Recruiters are engaged by companies seeking professionals at high levels, mostly for key positions in management. Recruiters start by working with the decision maker to define the position the company wants to fill: the functions of the job, its the position in the organization, and the kinds of problems the candidate will face. A key is
relevant personality characteristics including those that ensure a compatible fit with the company. Recruiters then write a job description covering all these factors, which they get approved by management.

Then guided by the job description, recruiters develop a pool of candidates from their extensive computer files, their network, advertising, and individual applications. They phone executives holding similar positions to ask for recommendations, often with the possibility that the executive contacted could be a candidate.

The recruiter’s fee is usually about 20 to 30 percent of the annual salary for the executive jobs, somewhat less for lower-level jobs, for which there are more assignments. In general, executive recruiters don’t interview unsolicited applicants unless they’re candidates for a current assignment or unless they have a strong background in a field the recruiter specializes in.

Occasionally the recruiter specializing in lower-level searches is paid by the successful applicant. When the hiring company doesn’t pay, usually it’s because it has placed the search request with several recruiters who compete against each other.

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