Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




How much does the recruiter take?

I have received a job offer through a recruiter for a C++ position that I had interviewed for.  The offer is at $95k per year at present, but I'm wondering how much the recruiter is taking and how much I would get if I went to the company directly.  I've never worked with recruiters and a lot of people tell me they are bad.  Am I being ripped off?

Anon
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It's usually a percentage of your salary...

...
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

If it is a not a contract position the usual fee is from 1 to 3 months of your base salary and that too when you stick around for a specific period say like 6 months

Don't worry it does not come out of your salary!

Code Monkey
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

If you have a job offer in hand, then you can't cut the recruiter out - the employer would be in breach of contract.

And - for greater peace in life, stop worrying about other people. If you accepted the job offer, then apparently you're happy with the compensation for the job. Consider this as an equation with two variables:
1) The work you do
2) The compensation you get

If the two are equitable, be happy, move on through life. Adding "3) How much is the other guy getting?" is just a recipe for unhappiness. If you're not happy with the recruiter getting "a cut of your money" then next time don't use a recruiter at all - go find your own work.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

if I could make 95K a year in any programming job I wouldn't worry about what anybody else was making, that's for sure.

I'd be set for life at that salary.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Depends on where you live.  Come on people.  $95k is sh*t if you live in Manhattan ;-)

...
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'm doing 55K right now in Connecticut.  Lately, Connecticut doesn't seem much cheaper than Manhatten :P

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'm at $92K in Wash. DC area (regular salaried job). That's pretty common in defense, with 5-10 years C++ experience.

Bob
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I will back up what Code Monkey said. The company that's hiring will most likely pay some percentage of your first year's salary to the recruiter. It should not affect the salary that you're being offered. Congrats on the offer...next stop, six figures!

Rob VH
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Oops. Should have said Code Monky and Mr. ellipses.

Rob VH
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'd never want to have a coding job in the defense industry.  I'd be way way too paranoid about that.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

muppet, why not? You spend 90% of your time in meetings, discussions to change 3 lines of code. No, really.  So I've heard anyway....

...
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'd be afraid of being followed home from work one day by clean men in black suits and never heard from again.

muppet is now from madebymonkeys.net
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

It's not so bad...

Man in Black
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

One thing not made perfectly explicit yet: recruiters who place salaried employees take a *one-time fee* that is a percentage of the salary.  It's not a recurring fee.

Justin Johnson
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Unless the company has no money, in which case they won't use a recruiting agency, the money they pay the agency has nothing to do with the salary of the job.

You wouldn't get more money by going direct, you wouldn't get through the front door by going direct, that's why they use an agency.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'd agree with Philo, except:

It's worth maximizing your pay.  For several years, I didn't know how arbitrary salaries were until I got a bunch of big jumps by practicing how to interview and negotiate.  When I became a hiring manager, I realized how arbitrary it really was.

It is worth maximizing since every hiring manager will ask what your previous salary was.  Why?  Because we frankly have no idea what your expectations are and only have a general idea what to pay you.  Usually, we take what ever number you got at your last company and add 5-10K and see if it is within the right ballpark.  That way, you are happy to get a raise and we pay something that is comfortable.

It is worth negotiating for lots of reasons.  One is that you can usually tease out another 2-5K simply by asking for it.  As a hiring manager, you always leave a little room on top to negotiate upwards and I secretly root for the guy to ask me for it.  Hey, I've got to negotiate as best as I can for the company but I've been on the other side of the table so I secretly want you to get it.  If you get that extra money, you get it every single paycheck (not bad for 5 minutes of discomfort!).  You also have permanently raised your rate so, if I want to give you a raise, I have to give you even more.

In the end, as a manager, I want to get the job done, cheaper if possible.  My job is not to bring balance to the universe or try to undo social wrongs.  I want to get my team set up but, if I overpay a bit or underpay sometimes, that's a side effect but not my main goal.  At a larger company, I might be restricted by a compensation framework but, at a smaller company, I just go to my boss and try to get him to approve it.  In any case, it worth it for you to work whatever system that I've got and try to find companies who pay well.

Don't think that the industry will magically pay you what you are worth.

(Even though it seems like I disagree with Philo, I actually agree that, at the end of the day, you've got to chose a place to work and accept a salary that you can live with.  It doesn't matter who's really middleman or who's making money off the deal.  Just because somebody is making money off you doesn't mean that you can realistically cut them out.)

Daniel Howard
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Staff placements are different from on-going contract placements, which are a lucrative business for recruiters, where they can and will manipulate the margin in ways that harm the contractor.

Staff placements are different because staff usually have to be lured from a competitor, and thus have more bargaining power. So the employer has to pay market salaries.

In these situations, the recruiter's pay usually doesn't have much effect on yours. For a $95,000 job, the recruiter would get $15,000 to $25,000.

Inside Job
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Daniel, I agree with you completely. I just don't think that maximizing your pay depends on how much the recruiter is taking, either.

Employer offers $95k, you ask for $100k (neat trick here - just tell them it's because you want to tell your wife/girlfriend/roommate you're making six figures). The employer either will or won't agree, no matter what they're paying the recruiter.

After all, you don't care if the employer gets the "extra" by getting the recruiter to cut their commission, or if they shook loose some extra cash, right?

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Mmmm...yeah... Tell them that you need $5K more to impress your girlfriend?!  That ranks right up there with the story I heard from a manager where some wife called up saying that her husband needed to make more money.  It didn't work and put a black cloud over the employee.

Rogue
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

>> I'm wondering how much the recruiter is taking and how much I would get if I went to the company directly.

It usually makes no difference.

In most companies the commission paid to a recruiter comes from a different account & pot of money than salaries.

Besides, it's generally a matter of HR policy that certain experience is paid a certain amount.

IE: the fact that someone comes in through a job ad (IE, without a recruiter involved) is generally never allowed as a  justification for paying the person more. So the reverse holds true too.

>> I've never worked with recruiters and a lot of people tell me they are bad.

Recruiters are bad in so far as they work for their own agendas and neither the good of either the client nor of the candidate, except as it benefits them.

IE: I've heard about people who have been fired because a recruiter called their boss and "let slip" that the person was looking for a new job. I've experienced recruiters spamming out marketing calls to companies that I've listed in my resume. I've been pressured, lied to, and manipulated by recruiters.

Recruiters, IMO, are corrupt human scum. Apologists with the "united colors of Benetton" excuse that they're just doing their job can stuff it. Most recruiters are condescending trash.

But sometimes they have a job that fits. In this instance, run with it, using a recruiter actually helped you.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home