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Career Advice

Career Advice For Recruiters: Industry Outlook & Job Tips

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

September 3, 2010

Hi Hank,

I've recently been offered a chance to work with a 3rd party recruiter representing a large investment bank.  They cold call and place stock brokers.  My commission would be 30% of the firm's fee, 8% of the broker's trailing 12 months (I think).

They promised $300/week draw for starters and say $100K is possible within 3 years.  Hours are M-F 7:30-4:30 with major holidays and no benefits.  It's a small start-up of about 7 people and growing.

I have another opportunity to make $40K at a regular, steady job with benefits but not much chance to increase pay other than the regular yearly raise.  I have a 2-year-old to support and want to make a good life for us and feel the recruiter position offers a chance to move ahead but at a risk.

  • What is it like being a 3rd party recruiter?
  • What is the outlook for this market, specifically recruiting stock brokers, in the financial services industry?
  • What tips or advice can you offer?

Thank you,



Hi Greg,

Great questions. The fact I started my recruiting career as a 3rd party recruiter 31 years ago gives me some experience so here it goes:

What is it like being a 3rd party recruiter?

3rd Party recruiting can be a highly rewarding sales/marketing career. Like any career you get out what you put into the work. Most don't realize recruiting is a bi-directional consultative sales process with humans at both ends of the decision making process. And the influencers and true decision makers at either end are not always easily known or available.

It's about understanding a job position, culture, fit, timing and matching with the appropriate qualified talent all while presenting a compelling description of the job that convinces the talent to be available in the time your client company needs - whew! And until you learn how to speak to people and guide them through the recruitment/hiring process one doesn't have a great deal of control.

So what is it like? To me it is a blast, I love it. I have recruited all over the world, I meet deeply interesting people, I learn about great businesses and the latest technologies. But know, it took me a long time to get to this place. The successful recruiters I know like adventure, are not fearful of learning, and like to do what others can't then. They are project motivated and will work to completion.

What is the outlook for this market, specifically recruiting stock brokers, in the financial services industry?

If our government continues to favor onerous legislation on businesses, the jobs market will not be strong. If they don't, the market will be OK. Wall Street was hiring like crazy a few months ago as the market sensed a slowdown in the current administration's legislative activities. But with the recent financial regulations bill and continued high unemployment the market has swung the other way. If we vote in fiscally conservative candidates in November and the current agenda slows down the market should react favorably. And if taxes are not raised as they are expected to the market may take off. Sadly, our markets are too closely tied to politics versus supply and demand economics.

What tips or advice can you offer?

Now, I am going to make a guess that the positions you have been asked to recruit for are compensated as highly commissioned sales positions. And if this is the case, the company has expectations of a higher % of turnover. I would ask the question: how many of your placements will make the trailing 12 months? Which leads to the question: when will you be paid for finding and placing the talent? Find out.

I suggest you interview with 1 or 2 other recruitment firms, the more the better. There are a number of business models in the recruitment market and learning as much as you can will help with your decision. I came from the old school model. In 1979 the market was much like it is today, high unemployment and in addition had very high interest rates resulting in a tough employment market. And get this, I started on straight commission. We had to find the job, convince the company to pay our fee, recruit a list of candidates, present and manage the process through to close. A number of recruiters do it the same way today and I believe learning by working both sides of the equation is the best and fastest way to learn the business. Not easy, but can be highly rewarding and can be a great career if you stick with it. BTW: My goal is to recruit until I'm 70, then I'll look back on a rich 50 year career dedicated to my craft.

Thanks and good luck,