Question: Mike, I cannot seem to get great job orders.  I am working on a lot of 20% placement fees and a lot with Human Resources.  – Jerry

Answer: With really good clients HR is going to be integral.  But on the fee side, generally my experience with recruiters in an economy like we are in now, if you are accepting terms, I am not going to just say fee, I am also going to combine fee and not being to talk to the hiring managers or if you are genuflecting and will not make eye contact with your client and holding up your hand going, alms please, alms please, coming in like a beggar, we tend to get treated that way.

The reason you are getting 20% placement fees is you are accepting 20% placement fees.  There is nothing necessarily wrong with 20% placement fees under the right terms and conditions, but you asked about that so I am assuming you want to go higher.  You have to position yourself differently.  That is a whole process that starts from your initial approach.  If you are getting quoted 20%, you sound like a 20% recruiter.  What I would just challenge you to do is to up your game and develop a fantastic diagnostic, which means search assignment form, which does not necessarily need to be a form, but a series of questions to make you sound highly consultative where you really identify what their problem is.  Once you really identify what their problem is then you can do your prescription which is selling your process.

So Mr. Employer, You need one of these people and the reason you need this person right now is ___, ____, and ____.  This is what qualified looks like.  This is what unqualified look like.  Here is what I am going to do.  Did I miss anything?  They will fill in any blanks.  Then you say, “Okay, here is exactly what I am going to do to fill it.  We are going to put together a list of people…” and you go through in specific detail all the things you are going to do to fill that search.  “For us to execute on that, Jerry, that represents a fee of 28.6% of first year’s base salary or first year’s guaranteed compensation.”

Pause.  I will go out of character here for a minute.  “This is where you can position a retainer.  It is $7,000 up front, a non refundable deposit.  Are you the one authorized to approve that?”  Now when you do it that way, it is really, really, really difficult for them to say we only pay 20%.  Trust me.  It is just an approach 98% of the recruiting industry does not use.

The 98% of the recruiting industry uses, “Tell me what you are looking for, what is the background you require, what are the duties and responsibilities, okay, we have that, that, that.  What is the compensation?  What is the salary? Are there any bonuses?  Are there benefits?”  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is just what everybody does and is not highly consultative.  There is nothing wrong with the question when you go into a retail establishment and they say to you, can I help you, even in the most and friendly way, and we say, no, I am just looking.  So when you ask those questions you get a standard response.

So since you said you cannot seem to get job orders that are higher, I am telling you they are out there, especially now when clients need us more than ever.