I want to cut out the middlemen and work C2C for future contracts, but rarely see C2C positions posted. However there's no shortage of contract jobs from recruitment agencies and I would like to figure out how these agencies are finding these jobs. I've seen elsewhere on this site that their cut is not that much, which is not true in most cases. I've worked 2 jobs at S&P 500 companies where I later found out the recruitment agencies fee was more than 100% of my salary. For these 2 positions their cut came out to ~250k over a little over 2 years.

Is there a central place where recruiters are sourcing contracting positions?

Are they simply cold outreaching to hiring managers?

Are companies actually providing the jobs directly to these companies that aren't available otherwise? If they are, do you know why companies are willing to hire employees this way?

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    In my experience it's the last two. Recruitment agencies will cold-call companies to see if they have any positions, and companies will use recruitment agencies to look for candidates (it gives them more exposure, a higher candidate pool, and sometimes they can use the recruitment agency to vet candidates).
    – user25730
    Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 22:45
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    @user25730: That looks like an Answer to me. (Why do companies sometimes hire this way? Because it's sometimes cheaper for them if they hire someone else to do the initial screening. Same reason they hire contractors for other transient tasks.)
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 4:03
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    For what it's worth, I lost all belief in recruiters when, two years out of college, one claimed that I had been recommended for a CTO position. "Pull the other one, mate; it's got bells on." If they're cold calling you, assume they're lying until and unless they give you exceptionally good reason to believe otherwise -- telling you exactly who recommended you for this position, for example, and being able to explain why the recommendation was justified. Otherwise, threaten them with legal action for unsolicited calls to a Do Not Call number...
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 14, 2023 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


I receive about 1-2 calls per week from agencies looking to place staff in my company. This leads me to the following thoughts with regard to your question.

The profiles proposed by agencies are often very similar to those for which a position is open on our company website. I imagine their thinking is: company X hasn't been able to find anyone for several weeks, so I'm going to offer them someone who fits the profile. In my company, we're often reluctant to hire staff in this way, because after the assignment, the employee and the experience gained leave the company.

To answer your questions:

  • central place where recruiters source their positions? Probably not, but recruiters have internal databases fed by job portals
  • Are they simply cold outreaching to hiring managers? on the basis of jobs posted on the company website
  • Are companies actually providing the jobs directly to these companies that aren't available otherwise? Perhaps for short-term assignments where maintaining know-how is not essential
  • If they are, do you know why companies are willing to hire employees this way? Probably in emergency case, when hiring quickly "at all costs" is needed

Unless you are well connected, this "cut out the middleman" notion is not really that smart. Recruiters burn through hordes of hungry fresh college grads to find opportunities. Most of them have a 95% chance of not lasting even three months on the job if they can't connect a potential contractor with a gig. I have literally spoken to hundreds of them during my career, doing mostly contract work. They are invaluable, even though they're sometimes a PITA to work with.

Marketing your business on your own can take up your time, and your money. It seems you're more concerned about the bill rate/markup than anything else in the scenario of working with recruiters. Let that go, my friend, and here's why. Even if you are contracted directly with a business, they are still indirectly marking up the cost of your labor and including that cost in the price of the goods and services they offer. Ultimately, you can't control that. It just makes no sense to be greedy. You have to take some, and leave some.

When you talk to these recruiters and they start demanding management references during the initial call, THAT'S how they're finding new business!!! I always defer until after an interview has been set up with a company that's hiring, and tell them that it's valuable info that I'm not giving away for free.

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    I've spoken to close to a hundred recruiters in the last 4 months and over 1000 in my career and have had no less than 3 reach out to me every weeek for the last 6 years. I'm not being greedy by wanting to keep the money that the companies I'm working for are paying for my labor. A recruiter placing me in a job is not worth half my billable rate, that's the recruiting agencies being greedy, they've captured a market and are stealing half the value workers while providing minimal value Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 7:47

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