Rob Reeves

Rob Reeves,            CEO – Redfish

Will a Recruiter’s Fees Impact My Salary?

By Rob Reeves, President, CEO Redfish Technology


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked by a candidate if working with a recruiter will lower his salary. Some people think that a recruiter’s fee comes out of the same budget that a candidate’s salary comes from. “Isn’t the money for a new hire going to be split between the candidate hired, referral fees, headhunter commission, and Sally over at H.R.?”

Of course not! Companies budget for wages separately from recruiting efforts. Would a growing company who decided to create an H.R. department with internal recruiting lower the salaries of current and future staff to pay for this recruiting function? No – Everyone would jump ship! Talent acquisition is a separate cost, just like advertising, facilities management, or product launches all have their own budgets. Reducing the salary of a new hire when using a recruiter would be tantamount to reducing the Sales & Marketing team’s salary when a new product roll-out needs to be paid for.

Okay, but if there are two candidates vying for the position and one was introduced via a recruiter, the company can save money by hiring the other, right?” Sure, they could. But companies are making a strategic choice to pay for external talent acquisition; their goal is to get the best talent they can afford. In the over 15 years that I have been in the business, I have seen only a couple of scenarios where an external recruiting agreement with the company was a factor in hiring the candidate. Typically such scenarios are resolved by an objective examination of the best candidate for the company, and the best person is hired.

But would my overall compensation package be higher if there was no recruiter involved?” In our experience, the likelihood is that your compensation package will be better. It is the recruiter’s job to identify the talent sought, and position the skills, abilities, traits, experience, and fit for the company. We also know the salaries being paid in the industry for such talent and it is our job to help employers and candidates find the right compensation so that there is a win-win situation and long-term commitment on all sides.

Even though cost-savings are important, any company that chooses the candidate based solely on salary is not a company you’d want to work for. Honestly, if a company really did choose the lesser candidate to save on the allotted hiring fee, or offered the chosen candidate less because of it, would you feel confident about that company’s strategy and vision going forward?

Recruiting and onboarding the right talent requires time, networks, and expertise. Some companies outsource H.R. and/or recruiting functions, some do them internally – either way there is a cost associated, and budgeted for that purpose.

So rest assured, the company you want to work for is not going to short you for going through an external recruiter. And you can buy Sally a coffee when you start your new job. Heck, send your recruiter a gift certificate and chocolates. Enjoy your new job!


About the Author:

Rob Reeves has enjoyed recruiting for a long time. He founded Redfish Technology in 1996, and has taken it from a predominantly West Coast Technical recruiter to a nationwide, full service firm specializing in High Tech and Green Tech sectors. His tenured experience in the field of talent acquisition is called upon by some of the most dynamic technology companies in the United States.

One Response to “Will a Recruiter’s Fees Impact My Salary? by Rob Reeves, Redfish Technology – Nationwide IT and CleanTech Recruiters”

  1. James McNai

    It does affect whether or not the candidate will receive a sign on bonus. Before the days of recruiters, I remember my friends and I receiving sign on bonuses of $15-20k.


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