruitment professionals to dedicate to more important activities.  In the case of independent recruiters, AI recommendation capabilities mean more time to prospect for new clients, and for using recruitment CRM to strengthen existing relationships.  

On a technical level, independent recruiters can rely on AI recommendation tools to perform redundant and time-consuming tasks like candidate screening and the administration of skills testing.  Ultimately, with AI recommendation capabilities, your quality of hire metrics can improve dramatically.

In the last analysis, the AI recommendation capabilities of an ATS system can be the best competitive advantage for independent recruiters - a selling point to market yourself as a cutting-edge recruiter with the technical know-how to navigate the volatility of our modern job market.  


With half the global workforce expected to dip their toes into the freelance world by 2028, there’s never been a better time for independent recruiters to succeed.  All the prospecting strategies discussed become even more effective with an ATS and recruitment CRM in place to support your efforts.  In addition to the benefits mentioned earlier, ATS systems provide you with swaths of additional tools to maximize collaboration and apply data-driven recruitment methods.

For HR professionals who are ready to make the transition to the “gig economy” as freelance recruiters, there is only one AI-powered ATS platform with a verifiable reputation for putting independent recruiters in the best position to hit the ground running.  For years, Manatal has been a leader in the HR software industry and the innovative force behind the most remarkable and powerful ATS platform on the market today.

With outstanding recruitment CRM tools and a powerful platform that assures a fantastic client experience, Mantal’s cloud-based ATS platform is the only choice for independent recruiters who want to lay the foundation for a successful freelance career.  

Right now, freelancer recruiters can take advantage of a free trial, or they can schedule a demo with a Manatal professional.  With Manatal’s ATS platform, independent recruiters can harness the power of a terrific cloud-based hiring platform that can be the key to driving a new business to tremendous heights!

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