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Ask HN: Do You Use Recruiters?
11 points by lopatin 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments
In my experience, while never using them in the past, deciding to use a recruiter to find a new job was incredibly helpful.


- Lots of interviews, quickly.

- Great network of high quality companies. No need to network for yourself.

- Negotiates one offer vs. another one for you, often increasing the initial offer by like 10k. No need to get out of your comfort zone and do this yourself.


- Asked me to be exclusive. If I had branched out and used 3 at once, it would have probably gotten out, and don't know if I would have been dropped.

- Takes a percentage of your salary. Which for me isn't bad, because in my mind I wouldn't have gotten the negotiated salary bump, or even the opportunity in the first place, if it wasn't for her.

I just wanted to learn other peoples experience.

Fwiw I'm in Chicago now, where I used the recruiter for finance type jobs. Before, I was in SF and just relied on my own network.

> Asked me to be exclusive, takes a percentage of your salary

These are both red flags for recruiters. Recruiters generally do not ask for you to be exclusive nor will they take a part of your salary; the company pays a set amount per candidate they hire or a percentage based on your salary, but it does not come out of your salary directly, ie if you are paid 100k, the company will pay say 20k to a recruiter, but your salary will not be reduced by that 20k down to 80k. You should still be making 100k regardless of whatever deal was negotiated between the company and the recruiter.

Recruiters will also not ask for exclusivity, in fact, quite the opposite; many will ask how far along you are in the interview process with other recruiters and companies just so they know if they need to pressure their company to hurry the process along or not, which can be quite useful in order to get offers all around the same time and negotiate amongst them.

Most of the recruiters I see are via email and LinkedIn, and they are either third party recruiters or company recruiters directly. They are how I've gotten every job I've gotten in both my corporate and consulting histories.

Thanks for your input. I did think that being exclusive was not great, but with the amount of interviews I was getting at companies that I was interested in, I was like "this should be work".

To bring this down to numbers, years ago, I got a 150k offer from a company which I really liked. I also had a 180k offer from a corporate soul-suck. She got me up to 160 and at my preferred company and I'm happy there.

I was under the impression that she gets like 1k - 5k of that salary. To be fair, I honestly don't know that she gets a cut personally, but that's how I hear things go in Chicago.

1 to 5k? That's laughably low, they make anywhere from 15 - 50% of the total compensation as a lump sum, but sometimes with stipulations like the employee not quitting before 90 days. If they're part of a recruiting firm, the firm might take a lot of that commission, but the recruiter still gets a hefty amount. So for your 160k, the firm likely make 40k total from which she would have made maybe 15k of that.

I perhaps misunderstood that they get a small life time cut of my salary. You may be right that they get a bigger percentage of yearly, but as a lump sum, just of the first year.

Lifetime cut? Hell, I'd be a recruiter if they got a lifetime cut, imagine working for a few years then retiring as other people pay for you indefinitely. No, they get a commission off of the first year's salary.

I wouldn't. Not because of the fee (I find that just fine) but because I think I can make a better job finding suitable companies. My approach is usually:

- search companies over the web/linkedin

- read their websites/social media

- find out who works there via Linkedin/github/etc and read their profiles

- find out the salary ranges for SE positions in that company. If I can't then I don't apply (unless the company is really something unique)

- find out "coding tests" or "interview questions" on github/glassdoor

- finally apply

I end up knowing pretty well which kind of keywords should I use in my CV or when talking with HR/managers/engineers. Finding out about the people working there also gives me a pretty good picture of how I should talk in the interviews.

The most difficult part is the first one (search companies over the web/linkedin), so this is something I do regularly all the time (even when I do already have a job). The other points could take me 1 or 2 days for 1 company.

I doubt recruiters can do all of the above.

> - Asked me to be exclusive.

Tell them yes but just don't. Just be sure to only have one recruiter submit you to one role. Or, similarly-in-spirt, ask for them in writing to only represent you and no other candidates.

> - Takes a percentage of your salary

Are you sure you didn't misunderstand? They should be being paid from the company they're contracting with to find talent. It might be they get a percentage of the hired salary as payment, but their payment shouldn't impact your pay. If this is what they're asking, don't do it.

Using recruiters IME has been great. They're leeches, but as long as you're both aware of this leeching you can use it to your benefit.

Maybe I did understand. But I was under the impression that the company gets paid on a percentage of the salary the negotiated for me, and that she get's some of that too.

If the company agrees to hire you for 125k (just making up numbers), your yearly base comp should be 125k, and none of that money should go to the recruiter. However the recruiter gets paid is none of your business. Again, if it's not this way, don't do it. I've never seen this type of arrangement before.

It was this way, my yearly comp is whatever they offered me. What my recruiter makes is not my business, and I just assumed that they took a cut.

I misspoke when I said "Maybe I did understand", I meant, "Maybe I did MISunderstand" :) Thanks for your response.

The recruiters over in Malaysia take a cut from the hiring company and don't ask you to be exclusive, so it's all the pros. I think on average they get 1 month salary as a recruiter's fee, so there's an incentive to hype you up too.

On the other hand, companies are often very reluctant to pay them for "doing nothing" so you'll get through the resume filter and be put at the bottom of the list. Conversion rate so far has been 0% but I'm sure they work, otherwise they'd be out of a job.

What kind of recruiters are you talking about? I am interested. Most of the tech recruiters I have encountered have been mostly of the low-quality inbound Cyber Coders type, and even the higher-quality ones have been the types who get paid by the company--they have no real relationship with me or incentive to help me personally.

I'm talking about the ones that are employed by some recruiting firm.

Their incentive to help you is that they get a small cut of your salary, which is paid by the company who hires you. And while, yes, you can argue that it is still indirectly from your salary, the opportunities that opened up and salary that was negotiated for you above the initial offer, evens it out, and makes it a win-win I think.

BTW I'm not familiar with Cyber Coders but, from an initial Google search, it seems like not the ones that I'm talking about. They seem more .. gimicky, I guess, than the one that I used. When I talked with my recruiter it was more of a smaller shop with deep connections in the Chicago trading industry.

> Their incentive to help you is that they get a small cut of your salary, which is paid by the company who hires you.

Oh ok, I misunderstood you originally. I thought it was x% out of your salary--which may very well be worth it, depending.

Does the recruiting firm you used also recruit for engineers for NY offices of trading firms?

I believe that my firm only does Chicago, but there are similar firms that contacted me that were for NY based companies.

I think you already pointed out the pros and cons very well. You should calculate the salary/rate you want to achieve. If a recruiter can offer this, then why not going for it. I do not have the best negotiation skills, but often was still better paid then the colleagues without people selling them. So probably you will be paid better often even if this blood suckers take their cut.

How do people get access to recruiters? Is there a data-base or resource of some sort that curates recruiters?

In Europe they infested LinkedIn.

I find them to be extremely greedy, sometimes taking as much as 16% off of the day rate.

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