5 Times When Split Fee Recruiting Makes Perfect Sense

Some recruiters bristle at the notion of making split placement. They mistakenly believe that they have to go out of their way to make splits. This is simply not true. Split fee recruiting is a strategic way to generate more revenue on your desk and/or for your agency.

That’s because in the vast majority of cases, split placement opportunities present themselves. There are certain situations that lend themselves to making splits. Once you’re able to recognize those situations (and recognize them quickly), you’re better able to generate revenue for your agency that you would not have done otherwise. However, before we get into the “tall grass,” so to speak, let’s examine this question: what is split fee recruiting?

What is split fee recruiting?

Simply put, split fee recruiting represents an agreed-upon arrangement between two recruiters in which one recruiter supplies the job order and one supplies the candidate in a potential placement situation. After the placement is made and the candidate is working for their new employer, the two recruiters split the placement fee. (And of course, the employer pays that fee.)

In this split placement situation, the recruiter supplying the candidate is called the “exporter.” That’s because the recruiter is basically “exporting” the candidate to the other recruiter for placement at the second recruiter’s client.

Conversely, the recruiter with the job order is called the “importer.” That’s because they’re importing the candidate from the other recruiter with the intention of placing that candidate with their client.

Then the employer who hired the candidate will send a placement check to the job order recruiter (importer). That recruiter will cash the check and then send half of the amount to the candidate recruiter (exporter).

Split fee recruiting rationale

So we’ve set the stage. We’ve identified all of the players involved. We now present five times when split fee recruiting makes sense:

#1—A client gives you a job order outside of your specialty.

This does happen. A client loves the job you’re doing for them so much and they have so much faith in you that they give you a job order that falls outside of your wheel house. After all, if you filled a bunch of other orders for them, why can’t you fill this one, too? Obviously, you don’t want to turn down the order, but then on the other hand, how do you fill it? With the help of another recruiter, that’s how! Another recruiter working within that specialty will have the candidate that your client is seeking. You fill the order, your client is happy, and you’re happy. Everybody is happy.

#2—You have more job orders than you can possibly work.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Until you realize that not only can you not fill them all, but you can’t even give them all attention. They just sit on your desk, collecting dust. You do not fill them when they’re collecting dust. This is when utilizing the time and resources of another recruiter makes sense, even if they work the same specialty as you . . . especially if they work the same specialty as you. Send the job specs and ask them to source candidates. You present them, your client likes them, your client hires them, and once again, everybody is happy.

#3—You can’t find the candidate your client wants to save your life.

You client wants to see another candidate . . . and another one . . . and another. “That last one was great and we really like them, but can we see another one?” Sound familiar? Sometimes, companies just won’t “pull the trigger” until they’ve found the “perfect candidate.” (Even though there is NO such thing as a perfect candidate.) So if they want yet another candidate, send them a candidate from another recruiter. They could have somebody that you don’t have, and that somebody could turn out to be the somebody your client deems is perfect and wants to hire. Your client doesn’t even have to know that you got the candidate from another recruiter. All they need to know is that you provided the solution to their hiring problem. Cue the music and roll the credits.

#4—You have plenty of quality candidates, but not enough job orders.

This is the flip side of #2. Whenever there’s an imbalance on your recruiting desk, regardless of whether it’s on the candidate side or the job order side, making a split placement or two (or three) can help you to rectify that imbalance. In this case, if you have quality candidates and a lack of job orders, not only can you market those candidates to existing clients as a MPC (Most Placeable Candidate), but you can also use them to fill the job orders of other recruiters and keep making placements. If your clients don’t want to create a position to hire your MPC, then perhaps another company represented by another recruiter will want to hire them. Either way, you get paid.

#5—You need a candidate from a specific geographic region.

Clients are constantly throwing you curveballs, aren’t they? Let’s say that instead of throwing you a job order outside of your specialty area, they want you to fill an order in a remote part of the country. Or in another country altogether. Then let’s say that you don’t have any candidates in your database suitable for the position, or if they are suitable they don’t want to move there. So you need a suitable candidate who wants to move to who knows where to fill your client’s job order. That candidate might end up being another recruiter’s candidate, and you’ll gladly split the fee because without that recruiter and without that candidate, you’d be placement-less and empty-handed.

The role of a split fee recruiting network

There are recruiters who make split placements on a regular basis. In fact, splits are a regular part of their business model each and every year. These recruiters join a split fee recruiting network. As a member of such a network, they’re able to share job orders and candidates with other recruiters, who also see the value of making splits.

Top Echelon Network is a split fee recruiting network. In fact, we’ve been in operation since 1988, helping recruiters make split placements with our specialized tools and resources. There are hundreds of recruiting agencies and thousands of recruiters working together on a daily basis to pool and leverage their resource for more production.

One of Top Echelon’s most effective split fee recruiting tools is the MEGA Database. The MEGA contains over four million recruited candidates, and Top Echelon Network members can source those candidates.

Click here to find out more about Top Echelon Network and the value it can offer to your recruiting agency. Click here to apply for network membership.

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