If you are struggling to find a job you may start thinking about working with a search firm. This can be a wise idea for some, but it is important to follow a few rules. First, let’s take a look at the two types of search firms.


Contingency Search Firms

These types of firms are not hired by a company and they are only paid if their candidate (you) is hired. They usually work within a salary range of $30,000 to $80,000 and can charge companies up to 30% of their client’s starting salary. Contingency search firms are often aggressive in their recruiting efforts.


What does this mean for you?

You may end up on many job interviews that do not align with your goals or needs because of the commission-based setup. Often times, your confidentiality may be at risk as well.


Retained Search Firms

Retained firms are hired directly by companies to identify highly-qualified candidates on an exclusive basis. They usually specialize by function or industry and work with people that will be making $75,000 or more per year. Retained search firms charge a 30-35% fee to the hiring employer.

What does this mean for you?


Retained recruiters are selective about candidates and confidentiality is assumed. If you are contacted by a recruiter form a retained search firm they already have a specific job in mind for you.


Now that you know the different types of search firms, be sure to follow these 6 rules:

  1. Never pay a recruiter.
  2. Always ask if the recruiter is contingent or retained.
  3. Ask the recruiter to tell you something about the firm and their career.
  4. Ask how many searches the recruiter is currently managing.
  5. Ask the recruiter to visit the website of the firm they are presenting to you together.
  6. Check closely to find out who pays the search fee – you or the company.

Remember, search firms can be a valuable tool for many people; however, they require awareness on your part. At Hire Heroes USA, we recommend that you only work with retained search firms. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a recruiter do some research and always feel free to contact your Veteran Transition Specialist.