Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What Recruiters Want from Their Boss or the Agency Owner

What Recruiters Want from Agency Owners

by | Mar 24, 2022 | Recruiter Training, Top Echelon Blog

You’ve heard about the movies. Perhaps you’ve even seen them. What Women Want. More recently, What Men Want. The complexities of those issues aside, we’re going to discuss something much different this blog post. Yes, we’re going to discuss what recruiters want.

The short answer to that question is the easiest and simplest: recruiters want to make more placements. That’s all fine and good. However, that’s a surface-level assessment that fails to directly address what recruiters want in terms of their job.

Three important distinctions

Let’s make some distinctions at the outset of this conversation. First, we’re not talking about what recruiters want from candidates during the recruitment process. That’s a blog post for another discussion. (And I’m willing to bet that you can find plenty of articles revolving around that topic.)

Second, we’re talking about third-party agency recruiters. We’re not talking about corporate recruiters. We’re not talking about internal recruiters. So if you count yourself among those groups, I offer my apologies. This blog post is only for third-party agency recruiters.

Third, it’s certainly possible for somebody to be both a recruiter and an agency owner. In fact, Top Echelon’s recruiting network is full of just such individuals. However, the focus of this blog post is the recruiter who works for an agency, but does not run the agency.

That’s because, as the title implies, the focus of this blog post is what recruiters want from an agency owner.

It all boils down to retention

There is a very good reason for agency owners to pay attention to what their recruiters want. Because those recruiters could very well leave for another agency. Or they could start their own agency.

Yes, this does happen, and yes, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it. It occurs all the time within the recruiting and staffing industry. However, that is little consolation for the agency owner, and it’s easy to see why:

  • The agency owner loses what is probably one of their top producers. Or maybe the recruiter is their top producer. Now the owner has to somehow compensate for the loss of that revenue. That’s all the more difficult for the owner since they’re also trying to run the agency.
  • The recruiter who left is now either producing for either a competitor or they’re producing for themselves and their new agency is a competitor. Now of course, as an agency owner, you could require your recruiters to sign non-compete agreements. However, there is usually a time limit associated with these agreements.

What it all boils down to is retention. This is a bit ironic, since recruiters and search consultants often discuss the importance of effective retention measures with their clients. But “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander” . . . or some such thing. If recruiting agency owners emphasize retention with their clients, then they should emphasize retention within their own agency. And effective retention for agency owners starts with giving recruiters what they want.

What recruiters want from you

So that brings us to the crux of our quandary. What do recruiters want? How do you give them what they want? To answer these questions, we’re going to draw upon the wisdom of recruiting industry trainer Gary Stauble. Gary is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists firm owners and solo recruiters in generating more profit in less time.

According to Gary Stauble, below are six things that recruiters want from agency owners:


The number-one thing employees look for is clear vision for the future. You might be surprised that this tops the list. In fact, it’s ranked even higher than compensation. However, it makes a lot of sense if you give it some thought.

We all want to be a part of something exciting, something of value, and something with direction. Many recruiting agencies have a vision that reads like this, “We want to make more placements.” That statement is a goal, but it isn’t an inspiring vision. Recruiters who share in the vision of a company are easier to manage, motivate, and retain.


The opportunity to make a contribution was number-two on the list. Again, this one is somewhat surprising. How can your people make a contribution to your firm?  If the only way for them to do that is by making another placement, you’re going to have a frustrated workforce, as even a good recruiter is only making 2+ placements per month.

Contribution can be measured by attitude, energy level, and many other factors. Activity tracking is a good way to measure contribution. Bonuses or contests based on strong activity numbers reinforce the value of that contribution.


People crave sincere appreciation. Not cheap flattery, but rather true appreciation. Appreciation costs the manager nothing, yet pays big dividends in terms of employee satisfaction and retention.  People rate appreciation as being more important than compensation. Appreciation breeds loyalty and higher self-confidence. High self-confidence is a hallmark of all top-producing recruiters.

#4—Fair compensation

Take note of the word “fair.” People care about being paid what they’re worth, but are less concerned with money than one might normally assume. We always say that candidates don’t usually move just for dollars, and this study bears out that wisdom.

The average total compensation for a permanent recruiter is somewhere between 40%-45% of the revenue that they produce. This would include whatever combination of salary/draw/bonus/commissions, etc.  If you’re paying in this range, you’re in the “fair” category.


We all want to have fun at work. If you enjoy your environment, then the day speeds by and the work is more satisfying. There are recruiting offices that have arcade games in their break room. This atmosphere fosters a very fun work environment. Fun is all about attitude, and it’s the owner or manager who sets that tone.

#6—Quality environment

This final category relates to the actual physical environment of your office. Your computers, your desk configuration, and the view out the window all matter to your people. You don’t need to be extravagant, but you also cannot appear to be cheap.

Do you serve Folgers or Starbucks coffee in your break room? Are your recruiters provided with the software and database tools they need to be successful? Is your training library of the highest quality available?

What recruiters want: the bonus item

The six items listed above will provide you with a workable reference point to see how your office is measuring up in each category.  You may want to give yourself a score ranging from 1-10 on each of the six items and see what you can do to improve each one. The best people to get feedback from in terms of how to improve are the ones working for you right now.

Something else that recruiters want is the opportunity for additional training. They want to become better at what they do. That’s because when they become better, they make more placements. And when they make more placements, they make more money. So you could almost call additional training the bonus item in terms of what recruiters want. Or, instead of almost saying it, you could actually say it. Which is what we’re going to do.

The Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library

Regardless, Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

Do you remember the question posed above, under #6? The question was, “Is your training library of the highest quality available?” No matter what kind of materials you have in your agency’s library, you can supplement it with Top Echelon training materials.

Gary Stauble has two videos in the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library. These videos are listed below. Click on the title of each video for access:

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.

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