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Retained Executive Search Fees - Ask the Expert, Career Coach Liz Rubin

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Ask The Expert

October: Executive Search Fees
This Month's Career Expert: Liz Rubin

Liz Rubin - Executive Search Expert
Elizabeth Rubin,
Career Advisor


Liz Rubin has 20 years of professional experience in the areas of Executive Search, Government, Mental Health Counseling and Career Management. As a Certified Executive Coach, Ms. Rubin has coached professionals in Fortune 500 business corporations and major philanthropic organizations.

Q. How does the relationship between a job searcher and a professional search agent work? I have identified the name of an agent and have thought of phoning this person but am unsure of how to approach the subject of fees and his relationship with his client companies. Should I expect to pay this agent a consultation fee if I contact him?

A. No, you should NOT expect to pay this agent a consultation fee. Most search firms that are retained, pay the company a fee based on the first year compensation that is usually 30% to 33%. Companies pay for a slate of high level candidates and the research and advisory services that accompanies providing this caliber of executives. Contingency firms on the other hand, provide candidates to the company and get paid upon the successful hiring. In either case, the candidate does not pay any fee to either firm. There are online membership organizations which may advertise positions but to be eligible to submit your candidacy, you have to be a member. You would normally pay a fee for such services.

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