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Split Placement Recruiting: 5 Ways Recruiter Splits Can Boost Business

by | Aug 24, 2022 | Top Echelon Blog

As a recruiter, there’s nothing like making that full-fee placements. It’s like a loaf of freshly baked homemade bread. A two-hour nap on a rainy Sunday afternoon. A tall glass of cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

Okay, maybe it’s a little better than all of those things.

What is a split placement?

However, recruiters and firm owners can become so enamored of full-fee placements (and their pursuit of them) that they’re blind to the benefits of making split placements. Before we continue, let’s conduct a quick primer. What is a split placement? Or perhaps more specifically, what is a split placement situation?

In a split placement situation, one recruiter has the job order, while another recruiter supplies the candidate. The recruiter with the job order is typically referred to as the “importer” (as in “importer of candidates”), while the recruiter supplying the candidate is referred to as the “exporter” (as in “exporter of candidates”).

Once the importer places the candidate supplied to them by the exporter and receives a fee from their client, a completed split placement has occurred. As per their agreement, the job order recruiter sends the candidate recruiter their portion of the placement fee.

Unfortunately, some recruiters don’t fully realize the value that split placements offer to their recruiting desk and their firm overall. That’s a shame, since they’re basically “leaving money on the table.” And we’re not just throwing that oft-used phrase out there just to throw is out there. We have specific scenarios and examples to back up our claim. Because when you get right down to it, recruiters want to make money. Then they want to bolster their recruiter business development efforts so they can make even more money.

And THAT is exactly what split placements can help you do.

Below are five ways that making a split placement can boost business as a recruiter:

#1—You fill job orders within your niche that you would not have filled otherwise.

Scenario: Your client gives you a job order for a highly specialized position. In fact, it’s so specialized that you can’t find any candidates that “wow” them. Needless to say, they want to be “wowed.” They demand to be “wowed.” So you end up submitting another recruiter’s candidate and they love that candidate! And you place that candidate! Then you receive a check for placing that candidate! Cue the dance music!

Split placement business boost: Let’s start with the fact that you made a placement you would not have made otherwise, even if it was a split. If you’re average full-fee placement is $20,000, then making $10,000 that you would not have made otherwise is pretty darn good. On top of that, you continue to brand your recruiting firm as “the firm that gets things done” in the eyes of your client. If that client has faith in your ability to provide them with high-quality candidates on a consistent basis that they hire, then they will continue to give you high-quality job orders. Not only that, but you’ve also built credibility and trust with your trading partner in this split placement situation. They, too, are more likely to work with you in the future. (As a general rule, results make everybody happy.)

#2—You fill job orders within your niche you might have filled otherwise more quickly.

Scenario: Your client gives you a job order for a highly specialized position. Unfortunately, it is NOT an exclusive search assignment. This means that time is of the essence. Sure, there’s a good chance that you could fill the position eventually—if you had an exclusive search and all the time in the world. You don’t have all the time in the world. You have to get qualified candidates in front of the hiring authority now. So you present another recruiter’s candidate in the interest of speed and your client loves that candidate! So you place that candidate! Then you receive a check for placing that candidate!

Split placement business boost: Okay, you may or may not have filled this position with your own candidate. BUT you submitted your own candidates, along with the candidates of your trading partner. The fact of the matter is that your client chose your trading partner’s candidate and not yours. That’s great news for you, because if your client had not chosen your trading partner’s candidate, then they might have chosen a candidate from one of the other firms working the search. So . . . all the recruiter business development boosts from #1 apply to this scenario, as well. The added bonus: your client knows that you can achieve the results they seek more quickly than anybody else.

#3—You fill job orders outside of your niche that you would not have filled otherwise.

Scenario: Since you’ve done such a great job helping one of your clients fill its most important positions, the hiring manager gives you a job order outside of your niche. You know for a fact you can’t source the type of candidates they want, but you badly want to validate the faith that the hiring manager has in you. So you reach out to one of your split partners that works in that industry and ask for help. They provide with you a shortlist of candidates that you forward to your client. And they hire one of them!

Split placement business boost: This one is easy. You were never going to fill this job on your own. Once you get outside of your niche, you’re outside of your comfort zone. You don’t even have candidates with this experience in your recruiting database. However, if you knew another recruiter who had those types of candidates . . . what a wonderful world it would be! There are recruiters who have filled five, 10, 15, and even more job orders outside of their niche because they relied upon the resources of another recruiter. Let’s see: 10 x $10,000 fee = $100,000 of additional revenue that you would not have made otherwise. On top of that, since you filled a job order outside of your recruiting niche, that client is more likely to give you another job order in that same niche.

#4—You fill job orders within your niche with candidates you would not have placed otherwise.

Scenario: How many candidates are in your database? 5,000? 10,000? More? How many placements did you make last year? Even if you made 100, that’s a lot of leftover inventory. Let’s say you’re part of a split placement recruiting network and you share some of that inventory. Then a recruiter contacts you about one of those candidates. They say the candidate would be perfect for their client’s job order. And they’re right. Their client hires your candidate! So even though the job order was not yours, you still share the placement fee. That’s right: you get money for a candidate that you weren’t even actively trying to place. It’s like some sort of magic!

Split placement business boost: In any business, unused inventory is never a good thing. In order to make more placements, you have to get more of your candidates in front of decision-making hiring authorities. Your firm can only get so many candidates in front of so many decision makers. What if you had another experienced recruiter in your niche presenting your candidates to hiring authorities? We’re talking about somebody placing your candidates in a job order that wasn’t even issued to you!

Essentially, we’re talking about making a placement without having a job order. If you thought that was impossible, it’s not. A member of Top Echelon Network made close to 100 placements in this fashion. According to him, he “fired” all of his clients. All he did was feed candidates to his trading partners and let them fill the job orders. This is the type of power that split placements afford recruiters who embrace their philosophy and believe in their value.

#5—You glean best practices, advice, and tips from other recruiters.

Scenario: You work with another recruiter on a successful split placement. As a result, you work closely with the recruiter during all parts of the process. When the process hits a snag or when there’s a challenge or obstacle, you work together to overcome it. While this happens, you pick up little tips and tricks from the other recruiter that you did not know.

Split placement business boost: Knowing how to do things better and continuing to evolve as a recruiter and a firm owner is always a boost to your bottom line. There are a lot of recruiters who have been doing this gig for a lot of years. As a result, there is a LOT of knowledge out there about which you do not know. No matter how good you are at what you do, there is always something that you can learn from somebody else. All it takes is one piece of information, one tidbit, for you to turn a failed search assignment into a $20,000 or $25,000 placement fee. Now wouldn’t you want to know what that tidbit is?

Recruiter splits: a case study in success

Top Echelon has offered recruiter splits to professional recruiters and search consultants since 1988, meaning the Network will celebrate its 35th anniversary next year.

During the past few decades, Top Echelon has helped thousands of recruiters make more money through recruiter splits. This includes recruiters operating in just about every industry and niche in the employment marketplace.

Amy Chapman of Key People Staffing

Amy Chapman

One such recruiter is Amy Chapman of Key People Staffing in Safety Harbor, Florida. Chapman has found tremendous value in Top Echelon membership since joining the Network. In fact, she’s made over 50 split placements and billed more than $500K through the Network during the past three years.

According to Chapman, who works in Food Manufacturing, recruiter splits have contributed greatly to increased production and revenue on her recruiting desk and within her agency. That’s because she knows that she can’t fill every single search assignment from all of her clients with the job candidates that are in her own recruiting database.

Instead, Chapman leverages her Network membership to source other recruiter’s candidates. She then uses those candidates for the job orders that she can’t fill on her own. That means, of course, that she’s making placements that she would not have made otherwise. Without her Top Echelon Network membership and her commitment to recruiter splits, those job orders would have been unfilled . . . or they may have been filled by another recruiter. Neither of those options are attractive to Chapman.

“I stopped putting the focus on finding my own candidate, which means I would get 100% of the fee,” she said. “I switched from utilizing TE to fill the gaps of positions I couldn’t find on my own to utilizing TE to fill all my positions, and I only researched if I had a position lacking good candidates. It resulted in less down time researching candidates and more time spent aggressively processing candidates through interviews that were pipelined in through TE partners. And that is what makes you more money and equals more placements!”

Split placement ROI

Making split placements does not hurt your full-fee direct hire book of business. It does not detract or distract from it. Or dilute it. It complements that book of business. It supplements it, without a ton of extra effort. In other words, you can derive an exponentially greater return on your investment (ROI).

Making split placements does not hurt your full-fee direct hire book of business. It does not detract or distract from it. Or dilute it. It complements that book of business. It supplements it, without a ton of extra effort. In other words, you can derive an exponentially greater return on your investment (ROI).

How much greater? We’re glad you asked!

Let’s use membership in Top Echelon’s split placement network as an example. The monthly membership dues for Network membership is $130 per month. This means a recruiting agency would pay $1,560 in Top Echelon Network membership dues over the course of an entire year.

The average placement fee in Top Echelon Network is around $20K. Let’s say that a member agency makes one placement a year in the Network and that one placement brings with it the average TE placement fee of $20K.

Top Echelon takes six percent (6%) of every placement fee as its brokerage fee. For a $20K placement fee, that brokerage fee is $1,200. That means each recruiter associated with the split placement will now split $18,800. And of course, that’s $9,400 per recruiter (or per agency).

Theoretically, the member agency with which we started paid $1,560 in membership dues over the course of a single year. That was the agency’s monetary investment. The return that it received on that investment is $9,400. And that’s with the average TE placement fee. Some fees, depending upon the industry and niche involved, are higher.

With recruiter splits, you can maximize your time, leverage your resources, and generate more revenue and profit in less time.

And really, isn’t that what boosting your business as a professional recruiter and search consultant is all about?

Split placement success with Top Echelon Network

Membership in Top Echelon Network can help you to achieve split placement success. One of the ways in which Top Echelon can help you is with a recruiting database called the Network Candidates Sourcing tool. This tool allows Network members who also use our recruiting software to share job candidate information quickly and easily.

You might be thinking, “Hey, I don’t want other recruiters to steal my candidates!” Of course you don’t. Which is why we don’t allow that to happen. Network members share this information in a blinded fashion for the sake of confidentiality.

You might also be thinking, “Hey, I don’t use Top Echelon’s recruiting software!” If that’s the case, there’s no need to worry. Even if you don’t use our recruiting software, you can still use the sourcing tool as a Network member. However, you won’t have access to the tool’s full functionality.

As of the publication of this blog post, there are more than six (6) million candidates in the Network Candidates Sourcing Tool. In a hot hiring market that is tight for talent, the best candidates are in short supply. You need all the candidates you can get to fill your client’s job orders and successfully complete their search assignments.

Do you have job orders that you’re having difficulty filling? Are the right candidates hard to find in the current job market? Then membership in Top Echelon’s split recruiting network could be right for you!

We invite you to request a demo of Network membership. If you like what you see during the demo, then you can start the formal split network membership application process.

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