I have a large network and am frequently asked for referrals by recruiters who seem oblivious to the fact that I make my living with placements too. Is it reasonable to expect a fee split when I don’t know the person asking?
When I was young my grandmother’s next door neighbor, Mr. Moore, kept a sign posted by his door that said “I don’t buy from strangers. Expect to stay a while.” I asked him once if that was a nice way of saying he was lonely and wanted people to visit; he laughed and said it just meant that he was retired and preferred to spend time more than money on people he didn’t know.
Of course you’re reasonable to expect payment for a service you’d charge for under any other circumstances. But give me a break: I also think that the recruiter asking for help may be doing what recruiters do – networking for names. There are no laws broken in the asking, and in life we don’t get what we don’t ask for, right?
Still, there’s a big difference between asking for a favor and being a freeloader. The best way I know to sort out the difference is to set your own expectations up front, just like Mr. Moore did with strangers at his door. “I take a 50% split of the fee for placements made from my referrals, and I will gladly send you my standard agreement so we can get down to business.” Professional recruiters will step up to the plate, and freeloaders will move on to an easier target.
In my day job, I’m the Head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here
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