Finder’s Fees or Good Karma?

On rare occasion I get asked for a finder’s fee for being referred to a candidate in the marketplace.  Just for the record I have never paid a finder’s fee but have been known to send an appropriate “thank you” to folks who assist me in a search.

I always found the request for a finder’s fee a bit odd.  The people I usually ask for a referral were working with me as a candidate at some point.  I never charged them for the exclusive and confidential positions I introduced them to.  Why would they charge me a fee for the introduction to a friend or colleague who they know is open to new opportunities?

This behavior was taken to an extreme level recently.  One individual was actually bold enough to let me know he would only be giving referrals to firm’s that are paying a $2,000 finders fee!  It made me wonder, what if this executives students wanted to introduce his admissions team to friends and family that wanted to enroll at his school but would ONLY make the introduction if a $2,000 finders fee was offered for each student.  Would he pay it?  Could he ethically or legally?

I am certainly not a saint but do believe there is something to be said for good Karma.  If someone is going to let a finder’s fee prevent them from helping a friend or colleague find a new position I am left to question their intentions.  Doesn’t helping someone pay back much larger dividends?  Would you actually keep your friend or colleague from discovering these opportunities because you couldn’t get paid?

The truth is the finder’s fees you get from a search firm are worth a lot more than $2,000.   At some point, you will need a good recruiter.  They will take care of you and any referral you give them.  The quid pro quo with any good recruiter is their network, their opportunities, and they are there for you whenever you need them; this is much more valuable than an individual finder’s fee.

A great recruiter and trainer Danny Cahill said it best: “Finder’s fees are quid
amateur pro, good recruiter’s are quid pro quo.”  Only you know if a Finder’s Fee or Good Karma will yield you a better return.
 

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