Research recruiter policies

According to top Canadian executive recruiters, while there is a shortage of talented senior executives in the marketplace, a call from a recruiter may or may not result in a dream job, depending on what questions you ask.

One of the most important questions is whether the recruiter is working on a contingency basis (paid after filling the position) or on retainer, when the recruiter is paid a fee up front.

"There (are) thousands and thousands of so-called executive recruiters out there in the marketplace, "says Jay Rosenzweig, of the Toronto-based executive recruiters Rosenzweig & Company. "It's not difficult to hang up your shingle, but it's very difficult to break into the retainer world and establish the kind of credibility such that you're able to charge up front to do a particular assignment typically on an exclusive basis."

If the recruiter has not been retained, just working on a contingency basis, it's possible he or she is only on a fishing expedition and there isn't really a job.