Let's Show Clients Our Value By Valuing Ourselves

I don’t work for free.

Let me re-phrase. I don’t like to work for free. 

To put it another way, I totally get why people want me to work for free, but since I’m not running a non-profit (and, I would argue, if I was, I still wouldn’t work for free), and therefore I want to be paid for the work I do.

Regardless of whether the business changes its mind.

Regardless of whether an employee referral falls out of the sky.

Regardless of whether the job is on hold.

I do quality work and I want to get paid for it.

I have the right to turn down contingent work, and I do. What shocks me is that when I ask for a small retainer (what amounts to around 5-10% of the search fee), in order to insure that I don’t walk away with nothing, clients don’t want to pay it. 

I ask for a retainer to make sure that I am the only recruiter working on the role. How does it look to have more than 1 person reaching out to a candidate for the same job? 

I’ll tell you- it looks cheesy, unprofessional, and I promise, it doesn’t get you the best candidates.

I ask for a retainer to make sure that my business isn’t affected by my client’s changing appetites.

I ask for a retainer because more than once I’ve worked 50-100 hours on a search, built what my client called “an incredible pipeline” and walked away with nothing because the req went on hold or was cancelled.

I would have been better off reading a book on my couch.

And while the “sorry” was sincere, it didn’t pay my mortgage.

My work is valuable. My experience, insight and time are valuable. Asking me to work for free because you don’t feel like paying unless I find you the candidate for your job--which I will do, assuming you decide to see the req to completion, devalues my work, insults my experience, and shows that you don’t value the people behind your people business.

Companies need to value their people. And the people who put the time and effort into finding them the right people for the right job at the right time. It is time for recruiters to up their professional game and tell companies that our skills are worth their commitment.

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