Searching for a job is stressful, especially when the process is taking longer than you would like. It can be tempting to fall prey to what looks like a quick fix, but what may actually be a waste of time and money – paying an upfront fee to a recruiter.
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Some recruiters ask for payment before they will work with you – fees that can climb as high as $10,000. While there are worthy fee-based services that can help job-seekers hone their resume and refine their interview skills, these fees are nominal compared to the thousands charged by some recruiters.
Before paying a fee, consider all of the steps in an interview process and all of the people involved. At each step – from the phone interview, onsite interview, second interview, the job offer, and salary negotiations – there is potential for something to go wrong. Once a recruiter has his fee, he has little incentive to help you successfully negotiate each step of the process.
Keep in mind also that you are not the only candidate the recruiter represents. He may have several qualified candidates going for the same job. It is in the recruiter’s best interest to keep as many candidates in the running as long as possible. While going through a full interview process is a great learning experience, it can be a costly one if your name was never at the top of the client’s list and you have already forked over the fee.
Another thing to avoid are companies that charge thousands of dollars for access to job databases they claim no one else has or for access to what they call “hidden markets.” Most, if not all of the job listings in subscription-based databases are available without paying a fee. Further, the “hidden markets” these companies claim to have access to simply do not exist. It defies common sense to believe that reputable companies would list job openings exclusively with a firm that grants access to the job listings to anyone who wishes to pay the $5,000 to $7,000 fee.