We Get Paid for What??

  By Chris Heinz  |    Tuesday January 25, 2022

Category: Expert Advice, Recruiting


As we all know, recruiting has evolved greatly over the years.  

The industry has gone from an “applicant paid fee” to a “client paid fee”, from mailing resumes to faxing resumes to emailing resumes, from retained services only at the C-level to retained services at almost every level.  I could keep going, but you get the point.  It has evolved.

There is one element of recruiting that has not evolved…and I pray will never evolve:  what we get paid for!  Of course, we get paid for delivering the talent the client needs!  Yes, I know that some retained projects are being paid more for the process than for the actual delivery of talent.  But, at the end of the day, the vast majority of us in the recruiting/talent access space are paid to deliver.  

We might get paid a portion upfront (retained) with the rest paid at certain performance points, we might get paid only if they hire our candidates (contingent), or we might get for every hour a candidate works (interim/gig work).  

It still comes down to delivery.  But, there is more than JUST delivering talent.  


Delivery comes in additional areas:



This one is the ‘duh-factor’ The ultimate form of delivery in our world is getting the candidate that the company/hiring manager wants and being able to gain acceptance of the offer, help guide them through the offer acceptance, resignation, and counteroffer challenge so that they show up for day 1.



Helping your client and candidate through an expedited and urgent process to quickly determine if they are a good match is also part of our ‘delivery.’  A good recruiter will ensure that the process is a timely one.  As much as we believe we can ‘control’ the process, it is more likely we can help influence it and suggest improvements if there are concerning areas.  While we hope that most processes should be able to be completed in 2-3 interviews within 5 days, sometimes that isn’t the case.  


We need to provide guidance to help them understand the implications of poor processes.  

You can either earn or lose your money right here.  Accepting a process that is undefined, unrealistic, or far too long will usually lose the best talent.  You need to help your client understand that the best talent will be lost to a competitor if the process takes too long or is undefined.  You are delivering them the guidance and hard truth they need to hear!  If done efficiently, even processes of 6 steps can still be done in a timely fashion (under 8 days).  


Salary Analysis

Through the course of your recruitment efforts, you will learn what the true salaries are in the market.  This is much more real and real-time than the salary websites.  Do you share this insight with your clients?  If you learn about better bonus models in the market, do you share them?  This is a true value-add element of delivery.  

By doing so, you can also help refine the search you are working on if they are paying below current market conditions.  This is a delivery element that has multiple wins.  

Please do not base your ‘salary analysis’ on 1 or 2 candidates.  That is just taking the lazy approach.  Speak to 10-20 candidates that have the skills your client is looking for in the geography of the opening to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.


Competitive Insight

Great recruiters can be the best ‘ears on the street’ to their clients.  If you hear about new products, executive changes that would impact the market, significant compensation programs (as mentioned above), significant culture changes with competitors, etc, you should share this intel with your hiring managers.  They will truly value the information.  Sure, they might already know some of it, but I guarantee they don’t know it all.  You’ll never know what could be helpful to them.


Customer Service

Delivering great customer service should not be a magical moment.  It should be the norm.  The old saying “under promise and over deliver” still holds true today.  The better your customer service, the quicker you will separate yourselves from other recruiters.

Do you have a great reporting spreadsheet that you share with your client that explains the status of the search?  Utilizing tools like this will make it more difficult for your competition who may not utilize similar tools.



Follow-up and follow-through are critical elements of communication that shouldn’t be forgotten.  Being professional and truthful is important. Yes, you may develop a strong bond with your hiring manager that can even turn into a true friendship.  However, remember that when you are working a search for them, you still need to deliver great communication.

Do you share how the candidate is a strong fit for the position, or do you just send a resume?  Do you share their hot buttons and what they need to understand during the interview process in order for the candidate to make the move, or do you hope this will come out in the interview?  Sharing insight like this can make the difference in a hire, a turndown, or a fall-off.



Another area where we can deliver is our expertise.  We should provide this insight in a consultative manner.  We shouldn’t be saying ‘listen, buddy, I’ve recruited way more people than you ever have.  So, shut up, listen to me, and maybe you’ll have a chance to snag the candidate of your dreams.”  That probably will not go over well…

We can deliver insight into processes, hiring, recruitment, salaries, market intelligence, among other things.  By doing so, not only are we increasing the likelihood of one placement, but we can build a long-term relationship and can become a long-term trusted advisor.

These are just a few examples of things we can deliver to our clients. Few would cost you any money.  If you truly want to build strong, long-term relationships, then you need to deliver more than ‘just’ a candidate.


My hope that this is the best year of everyone’s life!

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