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There are two types of recruiters - Retained and Contingency. In today's economy companies are unlikely to use a contingency firm because so many candidates are available, but some still do. Resources on locating recruiters are provided at the bottom of this page.

Retained firms

  • Represent employer clients to locate senior personnel, (usually at salaries above $125,000) or positions where talent is scarce and demand is high - on an exclusive basis

  • Generally costs more than a contingency firm including a minimum payment or retainer for services

  • They take time to produce a finely detailed job description and spend time with the hiring manager

  • Attempt to raid a competitor for the candidates as well as look through their own database

  • Conduct preliminary interviews to filter in candidates that best fit the job description

  • Performs reference checks

  • Help in salary negotiations

  • Handles 4 or 5 job openings at any one time

  • Advantages: Search is confidential and the hiring manager will save internal resources

Contingency firms are prospectors.

  • The prospectors are the individual recruiters, not their company.

  • They deal with job seekers below the $100K range generally, although there are some that handle more senior positions because of personal relationships with the client.

  • Unlike retained recruiters, clients pay only if they hire the candidate - usually 30% of first year earnings.

  • Compete with other firms for the same positions

  • Largely performs his work over the phone - very little face to face

  • Each recruiter may handle over 20 jobs at any time and submit numerous candidates to increase probability of a hit

Recruiter lists:

Lists of local recruiters that you can download (always virus check downloads). These are not comprehensive but the data was verified when it was created.

Right Click to download these Excel spreadsheets to your computer:

Recruiter ratings based on input of the WIND North IT guerilla group. ActonNetworkers
makes no judgment on the opinions expressed.

Right Click to download these Excel spreadsheets to your computer:

  • WIND extract good bad spreadsheet
    (Mostly contingency firms. Rates recruiters (Good/Bad) based on the experience of a WIND guerilla group: WIND = "Wednesday is Networking Day" See Chapter 5.1)

Purchase: (This is not an endorsement) For the most comprehensive recruiter database see

Kennedy publishes a comprehensive book of executive and contingency recruiters for the USA. You can buy that, A CD ROM and a bunch of other collateral material. Also, when you link to this page you'll see you can select and download recruiters based on search criteria ready for mail merge etc. If you're in to a mass mailing buy the CD or use this Internet service.

Library: You should be able to locate their directory at your local library for free.

Free recruiter resources:

  • No mail merge or download capability. It allows you to search by specialty, geography and firm type among other criteria. Delivers an excellent overview of each firm including a biography, specialties and personnel.

  • No mail merge or download capability. Minimal search criteria (Function and geography only)

  • Exactly the same as above, just a different intro page.

  • A local association of excellent contingency (and some retained) firms is the Massachusetts Professional Placement Consultants.