Applying for a position with a recruiter should never cost you a dime. In fact, if you are ever asked for some sort of payment to submit a job application with a recruiter or with a company, don’t waste your time or money; I simply suggest running the other way.
Third party or agency recruiters get paid a fee by companies for the mandates they fill. There are different kinds of agreements; some are retained searches and some are not, but there is never an obligation for the candidate to pay anything to the recruiter. This is why you may hear from some recruiters that their clients are the companies, not the candidates, because the companies are the ones who pay us. As a candidate, the application process should be a totally free service for you. This is also why we are hired by companies to find the talent on their behalf and not by candidates to find them a job.
Recruiters see dozens of CVs every day; they should know what their clients are looking for and what makes the hiring managers tick. Personally, if I feel that your CV needs work, I will tell you. I will make suggestions about what you should change or add in order to help you shine and get the job. When necessary, I will make suggestions on format changes, added skills and countless other things. If there are minor changes, I may discuss them with you when we meet and make the changes on your CV as we discuss them. If there are major changes to be done, or a complete re-write, I advise you and expect you to make the changes yourself. It’s up to you to choose to follow what I have advised or not, but the recommendations I make are based on my industry knowledge and with your best interest in mind.
Occasionally I’m approached by a candidate who has never done a CV before – yes, this actually happens. Sometimes they are entry-level and not sure where to start, sometimes they are very senior and have been in the same company for years. I will offer them templates to try to get them started or refer them to professional CV services. You will be expected to pay for the professional service, but I do not charge anything.
If you are looking for a job, there are some services you may want to invest in such as: having your CV done by a professional, meeting with a career/life coach, talking to an image consultant and upgrading your LinkedIn account. All these could be worthwhile investments that could continue to pay off in the future. Personally, I don’t think recruiters have a place offering you these services in exchange for a fee. We invest in you because we want to place you, and by placing you we make our commission.