Do you discuss your fee with your candidate?

Yesterday I listened to a recruiter as they were making recruiting calls to NP's.  One of the nurses expressed interest and the recruiter conducted a screening interview.  The recruiter at the end of the interview "closed" the candidate on how serious they were about making a move, using the following script....


"Jane, sounds like you are a good fit for my client, I can present you there.  I would also like to market you to the 100+ other possible employers in your area  who may have interest.  But if I am going to do that I want to make sure that I am going to be able to earn my fee and get paid.    The company you go to work for pays me 25-30% of your first year salary, that is how headhunters make money.  You get a good job and I get paid.  So if we work together I want to know that you are committed to make a job change. Is this fair? "


I am wondering how many of you discuss with your candidates how much you are going to paid if or when they find a job through you. 

Views: 362

Comment by Bill Schultz on September 30, 2011 at 2:28pm
I've never discussed a fee with  a candidate.  I think that opens up a whole lot of worm cans.
Comment by Amber on September 30, 2011 at 2:31pm

I guess most candidates would know I get paid, but I don't see why anyone would discuss the specifics.

So, my aswer is I do not discuss my fee with a candidate.

Comment by Bill Schultz on September 30, 2011 at 3:11pm
Besides the fact, it's not a good technique.  The recruiter should be probing for commitment to the job search, not guilting the candidate.
Comment by Charlotte Byndas on September 30, 2011 at 3:29pm

Thanks for the comments.  I was wondering if others were now using this kind of closing strategy. 


It is with out a doubt a very direct lay it all out on the table approach.   Not one I think I would be comfortable using.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 30, 2011 at 3:31pm

If a candidate starts talking about me making a fee if i place them or infers that if i can get them more money i will get a bigger fee i will address that in this manner.


"John, let's clear this up immediately.  I have an exclusive listing on this position.  What that means is that it is my job to present my client with two or three good well qualified candidates.  You are definately in that catagory and i will do my very best to represent you to the best of my ability to see that if you are the top candidate that my client selects you will be happy with the offer they make and they will be happy with the opportunity to bring you on board."  "That being said, my exlusive listing or in the case of a retained search.  I get paid  whether you take the job or not."  "What that means to you is that you will get no pressure from me to take any job if you are not 100% or at least 99% convinced that it is the right one for you just so i can make a fee."  "I am going to get paid for the work i do for my client which will include me acting as your advocate as well as the agent for my client."  "I can and will tell you when it's time to take it or leave it and i can and will tell them when it's time to get you an offer and where it needs to be or they will lose you."


But to be clear.  If the job is not right for you or they do not make you an offer that will work for you or for any reason you decide to say no at any time, they will move on to the next candidate and i will get paid so it's the best of all worlds for all parties.  Good representation and negotiation with no arm twisting on my part toward either party.  Understand the decision is theirs then it's up to me to help make it work for you and them."


Most of the time after delivering this speech my candidate takes a breath and says something like, "That's great, so many recruiters put the hard charge and press on people to take an offer that you feel like you have to say yes or make them mad."


Do i ever discuss the amount or percentage of my fee with the candidate.  Absolutely never.  They don't pay it and since they don't they are not privey to that information.  If they ask i will tell them that if they are willing to pay part or all of it i will be happy to discuss it with them and make my client aware that they are willing to.  That normally stops that question right there.


What makes me crazy is when an employer pops off to a candidate during money discussions and says something like, " Understand that we are paying a 25K recruiting fee to hire you so i don't think i can hit your asking salary with  that much involved in a recruiting fee. " I try to make sure that my clients understand if the fee is part of the hiring package they are budgeted to spend, any discussion of fees is to be with me and not with the candidate.  If i need to put a little skin in the game to make a deal come together i can make something work.  That normally doesn't happen but if we are down to a couple of thousand dollars and it's a make it or break it I would rather have 22% of something as opposed to 25% of nothing.  A discount for immediate payment normally takes care of not messing with percentages.

Comment by Bill Schultz on September 30, 2011 at 4:11pm
I used to recuit baners in SF and most of the banks were in the financial district as were we.  This VP of Such and such that I was working with came up to my office and sat down at my desk and proceeded to tell me that I wasn't doing a good enough job marketing him and I should re double my efforts on his behalf.  I said "Frankie, I don't see a check from you in my inbox, did you bring it with you?"  He said " I don't pay you, the companies do"  I said "Exactly"
Comment by Tom Dimmick on September 30, 2011 at 4:21pm

All well said.  I think that any recruiter who raises the question of fees with a candidate as a way of getting commitment from the candidate is following a path  that will not do anyone any good.  I have never had a candidate ask me how much I get paid.  I have told people that contingent recruiters typically earn a fee that is based on a percentage of the successful candidate's first year of salary with the firm.  I emphasize that the company pays the fee not the candidate so fee discussions are not really germane to his or her candidacy.  Many candidates really do not understand that they are NOT the client.

I have had candidates ask me if they would be better off representing his/herself.  My reply to that is to tell them to feel free to do so and I suggest they fill out an employment application with the employer.  I do tell them that I can be no further help to them should they choose to follow that path.

I negotiate my fee before I begin the search and I have a signed agreement stating the terms of the search prior to beginning the search.  I have never had an employer try to renegotiate a search fee once the search has commenced. 

Comment by Charlotte Byndas on September 30, 2011 at 4:25pm

Sandra thanks for the response!

Yes, our group also covers that fact that there is NO pressure at all for any one of our candidates to take a job.  We have this conversations as we are setting them up for the first interview.  Defining  the entire process, just like you have above.    It is the foundation for a cooperative, collaborative relationship with the candidate. 

I also agree fees are between clients and recruiters NOT candidates.  Discussing a fee with a candidate is a "slimy" I am only interested in collecting a fee, not what is in your best interest strategy. 


Bill I love the story, thanks for sharing. 


Fabulous Friday to you both!

Comment by Terra on October 3, 2011 at 11:59am
 I would never discuss a fee with a candidate, it really is not their business and it has nothing to do with why I am sending that particular candidate for the position.  I send the best candidate regardless of fee.  I do not make the salary decisions, If a Candidate is looking for $50,000 or for $80,000 it will make no difference to me, I will always send both candidates, my client will decide who they will hire.  I also will work equally as hard for a 15% fee or a 25% fee, I have been working for over 25 years as a recruiter and have learned that keeping both my clients and candidates happy is important and you will make more money in the long run.


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