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Dear Timmy: How can I best incentivize my corporate recruiters?

Feb 24

Dear Timmy,

I have a team of corporate recruiters who we pay salary and then they also get paid a bonus amount for every individual you hire. When I read your post “The Corporate Recruitment Incentive Program” at Fistful of Talent, I was encouraged we are doing the right thing. But, I have an issue. From time to time we go through periods of time when we have no hiring needs or a hiring freeze. During these times the recruiters feel shorted. How

But, I have an issue. From time to time we go through periods of time when we have no hiring needs or a hiring freeze. During these times the recruiters feel shorted. How do I incentivize them during these times? My recruiters all work remotely, hire very specialized talent, and it’s fairly low volume around 15 hires per recruiter per year. The average salary is around $150K, plus bonus.


Corporate TA Leader who gets it

Dear Mrs. Gets it,

Will you please hire me!? No, I mean it. I will come to work for you for only the $150K and no bonus!

So, I hear you. It’s all relative to the market, location, industry, etc. I kid about wanting a job with you, but only slightly. Very few recruiters in the world make $150K working from home making 15 placements per year in a corporate environment where all of their overhead is paid and they have a great benefits package.

So, step one of finding the right incentive would first be to understand why these recruiters feel ‘underpaid’. You might be lucky and have all rock star recruiters who are the top in the field, but I doubt they are all that level. So, then I would ask myself, is this a team incentive issue, or do I have an outlier who is truly worthy.

All that being said, your problem is a real problem if part of your compensation plan for your recruiters is to be paid by hire and you have no hires to be made!

Here are some suggestions:

– If you look at your normal hiring pattern and it’s consistently at a certain level, work your bonuses into an average hire scenario. Then give your recruiters some education on how to budget! Look you first quarter might be giant, but you better know every second quarter sucks for hires, so your bonus will be low.

– Instead of compensating by hire, maybe compensate by activities that lead to hires. Thus, just because you don’t make hires, doesn’t mean the recruiters need to stop doing all those great things that fill the pipeline. The hard part about this is it will probably drag down your candidate experience as candidates won’t be too happy to be strung along and never get hired!

– Are there other valuable activities your recruiters can do in low hire situations? I love to focus on retention and the activities that increase retention. Maybe there are project related completion bonuses you can use during these times to get some things done that have been put on the back burner, but you really need to get done now that you have the capacity.

– Ask your hiring managers for suggestions. I’m always pleasantly surprised by some of the suggestions I get from hiring managers on what my team can do for them, to help them out, even if they feel it’s not recruiting related. Many of the projects they have can be done by recruiters as well, plus it gets your recruiters more integrated into the business.

Hope this helps! Please hire me.



1 Comment to “Dear Timmy: How can I best incentivize my corporate recruiters?”

  1. Hard work, honesty and integrity first and for most. Recruiters today use a program that compares a submitted resume with the job post. If the submitted resume has the KEY words that match the job post then and only then does the recruiter put the resume in a file for review. They don’t call to ask pertinent questions. I spoke with a recruiter that was hiring 3D designers. That person did not know what a 3D designer job required. So how can they hire the best person for the job?

    So, hard work, honesty and integrity needs to be at the front of every company. Starting with the recruiters.


    Feb 24, 2017

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