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Paying A Full Fee For Your Recruitment Consultant’s Work? Make Sure It Comes With Some Consulting

Last week, we got a call from a hiring manager who’d been searching unsuccessfully for a financial accountant for a couple of months.

Things were now so stretched in his team, he said, that he had no time to meet to brief us. He emailed a job description and a salary band and asked in return for an emailed ‘short list’ of ten resumes for him to review, from which he planned to select around five for an interview.

He was happy to pay our full fee, so was surprised when we respectfully declined to take on the assignment under those conditions.

Now, I get it. I know when your ‘real’ work is piling up, the last thing you want to do is give up an hour of your time talking to a recruiter, not to mention the subsequent phone calls to adjust the brief if necessary or talk about individual candidates. And that’s especially true if you’ve dealt with sub-par recruiters in the past who don’t add any value to the process.

But (and yes, I know it’s a big ‘but’) if you can find yourself a good recruiter, you’d be a fool not to use them to their full capacity.

You see, a good recruiter wants to consult. They have a vastly greater chance of filling a position if they’re able to work collaboratively with you – and, of course, that’s the best outcome for both of you.


  • They’re a specialist in their field (they understand the roles they recruit)
  • They are well networked and can help you access talent you can’t find yourself.
  • They are collaborative with you – they can give you market insight and have the confidence to give you honest feedback about the process so you get the best outcome.
  • Importantly, in this candidate scarce market – they can manage the offer and acceptance process well so you don’t miss out on the person you want.

Of course, if you want to pay for a bunch of resumes (and really, why would you? Just chuck an ad on Seek, or get yourself a premium LinkedIn account), then all the power to you.

But, please, don’t pay an agency fee for the privilege.

There are plenty of ‘recruitment agencies’ (I use the term loosely) out there who offer an unbundled service – they can provide you with a list of resumes for the price of a cheap dinner out. Just remember you’ll need to invest a significant amount of your own time in looking through resumes, interviewing people who might not be right, or worse, offering the job to the wrong person.


“Agreeing to pay a full recruitment fee for a bunch of resumes is like going to the doctor with an outline of your symptoms, and asking them to provide you with a list of ten possible diagnoses for you to choose from – and then paying for a full consultation fee”

One excellent hire can change your business. Make sure you utilise your recruiter effectively to optimise your chances of finding that person.

About the author

Angela Cameron - CA, CPA

Executive Director

A chartered accountant by qualification, she is a recruitment leader by nature.

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