I get asked by candidates quite often if they can pay me to help them find their next job. I tell those candidates that 99% of recruiters (including myself) are paid by the client when we make a placement. Companies come to a specific recruiter and engage his or her services to recruit specific talent to fill specific roles. Generally, recruiters do not work as “talent agents” to represent individual candidates to “shop” them around to various companies. I will never accept money from a candidate in order to help them find a role. I don’t feel that it is morally right to do this.
However, there are firms out there that will charge candidates really good money to represent them in their job search. Under the guise of “Career Counseling”, these firms will help candidates put together a resume, coach them on how to interview, and then tell the candidates that they will market their resume to various companies and recruiters. There is a substantial fee for all this so-called service. In addition, these firms generally get the candidates to sign an agreement that the candidate will owe a certain additional fee to the Career Counseling company if the candidate finds a job, whether the Career Counseling firm helps makes the placement or not.
There is something wrong about this business model where you lead the candidate on to think that your firm will open up doors for them and never do.
My advice to candidates is NEVER pay anyone to help you find your next job. It may be OK to pay someone a small fee to assist you to prepare and/or update your resume, but most recruiters that I know, will give advice to candidates for free. In addition, there are a lot of free templates online that a candidate can use to prepare their resume.