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Recent College Grads - Everything You Need to Know About Recruiters

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College Grads Complete Recruiters Handbook

So, you're about to graduate and are in the process of sending your resume out to several jobs. Well, it just so happens that one of the ads you applied to is through a recruiter. Besides being an online media consultant, I run a recruiting firm which deals with executive level job seekers. That means our company only places jobs which are $100,000 base salary or above. For several reasons, including ethics, we do not place recent college graduates.

Coming out of college, I strongly suggest that you do not use a recruiter for your first job. There are exceptions such as Heidrich and Struggles as well as ManPower, though there are not many. Actually, I wish most colleges would stop letting recruiters post 3rd party employment openings. If it is directly for that recruiting firm and the position offers compensation, then it is an exception. We'll get into what it is like to work for a staffing firm later in this article.

Personally, before I graduated from college, I had no idea what a recruiter was. That is, until I got staffed by one in a job which I would leave in 4 months to, ironically, start my own recruitment company.

How do recruiters get paid:

Recruiters get paid two different ways :

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1. Contingency contracts; a contingency contract is when a company pays a recruiter (typically 15% - 25% of the base salary) to find them an employee. With a contingency contract, the recruiter only gets paid if somebody is placed for that particular position.

Therefore, if your base salary is $35,000, the recruiter would get $7,000 in commission once you officially became employed with the organization. Actually, the $7,000 would go to the recruiting company and, depending on what the firm's commission policies were, the recruiter would get a certain % of that money.

2. Retained contracts these days; recruiters are less likely to obtain these contracts, however it is when a company pays a recruiting firm up front or in stages regardless of if they make the placement. It is unlikely that a firm would be retained to get recent college graduates.

3. Guarantees recruiters almost always give their clients guarantees. These guarantees, more or less, are a form of risk management so the employer does not have a job applicant leave and is left with a hefty bill. The industry standard guarantee is 90 days prorated on a 30/60/90 days basis. Prorated guarantee explained:

Let's assume, to make it easy mathematically, that the recruiter is charging 20% of the base salary and is working on a 30/60/90 pro-rated guarantee. So, if your base salary is $30,000, then the total fee the recruiter would receive is $6,000. With the aforementioned guarantee, the payment schedule would be as follows: $2,000 after you were at the company for 30 days, the second $2,000 after you were at the company for 60 days, and the final $2,000 after you were at the company for 90 days.

Common sayings that recruiters use to manipulate recent college grads:

1. "Do this favor for me"; this is how recruiters will, in an indirect manner, tell you that if you go to a job interview, then they will still work with you. In return, ask them for a favor. Politely request that they listen to the dial tone for a while. If you say it in a dry manner, there is a chance that they will for a few seconds. Not a bad trick.

2. "This company is the best"; if the company was really the best, they would not be going through a recruiter for their recent college graduate hires. Companies like Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs never have to use recruiters for recent college graduates. Dig deeper with this statement, quickly go to and ask the recruiter what the company's revenue was the past year.

3. "We have an exclusive on this job"; this means that they have a "retained contract." This may or may not be true. However there is no reason to announce this to everybody. More likely than not, I would be skeptical. First, ask them if they have a "retained contract." Then, to see if this is true, do your research. Look at all the career boards such as Monster or Hotjobs and see how many postings there are. Again, refer to the "What I should not do to a recruiter" section as, in every case (no exceptions) it is unethical to circumvent a recruiter.

Red lights:

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About Ken Sundheim: 31 year-old business owner of an executive search firm by the name of KAS Placement based in New York City. KAS Placement was started in 2005 from studio apartment by the CEO and now has clients from over 30 countries in 100 different industries . As a business writer, Ken's articles have been syndicated or published in:,,,, (more...)

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Personally, although it sounds ironic, I do not fe... by Ken Sundheim on Monday, Jul 12, 2010 at 9:32:38 AM