We’re Cheap When It Comes To Recruiters

I got called by a company the other day. They were referred to me even though I have not recruited for a while. The guy said he was referred to me through a good mutual friend of mine. We talked for a little and he told me the kinds of people he needs and then warned me that they are very cheap with their third party recruiters. I said what do you mean cheap? He said that his company only pays 20% to recruiters. I said really, he said yup. I then asked him if they pay 20% for their executive level searches. He said of course not. I said of course you don’t.

Negotiating fees for searches is something that some recruiters are good at. Others, well, not so good. Everyone has their tactics and some work better than others. What has become clear to me though, having spent 15 years in the recruiting industry, is that everyone either tries to make a buck or to save a buck, just depends on what side of the line you sit on. It’s a great industry.

What about this one?

“(After the part where you seem pretty sure you can fill their position and the person you are talking to seems confident about it as well)

You: Our fee for this search will be 30% (or whatever it is you work at)

Them: (silence)

You: will that be a problem? Are you authorized to initiate this search with me at 30%?

Them: It may be. We have recruiters working for less.

You: Most companies do and I am more than happy to discuss this at a later date when you find yourself with this position still open.

Them: Maybe I can work with you at 25%. Would that be good?

You: I have a great idea. We have a policy in our office that when a recruiter is discussing a possible search with a potential client, no one in our office is authorized to recruit from that company. Since a recruiter can’t work with every company in a specific industry, a company is either a client or a source. Does that make sense?

Them: Ok. Let’s talk in two days.

Article Continues Below

You: Great. I’ll call you in two days.


Three good articles from the Fordyce Letter Archives:

How To Respond to “But Your Competitors Are Cheaper”

Creating Compelling Presentation

Three Questions For every New Client

Are you going to The Fordyce Forum In Las Vegas this June?


4 Comments on “We’re Cheap When It Comes To Recruiters

  1. That should be included in every single recruiters training manual.

    The amount of times I have that conversation with clients trying to take the mickey and colleagues too afraid to put a price on their own head!

    Brilliant !

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