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Is it really common for recruiters to charge the job seeker?

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Chrissy118
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Is it really common for recruiters to charge the job seeker?

Postby Chrissy118 » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 12:30 am

Hi! I'm in the late stages in the recruitment process with a well-known company (white collar, banking job) which was referred to me by a small recruitment agency.

I was told by the agency that I will be charged 1 month's salary if I am hired by the bank. This is new to me, as I have never encountered a recruiter/headhunter who charges the job seeker for a successful referral - or maybe I just have not encountered that many recruiters yet.

Anyone with similar experience? Is it a common practice among some recruiters to charge a job seeker for a successful placement? I know that for some blue-collared jobs, it is being done. Is it also an acceptable practice for white collared jobs?

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Postby nakatago » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 12:51 am

Unless you hired them or you agreed to do so earlier, I call shenanigans.

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Postby jpatokal » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 11:46 am

I vaguely seem to recall that it's actually illegal for employment agencies to charge jobseekers in Singapore? Certainly the standard practice is that the hiring company pays any commissions, and I'd be very suspicious of any agency that wants your money. You might want to gently raise the issue the next time you meet the potential employer...?
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 06 Feb 2010 12:50 pm

Correct, and as an HR Manager with 16 years experience in recruitment and HR management I can vouch for that. However, I've spend the last hour trying to find it in print online but have not been successful. However, this site make oblique reference to the fact that it is the company that pays the recruitment fees.

However, if you are from a third world country like Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines or Malaysia, then local recruiters there, working hand in hand with slime-ball recruiters here (primarily in the Work Permit level of recruitment) charge the job seeker huge amounts of Fees and then split it with the local recruiter here (highly illegal - but what the foreign recruiter does in their country, there is nothing that Singapore can do except advise against it.

So, if you are being charged a recruitment fee by a local Singapore recruitment agency, report them to MOM after you get you job and work visa. This will get rid of another bad apple. If it's a foreign agency (or possibly an overseas subsidiary of the Singapore one) then there is not too much you can do.

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Postby Chrissy118 » Sun, 07 Feb 2010 1:49 am

Hi - it's actually a local agency, and I am already based here in Singapore. Do you know where this info can be verified? Am thinking of calling up MoM to ask but am not sure whether they cover recruitment agencies as well.

Charging the job seeker for a successful job placement does sound fishy to me as well. But curiously enough, this agency has already been able to secure at least 2 interviews with the company for me (and it's with a big-name bank at that) so it certainly looks like they are a legit recruiter. I suppose it could be possible this recruiter is charging the employing company a lower rate in order to be more competitive than other recruiters, and charging me in order to make up for that "discount."

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Postby madura » Wed, 17 Mar 2010 2:40 pm

One of the well-known employment agencies (R** E**) have been charging local job seekers $50 for each successful referral. They have been doing that for a really long time, hence I had assumed that this practice is legit?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Mar 2010 6:39 pm

Depending on how it's coached. It's probably being shown as an administration charge. You can bet it's not being show as a recruitment fee though. As I mentioned somewhere else, it used to be around 15 to 20 bucks but you were theoretically supposed to charge all candidates who walked in and registered with your agency. 50 bucks is no big deal. We are talking about is recruitment fees that can amount to upwards of 15% of per annum as a recruitment fee that payable it the candidate is successfully placed.

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Postby carteki » Thu, 18 Mar 2010 12:07 pm

Chrissy118 wrote:Hi - it's actually a local agency, and I am already based here in Singapore. Do you know where this info can be verified? Am thinking of calling up MoM to ask but am not sure whether they cover recruitment agencies as well.

Charging the job seeker for a successful job placement does sound fishy to me as well. But curiously enough, this agency has already been able to secure at least 2 interviews with the company for me (and it's with a big-name bank at that) so it certainly looks like they are a legit recruiter. I suppose it could be possible this recruiter is charging the employing company a lower rate in order to be more competitive than other recruiters, and charging me in order to make up for that "discount."


Since you've met the person who is hiring you (or when salary discussions come up) it may be worth mentioning that they are charging you this fee and are they aware of it. If this is a problem with them perhaps they'll be willing to "take the recruiter out of the picture". My thoughts.

As a CYA Don't sign anything that says you'll pay any money to the recruiter - at least then there is nothing in writing (although keep any requests to do so as proof). All you should be signing is the agreement of employment with the COMPANY.


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