From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2021
« Sep    
Recruiters. Should you pay a fee?
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Legal matters
Posted by: site admin @ 11:44 am

A colleague and trusted consulting friend, Lisa, asked me
about a ‘recruiter’ arrangement that she was not familiar.


She asked:  “Do you have any experience with [recruiting firm
name withheld]?  I have not.  Apparently, they charge you to see
their listings, but then they ‘guarantee’ to find you a job?
It sounds a bit shady to me…”

Every once in a while a question about working with
recruiters comes up.  See  1  for a specific situation
where a member was invited for a second interview with
a firm, where the first one was facilitated by a recruiter.

My response to Lisa expressed no experience with
the specific firm, however I did have several thoughts
and experiences with paid recruiter services that were
of value to members.

A paid recruiting service might not be my first choice
for a recent graduate without much work history. Although
some firms have downsized their staffing and HR departments
and may use a recruiting company to screen and service
this critical role.  It is not standard practice to charge job
seekers, at this point.

There are circumstances, I shared with Lisa, where paid
recruiting service by a job seeker may be a viable route.
  -  experienced professional out of work for a while
  -  experienced professional trying to locate a position
in a different country or continent
  -  experienced professional who needed to find a position
quickly due to family circumstances
  -  professional with a troubled work history (fired for cause)
or personal life (felony violation)

The job seeker should seriously consider using a formal
contract with deliverables and time lines that is reviewed by
legal counsel.

A client, who was dissatisfied in his current position asked if
he should work with a paid recruiter who would provide job
leads and make introductions for him.  He sought out the recruiters
help, paid the fees, and in short order received more than what he
expected.  Not only did he make contacts, interview and receive
interesting job offers, he was approached by his current employer
to entertain improving his assignment. 

He negotiated for being able to have a more interesting position
with the same company and be able to consult with several of the
companies he made contact with.

He took a prudent risk that worked for him, at least for the short

One Response to “Recruiters. Should you pay a fee?”

  1. site admin Says:

    Resources: Working with recruiters.

    For recent grads, generally we recommend being careful
    about agreeing to sign up for any paid recruiter.

    See also 2  3 

Leave a Reply