The Cost Of Working With An Executive Recruiter

An executive recruiter has your best interest at heart - not money.

“Is working with a recruiter going to affect my likelihood of getting hired?” This is a question I am asked often. I have also been asked, “Does working with a recruiter cost me any money?” Lastly, I have been asked, “Will working with a recruiter hurt my chances of getting hired as compared to someone else who is not working with the recruiter?”  These are all terrific questions that will be addressed here. Each of these embody the deeper question of, “Can my executive recruiter kill my deal?”

How A Recruiter Helps

At the outset, let me be clear that working with an executive recruiter will not cost you anything. Zero money comes out of your pocket. It also should not cost you anything as it relates to the financial package you are going to receive by your intended employer. Now that we have addressed the financial implication of working with a recruiter, let us look at the likelihood of you not being hired due to representation by a recruiter. If you are in the field of public finance and reading this blog, your chances of being hired do not diminish because you are working with a competent recruiter that specializes in the field of public finance.   Where you’ll benefit more from working with the recruiter is when that recruiter specializes in this field. They will know where opportunities can be created or where they are currently today. An executive recruiter should be dealing directly with the hiring manager, which means they can represent you in a better light than you would representing yourself. This is mainly because most public finance professionals are not necessarily aware of all they can bring to a new firm. It is up to the recruiter to pull that out of them and present all the facts to the potential hiring company.

Financial Costs Of An Executive Recruiter

The second point I want to address is if working with a recruiter will cost you money. As stated previously, a good recruiter should pay for themselves. Let me explain how that works. First of all, an executive recruiter should not be charging you (the candidate) any money to work with them. There are some recruiters who are generating additional sources of income by helping you with your resumes, cover letters, etc. However, that is not what I am referring to.  What I am referring to is you paying the fee for a successful placement at a company. The firms that we represent will pay our fee to share the best candidates in the field of public finance including (but not limited to): banker, municipal financial advisor, underwriter, trader, compliance officer, or bond counsel. Moving forward, the next question deals with an offer being put together and if the firm will reduce that offer by the commission they are expected to pay to an executive recruiter. The answer to that question is affirmatively no. That is not to say that they are not going to be aware of the commission due a recruiter; however, in my 10 years of experience, I have never had a firm reduce a compensation package because of my fee. The firms that we are fortunate enough to represent are aware that this is a long-term relationship with our firm as well as significant ramp up (12-18 mos.) for the new hire.

Representation Vs. Non-Representation

Our next question deals with the issue of compensation. Will a firm lean to hiring one candidate over another due to representation or lack thereof? Are they swayed by the likelihood of a fee being owed at commencement of the new position? Let me again be as clear as possible. In my years of experience, I have never had a firm choose one candidate over another because of representation or non-representation as it relates to an additional fee that may be due.  I can also share that the likelihood of this happening, as it relates to the way I recruit, is extremely rare.   I rarely have candidates in a competitive situation for a position. This is due to the fact that 99% of all the positions we place are opportunistic ones; therefore, there is no competition for the position. This presents to both my candidate and my client company a strong negotiating position to get the best deal possible for both parties. Yes, that can be and is done regularly with an executive recruiter. A win-win scenario not a win-lose one.

An Executive Recruiter Only Kills A Deal When…

Lastly, I want to address whether a recruiter can kill a deal. The answer is clearly yes. How? Simply when that executive recruiter believes in his/her heart that the fit is not the right one. There have been a few examples of candidates that we have been fortunate enough to work with whom I did not believe in the long run would be happy with the firm or the position that we originally recommended.  Something had changed since the inception of the process, a merger, new hiring managers, etc. In the end, the answer is yes. If a recruiter has your best interest, they should recommend that you withdraw your candidacy. For that, you should be thankful as they are only thinking of you and your future.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out to me for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email me at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.