You are charging me how much?

ImageMost of the placements that I make are not easy. Finding good recruiters and getting them to move to a client is tough work. It takes a lot of effort, time and dare I say a bit of skill.  So I always feel justified in the fee I charge a client – and the majority of my clients recognise that and are happy to pay me accordingly.

So, when I have someone telling me what I am charging for simply emailing a CV and making a few phone calls, probably a couple of hours work, is daylight robbery I am amusingly annoyed (is that even possible?).

A couple of hours work…mmmm.

Well if I was charging let’s say $10k for a couple of hours work, then daylight robbery would be being kind. Daylight heist would be more appropriate.

But of course, there is just a little bit more to it than that. What Mr Client is seeing is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the service I am providing. What he is not seeing is all the effort, time and skill so that he is now in the position where he has the opportunity to meet a great candidate……

Part of my fee is for that two hours I spent at a networking event a few weeks ago where I met someone who referred this person to me. Part of my fee is for the two years I have spent building my profile on social media so that this person approached me when they were looking for a role. Part of my fee is for discounting all the wrong candidates, including the liars and weirdos. Part of my fee is for the highly skilled researcher that we employ who found this person when they were not considering a new job. Part of it is because I have persuaded the person to work with me exclusively and therefore you are only one of a few agencies seeing this person.  Part of it is because I briefed this person about your business, as opposed to the other hundred agencies you compete with. Part of it pays for the coffee I bought the person when they were getting cold feet about moving jobs. Part of it keeps the doors to my business open, so I can keep doing this. And yes, part of it, a much smaller part than you think, goes into my (fiancée’s) back pocket.

I could go on…. but you get the point.

So sure, Mr Client, you might only be seeing the end result of all of this work.  But, there was a heck of a lot that went in to getting this person in front of you.  If you don’t agree then do it yourself.  Write an advert, send a couple of messages to people on LinkedIn, or do whatever you think it is that we do. And see if the result is different.

Maybe, we recruiters should start charging in 6-minute increments like lawyers and accountants do. Or our invoices should have a break down of exactly what you are being charged for…that would be a long invoice!

Obviously everyone wants value for money, If you are simply shuffling a few CVs around town all day long, then it is hard to justify any sort of fee.  But, if you are putting in the time and effort, and using your experience and skill, to allow your client to see someone they may never have known of…. then stand up tall and proud.

Your fee is more than justified. Not everyone will agree…but that is their problem.


Luke Collard


17 thoughts on “You are charging me how much?

  1. lysha holmes on Reply

    I totally agree with this blog, Luke. And maybe we should all go down the “charge by the minute” route. Perhaps r2r should flip some of the invoice due to the candidates who use us for counteroffers or “dipping their toes” too?! Just a thought!

  2. Mitch Sullivan on Reply

    Recruitment agencies that claim a R2R is only doing a couple of hours work are basically expressing a form of self-loathing.

    The trouble is, a lot of the time they’re right.

    Given the way the market is right now, R2R is basically just a spot-trading activity rather than an exercise in recruitment. There are many agencies that work in a similar way, so for them to complain about fees is, I agree, a bit fresh.

    1. lukecollard on Reply

      “R2R is a spot-trading activity rather than an exercise in recruitment” ….. what does that mean. I am pretty sure that I am recruiting every day Mitch.

      1. Mitch Sullivan on Reply

        It means that R2R is all mostly about trading candidates to however will hire them. It’s driven by the needs (or in this case, the scarcity) of the candidates.

        Recruitment, for the vast majority of companies, is driven by them having to fill their vacancies. That’s have to fill, nowhere to hide, no ignoring the vacancy for another one that’s easier to fill.

        That’s why R2R is about trading rather than delivery. No R2R that I’ve ever heard of works a client’s vacancy until it’s filled.

        That’s what delivery is. Having to do stuff.

        1. lukecollard on Reply

          Beating the old retainer drum again Mitch !!! With respect you are way off the mark with your perception of R2R – although I can only speak for my business. If I didn’t deliver I wouldn’t have any clients. Often it takes me months to find my client the right person. I would classify that as ‘having to do stuff’. Anyone can walk away anytime in any business. But it is not an option for good recruiters, regardless of whether they are retained, exclusive or just working that massive area of the market you seem to endlessly bang on about not being proper recruitment.

          1. Mitch Sullivan on

            You can interpret it that way if you want, Luke.

            It’s got nothing to do with retained or contingency either – and it’s interesting that you only see recruitment in those terms.

            The majority of permanent jobs are filled by the hiring companies themselves, not recruitment agencies. That’s what real recruitment is for the majority of the population.

            And they involve jobs that have to be filled because the business needs them to be filled – as opposed to a lot of agencies whose position is more about needing to hire when or if the right person (in their eyes) becomes available. Most businesses don’t work that way.

            When you talk about it sometimes taking you months to fill a job, I’m pretty certain what that means is you have to wait for the kind of person to come onto the market. And even then, you’ll probably get that candidate another interview with another agency.

            That also may offer some additional insight why some agencies baulk at R2R fees. Because they perceive the R2R to not have worked that hard on their behalf. BTW..I’m not saying I agree with them – I happen to think it’s double standards on their part.

            Real recruitment also means having fall back positions like re-scoping the job or widening the candidate profile if the perfect candidate isn’t available – because those jobs have to be filled within certain time frames because if they’re not, the business suffers.

            R2R has its own conditions that are not what most of the rest of the recruitment market are working to.

          2. Mitch Sullivan on

            Hi Craig.

            I’ve recruited recruiters myself (some very recently) and dealt with R2Rs many times as a potential client and a few times as a candidate. Not sure if that makes me “all knowing” but to be fair, it doesn’t take much to understand how R2Rs work.

            I’m not disparaging it by the way, I’m just commenting on how the market conditions make it more of a trading activity than it otherwise might be.

            To bring us back to the original point, it might be this that make some clients think that the fee they’re being charged doesn’t equate to their perception of amount of work that went into introducing that candidate to them.

            I’m just trying to give you some insight from the client’s perspective, that’s all.

  3. Charlie Ineson Rec2Rec Consultant on Reply

    “R2R is a spot-trading activity rather than an exercise in recruitment” – REALLY Mitch!!? I wish someone had told me that before I go and pick potential candidates up from the airport, take distressed calls at midnight or spend my Sundays meeting them before interviews on Mondays!!!!

  4. Emma on Reply

    Just had a mini fee dispute and stolen your line what you are “seeing is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the service I am providing.” Hope you don’t mind and thanks!

  5. Karen Gately on Reply

    Yet another great blog – totally agree. Although I suspect the ‘throw and stick’ approach some apply may be a big part of the attitude quality recruiters get from clients.

  6. Olly on Reply

    An interesting point might be: Are the rec’s baulking at fees and questioning your level of work, the poor recruiters out there that do actually just flick resumes to every employer, don’t put the effort in and walk away from hiring opportunities when it gets too hard?

    If the recruiter you’re hiring for is a shoddy operator, doesn’t put the work in and understand the meaning of real recruitment, you can see why they’d argue the level of work you’ve put in.

    I’d expect any quality recruiter to appreciate the work a r2r does, as they have to do something very similar every day (just in a different industry).

  7. Beth on Reply

    I have to say having a recruiter not wanting to pay an R2R fee is a bit rich, given that from an R2R you are most likely getting a much higher calibre of candidate than via direct methods (how many times have we blocked agency calls / linked in invitations?!), you have someone to assist in the dreaded (and inevitable) counteroffer, someone to do all the back and forth negotiations – never mind Luke’s late evening phone calls to assist me in getting my new role! If I am ever in the position to recruit within an agency,I would not hesitate in using an R2R in general and Scott Recruitment in particular.

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