Scott Daniels, the CFO of AdOne, a New York City-based company that specializes in Internet classified advertisements, knows that fast-growing young companies such as his can scarcely afford the $15,000 or $20,000 hit they take each time they hire an executive recruiter to find new staffers. "I look for any way I can to reduce that expense, because the way we've been growing, it can be overwhelming to contemplate fees for five or six new hires."

Two tips from Daniels: "If I'm making multiple hires and I absolutely must use a recruiter, I always try to negotiate a big discount. Or I try to cut a deal where I'll give the recruiter a small piece of equity if he or she helps with an important hire." Another approach: "If I can, I'll avoid recruiters entirely, by calling friends in the industry and asking them for leads to good people they weren't able to hire. That's how I found our new controller."

This article was adapted from material that first appeared in Inc. magazine in July 1999.