I was a contingency recruiter for three years. It is a “follow the money business” model. My job was to fill an open position for the client. It was not about finding a job for you.    

  • The client company tried to fill a position by themselves but couldn’t find the right person.    
  • A staffing firm such as Robert Half (where I worked) was engaged to start a search and find a qualified candidate who would accept a job offer.   
  • The company paid an agency fee that varied, but that was usually around 20% to 35%. So for a starting salary of $100K, the fee would be between $20K and $35K.
Irene Marshall - Tip Call Out -What does a contingency recruiter do

Robert Half kept the majority of the fee, but I got a commission for each deal that I could close.

Here was my basic role:
  • I identified four or five people who were interested, and I knew they were very well qualified. Each candidate had been interviewed by myself or other recruiters on my team.  
  • One-half-hour screening interviews took place in the Robert Half office. 
  • Then I talked with the hiring manager and discussed the strong and weak points for each candidate. I could not favor one candidate over another but had to remain neutral.
  • Then two candidates would go to the company’s onsite location and have other interviews there. Today those interviews would likely take place with a service such as Zoom. 
  • I performed background checks and obtained references.   
  • Negotiated for full compensation, including salary, on behalf of the candidate.   
  • I wrote offer letters and got an acceptance. 

I got tired of working on contingency even though I loved the work. So in 2003, I resigned and started my own business as a professional resume writer and coach.

That experience and training as a recruiter became the foundation of all of the writing and coaching that I do now.


If you have a resume you would like to discuss, there is no charge for a consultation. Go to this link, and it will take you to my scheduler and will also be able to upload your resume to discuss.