There's ONE question you must ask every recruiter … Before you trust them with your confidential data and dollars.

Headhunter, executive recruiters, search consultants. personnel placement agents, or account managers -whatever you choose to call “us”, WE have a muddied reputation. I've had dozens of prospective clients ( many of which I now count as friends ) tell me they've had negative experiences with my brethren.

The reasons are varied. But they all stem from the same source.

Greed! Too few recruiters are committed to the industry I love for the long haul, so they're motivated by the fee(s) attached to the (potential ) outcome of our efforts.

This points to a flaw in the fee structures upon which relationships between search firms and employers are based.

Using my extensive career as an example, approximately 95% of all dollars my boutique firm ( ) has billed / revenue we've earned is a result of “ straight commission sales “performance.

That's right. Most of the assignments we take on a Contingent basis. In other words, we get paid $0 unless we make a placement. How can a contingency fee-based recruiter NOT be incentivized to get a job filled asap? How can he/she stay true to the process without compromising their client's goals? 

The answer is simple.

Like the most highly paid attorney, our job is NOT to merely close a deal; it's to do what's best for the hiring authority and his/her company. Each time, and with every requirement we partner on!

This requires a ton of patience, integrity and perseverance. Not to mention long hours, the communication skills to tactfully screen out multitudes of frogs our client is “paying “ us not to kiss; not t mention the sometimes painful task of rejecting 6 out of every 7 prospects that get to the interview table.

After about 40 years in the biz I've figured it out. There's only one GOLD STANDARD in this industry with so many names, and a less than stellar reputation. That's the answer to the question you all need to be asking.

So the next time you're considering working with a Contingent fee based 3rd party recruiter, consider the risk /reward on both sides and ask this question. What's your underlying motivation for taking on this assignment? Listen carefully…

The answer makes me realize how valuable of a firm I have, service we offer and tenure no observer can misread.