CareerMamaJob Hunting

Can Recruiters Be Trusted?

By 17th April 2015 September 25th, 2018 No Comments

I get asked this question a lot by my clients and there seems to be a really negative perception about recruiters: aggressive, untrustworthy, and only interested in placement fees.

As an ex-recruiter, I can assure you this is generally not the case, but let’s look at some facts and address the key question most candidates want to know:

“Can a recruiter be trusted or expected to get the best salary package for you, the candidate?”

The basic fact is:

Recruiters charge the hiring company a % of the successful candidates’ annual salary. They are then paid commission or bonus based on this fee.

So yes, they 1) want to fill the job, and 2) they want to get the highest possible salary for the maximum commission.

However, you need to consider these 7 key factors when seeking the “best salary package”, as these will have an effect on the outcome.

1: Candidates do not pay recruiters or recruitment agencies for their service, they are hired/paid by the hiring company, therefore the recruiters aim is to source and place the best candidate for the job.

2: Knowing the market and your competition is key when negotiating salary. You may be the only candidate (which gives you more negotiating power) or you might be one of many. Your recruiter is an expert in your market, so they will be advising the hiring company about what they need to pay to get the best candidate for the job, according to market dynamics at the time of hiring.

3: You specify your salary expectation so being clear on your salary ‘walk away point’ is critical. The clearer you are on what you want and why, and being confident in your value, is important when working with recruiters.

4: The hiring company will have a budget or salary range to work within, which may or may not be negotiable, depending on external market dynamics (such as volume of suitable candidates available), and internal salary restrictions (aligning newcomers with current employee salaries). So at times there is limited flexibility in what a company can offer if your salary expectation is outside of the salary range, and there is little recruiters can do about this. Only you can decide if it is the right opportunity for you with all factors considered.

5: The hiring company may be using multiple recruitment agencies, so even your recruiter may be in the dark about other candidates in consideration, therefore their advice is limited to what they know.

6: You may be first choice, but this does not mean ONLY choice, for the recruiter or hiring company.

7: Your professional reputation. Being well networked, well respected and a high performer will stand you in good stead when upwardly negotiating your salary.

So in summary, YES you can trust the recruiter to get you the best possible salary, however YOU play a huge part in this process.

My advice:

Don’t delay responding to requests for information, interview quickly and be flexible in your availability to interview, be clear on your salary requirements and notice period, don’t withhold information (for example you have a one month holiday two months after the start date), and tell the recruiter if you have other roles in the pipeline.

If you are slow to respond or inflexible when interviewing then a recruiter will question your interest in the role. If you draw out a recruitment process because you have multiple roles on or are waiting to play one offer against the other, then this time delay is allowing other potential candidates to get involved, and you could end up with nothing.

It is far easier to work with candidates who are honest and straightforward and you are more likely to get the salary you want under these circumstances.


Affirmation: I deserve to be paid well for my skills and experience.


Have you had any experience working with recruiters? And did they help or hinder your salary negotiations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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