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Career Salaries: Recruiting for a Living


Name: Tricia Trimble
Job Title: Recruiter
Where: Los Angeles, CA
Employer: Various Firms
Years of Experience: 9
Education: BS Accounting from Santa Clara University, CPA Certification
Salary: Commission based recruiter – typically $100K and up

Career Salaries: Recruiting for a Living

Recruiting, or “head hunting” as it’s sometimes called, is a special niche in human resources. Instead of the candidate searching for the company, the company searches for the candidate. They do this by hiring a recruiting firm or an independent recruiter. If you enjoy articles about starting a new career, salary negotiation, recruitment and selection, recruiter career salaries or online employment recruiters, keep reading!

In this salary story, we meet Tricia Trimble, an independent recruiter who gives us the inside scoop on headhunters, changing careers, salaries, interview and resume tips, starting a recruiter career and recruiter career salaries. Tricia is one of the many executive recruiters California will keep busy in 2007, according to the OC Register. Before you leap into this profession and Google “head hunter Beverly Hills,” read what this down-to-earth gal has to say about recruiter career salaries and how to become an executive recruiter.

Recruiter Job Description:

As a recruiter, I develop business with a wide range of clients including Fortune 500 and start-up companies through cold calling and developing relationships with hiring managers. I also negotiate fees with clients and prepare appropriate fee agreements for client signature. I cold call, network with, and recruit candidates for job openings. Part of my job as a recruiter is to match candidates to current and new job openings and schedule interviews when appropriate.

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Why did you choose a recruiter career and what were your career steps?

I graduated with a degree in accounting from Santa Clara University and then worked for KPMG Peat Marwick (San Jose office) for 2 years until I completed my CPA. I was then recruited to work for the internal audit department at Sony Corporation of America in Los Angeles. After working as an auditor for nearly 3 years, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term.

I went to see a recruiter about finding a new position that utilized my accounting knowledge, but was more “in-line” with my personality. The recruiter who interviewed me proceeded to recruit me to be a recruiter for accounting and finance roles. I thought the job sounded exciting and much more in line with my personality, so I took a chance and tried it out. It was the best career move I ever made!

What do you like about working as a recruiter?

The thing I like most about being a recruiter is the interaction with people. Recruiting is a “people-business.” It is quite fun meeting new people, learning what they do and helping them find new positions. The other thing I like about being a recruiter is that you are paid on commission so the more effort you put in, the more money you can make. The sky is the limit.

What is the most challenging part of a recruiter career?

When people want you to help find them a new job that is in an area that they don’t already have experience (i.e. a person with accounting experience wants you to find them a finance job), that is challenging. Most companies hire recruiters to find them qualified candidates who have actual “hands-on” experience doing the job. The other challenging part of the job is managing salary expectations – candidates usually want to be paid more and companies usually want to pay less.

Can you recall any memorable or funny moments from your recruiter career?

I’ll never forget the time when I went to interview a candidate and he sat in the interviewer chair. It’s pretty obvious which chair is for the interviewee and which chair is for the interviewer, so it was pretty clear that it was a “power” thing. I simply said, “You’re in my seat.” and got him to move. Let’s just say, I was pretty careful when I sent him out on interviews with our clients.

What are some little known resume and/or interview tips that people should know?

If there is a time gap in your employment history, you should write your chronological resume in years as opposed to months & years, so you don’t bring attention to the time gaps. Another important point is to always be able to answer the question, “Why did you leave your previous position?” with a positive spin and try not to say anything negative about any previous employer.

What is the range of recruiter career salaries?

Recruiters are paid on commission, so recruiter career salaries are wide open. Usually, people have a draw which is about $3k a month and then you get paid more if you exceed your quota. If you are good at what you do, you can easily make in the six digit salary range.

Here’s an example: If you negotiate a 20% fee with a company and you place an accountant with them for $40K, then the recruiting firm receives $8K for the deal. Commission applies to recruiting firms. If you are an independent, then you get paid whatever you negotiate.

As an independent recruiter, do you have time to pursue other interests?

I’m a beauty product junky and love researching new skin care and beauty products. After taking several advanced skincare classes and getting my esthetician license, I decided to start my own beauty website ( with the goal of promoting inner and outer beauty. My website offers a diverse selection of organic products, herbal supplements, and homeopathic remedies.

Does your salary have inner and outer beauty?  Find out with our salary calculator.

Matt Schneider
Read more from Matt

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can a reruiter work for two consultancy at same time one night shift and one in day

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