0% Risk to You – 100% Risk to Us – It Is Time For a New Approach to Recruitment.

My problem is I am tired of being beaten up on every fee!

Do you know what?

We do a great job at recruiting Treasury professionals. I work in a niche industry that means lower volumes of activity so we don’t benefit from the repeat assignments and volume of positions that many generalist recruiters have access to.

That makes it harder but I love treasury recruitment and the intellectual challenge makes it more interesting!

We target candidates and clients and that costs us research time, effort and money. That has to be paid for us to give a great service and this is what we want to do!

We participate in treasury conferences in Europe and the USA this costs us money and subsequently is a real pressure when we are being asked to flex our fees.

Yet I am constantly being asked by HR and procurement departments to agree to 18%, 15% maybe 12% fees….

“Mike our other guys on our PSL have agreed to work at cheap rates.

You are at 30% for the senior roles and 25% for the junior roles”

Yes I am, as that is what it costs us to recruit people for you!

Why don’t you give the role to the guys on your PSL at 15% and see how they get on?

There’s usually a reason they are cheap…

They will look for the next couple of months or so and they may get lucky and find one or two candidates.

Good luck to them, they will need it.

After 6 to 8 weeks they have not produced a successful result!

I get the call “Mike I want you to do a search for us”

“OOOOKAYYYY” I say with trepidation knowing what’s coming next…..

“Mike we would love to give you a crack at the search!”


BUT we want you to match the fees of those guys who have produced no results for the past 8 weeks….


Yep we still want you to work on a contingent basis where all the risk lies with you.


Mike I want you to invest your time and money in doing the search with no guarantee of revenue in the process but don’t worry zero cost and zero commitment from us.

Yep 100% risk to you and 0% to us to use your services.

Oh and by the way you should know you will be going into a “scorched earth” Treasury Recruitment market where a series of generalist recruiters have blanketed the market, mis-sold the role, some of them can barely spell the word treasury let alone recruit for it.

If there was someone nearly suitable they have probably decided that as you are using a rubbish agency to recruit you’re not serious about treasury anyway and they have been turned off to the role by the recruiter.

Mike, good luck with the role because you are going to need it!

Okay this sounds like another of my RANTS.

Actually not quite because I have THREE YES THREE SOLUTIONS!


Client A – “Mike I will pay you the full 25% or 30% fee for a full search that I am instructing you on but it is a “NO-WIN, NO FEE contingent basis”.

I am prepared to pay you a full fee if you find me the right person.

If you don’t we won’t pay you.

Mike you do the work; you take the risk BUT for a FULL FEE!

“Mike if you recruit my next £150,000 Treasurer they should be worth that fee if they can’t save me that money in:

  • bank fees and refinancing
  • savings through a new Treasury management system
  • motivating the team and getting much more out of them in the first maybe three, six or at least within the first twelve months

Then probably I won’t want to recruit that person anyway!

No win, no fee but at a full fee if you find that person for us.”



Client B – “Mike, let’s de-risk this process for both sides and I will retain you to find me a Treasury person but I would appreciate some flexibility on the fee as I am committing exclusively to you. What can we do? Can we work together on this?”

I am able to flex on the fee as you are trusting in me by retaining me and I will be able to dedicate time and paid research resource to the search.

I believe I can recruit the role and I want to work on it with you.

I will charge you one third of what the estimated fee will be at the beginning.

You will be paying for my time.

Will I make loads of profit from the Retainer fee? No.

In most cases we barely break even or make a profit until a Shortlist fee is paid, the profit for my business is in the Completion fee.

We agree that I will charge you your Shortlist fee when I give you a shortlist that you love. When the person starts I charge you the Completion fee.

If my shortlist fails I don’t charge you, I find you more suitable treasury professionals.

If the person doesn’t start I don’t charge you I go back to a shortlist stage and find more great candidates.

Mmmmm, Retained Search – Mike what’s your record?

I have a 100% record of Retained searches over the past 20 years.

Wow, why? Well it’s in the record!

Because it’s 100%…..

Sorry what does that mean to me as a client?

That means I know you will work and work and work to find you the right person?

Have I lost money working on retained searches in the past?

Yes – I have!


Because I have never failed over the past 20 years and I don’t intend to start NOW!

I haven’t failed yet so I want to keep that 100% record.

Hang on Mike, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, back up the truck.

I am still nervous – you have said you will charge me;

1/3rd at the beginning as a Retainer

1/3rd at the beginning as a Shortlist

1/3rd at the beginning as a Completion

My fingers are still blistered I have been burnt by less reliable recruiters in the past. We are still nervous we retained recruiters and they did not deliver results.

Horrible recruiters who charged me and virtually ran off with my cash?

Don’t worry!!!

How about we combine both approaches and meet in the middle?


As before I will charge you a retainer, this will pay for some of my time.

1/3rd at the beginning as a Retainer

2/3rd’s at the beginning as a Completion

The overall fee will be lower than the CONTINENT APPROACH in total where I take all the risk but higher than my RETAINED SEARCH fee as the risk is higher.

We meet in the middle.

I only charge you the final 2/3rd’s of the fee upon completion of the assignment i.e. if I don’t recruit the role I am going to lose money.

I am betting on the fact that I can find you that right person.

If I don’t recruit the role I will lose money.

You will have paid for some of my time and not been burnt in the process.

I have created what I believe is a “win-win situation” for both you as a client and me as recruiter.

Believe me I am incentivised to recruit the role – I’m not in business to lose money.

I hope this diatribe didn’t put you to sleep rather it gave you an insight into what we do for our clients and if you are a candidate you gained an insight into the world we live in and recruit within.

Maybe next time you are recruiting we can have a sensible open chat about what approach suits you best? I want to recruit your next Treasury professional. That is why I am here!

If you are a potential candidate – call me!

I’ve started recording the new video blogs for www.TreasuryTV.com as well so look out for them.

As always you may have further questions – call me! I would love to help!

2017-10-05T15:04:24+00:00 January 7th, 2016|