How Much Does a Recruiter Cost?

When deciding whether or not to pay for recruiter services, it is very helpful to know how much a recruiter costs, especially when weighed against the savings from hiring internally through your company’s own HR department or the added expenses from hiring the wrong person. Recruiter costs vary based on several factors, including the type of agency (retained or contingent) and your company’s specific recruiting needs. Normal rates for recruiting services range between 20–30% of the candidate’s first year overall salary.

The most significant factor to consider in determining recruiter services costs is the salary to be paid to the newly hired employee, as recruiter’ fees are nearly always a fixed percentage of salary. Costs also vary according to the number of positions to be filled and whether they are permanent or temporary. For high volume assignments, recruiting agencies often charge less per hire.

Recruiter services costs also vary based on whether the position is to be filled in just one location or multiple locations. Searching for candidates in multiple locations, especially across different countries, requires more time and effort, and the fee will reflect that.

Finally, the type of job and the seniority of the role greatly impact the ability of the recruiter to find well-qualified candidates, and these demands also influence cost. For example, finding a Spanish bilingual receptionist in the Miami area is much easier than finding an advanced chemist, fluent in English and German to work in Uruguay. When your company has very specific hiring needs, the pool of potential and available candidates grows smaller, which means that the cost per hire may be slightly higher than the cost of more easily-filled positions.

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