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The Independent Recruiter: How To Strike Out On Your Own

Posted by The ConveyIQ Team

Becoming an independent recruiter can be a daunting task. It takes risk, guts and perseverance to succeed, but with the right experience and an organized plan you can stay afloat in the solo sea.

Before making the move to independent recruiting, evaluate where your experience level stands. Some experts recommend having at least 5 – 10 years of staffing agency experience before going solo.

How do you get started as an independent recruiter? Follow these three tips:

Keep your network up-to-date.

If you’re toying with the idea of going the independent route, start cementing valuable networking contacts long before you do. This includes your co-workers and talent pool. Your years in a staffing agency provide invaluable networking experience for many years to come.

As you branch out, get support from independent recruiter networks, like ones on LinkedIn or RecruitingBlogs, or attend professional networking events (don’t forget to perfect your own elevator pitch).

Finding a group to bounce ideas off of and discuss challenges will become an excellent support system. Nurture your contacts through calls, emails and conversations on social media.

Don’t burn bridges with your former employer.

When you first get started as an independent recruiter, you run the risk of being seen as competition for your former employer. Many times when you leave work to start your solo path, you’ll have to sign a non-compete, which prohibits you from competing with your client or employer for a set period of time. Sometimes, you may also need to sign a non-solicitation, which prevents you from encroaching on their top talent. Tell your employer that you will honor these agreements, and stick with it! But pay careful attention to the end dates on the non-compete agreement – after that, anything is fair game.

If you maintain friendly terms with your employer, don’t be surprised if they pass along some of their overflow work in the future. It’s never a great idea to burn bridges as you become an independent recruiter!

Set a plan and stick to it.

Presented with all the freedom you could ever imagine, it’s tempting to get a little lax on the details of independent work and shrug it off, thinking, “I’ll figure it out as you go.” Instead, the better motto is: “I’ll have a plan and adapt as I go along.” Here are some questions to consider as you get started:

  • Where will you work? Do you have the funds to rent office space or would you rather save money and work from home?
  • How are your skills in business and finance? Consider consulting with friends in these fields or take some online courses to build your skill set.
  • Who will you target? By setting goals on what clients and talent base you want to work with, it will be easier to evaluate your success.
  • How will you stay social? Join some business groups and keep up with other recruiters. Working independently can be an emotional adjustment, so be sure to fill your off hours with plenty of socializing.

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