Recruiter Tips


Executive recruiters at KAS Placement

Recruiter Tips

For a significant number of job seekers, engaging headhunters can be an additional avenue for one’s job search.  Though, many don’t know where to start, how staffing firms actually work and the most effective ways to be successful when engaging headhunters.

Below, we’ve compiled some recruiter tips to get you started:

How Recruiters Work

In simplistic terms, headhunters are no more than professional matchmakers.  As a job, they bring together employers and job seekers.

For applicants, headhunters are free to us.  It is recommended that any applicant avoid staffing firms that charge job seekers.  There should be no exceptions to this rule.

While some recruiters may offer related services such as career coaching and resume writing, you should not feel inclined to purchase any of these add-ons.

In all reality, the relationship between a recruiter and a job seeker is a mutually beneficial, professional relationship.  If you’re a good interviewer and are a fit for an open job, you’re going to make that staffing professional much more money than you would if you purchased resume services.

Depending on the fee that the individual charges, a recruiting agent stands to make anywhere between 15% – 25% of your annual salary upon you being hired by a client.

By being an in demand job seeker, you’re worth your weight in gold to any recruitment agent.  The best gift you could give that individual is to obtain and accept a job offer from one of their clientele.

How Are Executive Search Firms Paid and What it Means

Typically, recruiters are paid in two different methods and both present positives and negatives for the job seeker.

1. Contingency Recruiting Agreements – contingency contracts are where recruiters are only paid by the client if (and only if) they end up making a placement for a particular job.

When hiring companies engage in contingency agreements, they are allowed to use several different staffing firms and only incur a fee when somebody is hired.

Often, contingency recruitment firms will have more open jobs than retained recruiters, but since there are multiple staffing agencies working on the project, there tends to be more interviewees vying for the position.

2. Retained Recruiting Agreements – retained contracts are where the recruitment company is paid an upfront fee and typically has an exclusive on the job (a.k.a. they are the only ones working on the account).

Firms often use retained recruiters when contingency contracts don’t yield the results they want.  For hiring companies, it is a more personalized service.

The same goes for job seekers.  Retained search firms will have less open jobs (typically) than your average contingency company.  Conversely, the recruiters there tend to have more influence when it comes to the jobs that they are currently filling and typically get applicants in for an interview even if their background is not an exact match.

In the End

Choosing the right recruiters to work with is a gut instinct.  Stick with reputable firms that employ staffing professionals who care about your career and you should do just fine.


Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement.  He is a writer for Forbes and has been published over 400x on the topic of recruitment and HR.  Learn more about our executive team.