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Contingent Recruiters:

Contingent firms are paid only when the client hires a candidate.  Most people are far more familiar with this type of search firm; in fact, many people don't even know that retained firms exist.  Contingent firms are paid a fee of 15% to 33% of the candidate's earnings, depending on the deal they cut with the client, the industry and the market conditions.

Most of the positions that contingent search firms fill are for positions with salaries of under $100,000.  Some do fill positions in the $100,000 to $150,000 range.  It is rare for contingent firms to fill positions above $150,000.

Because the contingency firm gets paid only if you get hired, the contingency firm wants to get you hired.  The contingency firm will frequently submit your resume to more than one employer, while the retained firm will never do this. 

Unfortunately, the ease of entry into this market has produced a number of charlatans who merely shuffle paper.  Some will take your resume and mass mail or mass email it to employers, regardless of whether you have given them permission to do so or whether the employer has requested candidates from them.  Other contingent firms will ask you where you want to work, pretend they are well-connected at those companies, and then start calling those companies cold to present you.

Overall, we recommend that you tread gently here. Do your best to learn about the contingency firm you’ll be dealing with before sending them your resume. Because they are generally limited to the more junior, sub-$100,000 positions, they are really not good resources for executives.

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To learn more about this subject, see Job Magician, our free executive job hunting advice web site.

 


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