What Is a Split Placement?

By Veronica Blatt

split placementThere are many different split placement models and options for recruiters to consider. Over time, I’ve learned that there are also different ways to define or describe split placements. At its simplest level, we define a traditional split placement as a placement that involves two separate recruiters, from two separate recruitment firms. One recruiter represents the candidate and the other recruiter represents the client company.  The two recruiters work together to fill the open role and share the fee that the client company pays. A 50-50 split of the commission is the most common arrangement, but certainly not the only option. In our network, we further require that each partner has a direct relationship with the entity they are representing.

Some recruitment firms offer in-house splits to their teams. One organization is both receiving the job opening and providing the candidate, although multiple recruiters are involved. Since the entire client fee is staying within a single recruitment firm, this is different from the way we define splits in NPAworldwide. In a traditional split placement, there is some risk that an unscrupulous partner would not pay the recruiter that provides that candidate. That is a huge difference from the surety of payment that results with in-house activity.

Another split placement definition involves a brokered relationship. By this, I mean there is an additional layer between the recruiter and the client or candidate. As mentioned earlier, we require that each partner has a direct relationship with the entity they are representing. This means that the recruiter with the job opening is working and communicating directly with the client. The recruiter representing the candidate is working and communicating directly with the candidate. In a brokered relationship, such as some “split board” communities, communication with the client or the candidate is brokered through a third-party such as the board owner. Recruiters do not have a direct contact with either the client or the candidate. This can make it slower and more difficult to close deals as it is not possible to speak directly to involved parties in the event of questions or concerns.

Sometimes more than two recruiters work on the same placement. We call that a three-way placement. Typically it involves a recruiter who represents the job opening, plus two recruiters representing the same candidate. Three-way deals are discouraged in our network due to the added complexity and risk. Imagine what happens if the candidate receives different information from multiple sources about interviews, compensation, etc. It’s not unheard of for a recruiter to pass along the name of another recruiter and expect compensation for that referral. While this is not inherently wrong or unethical, our members take the view that true recruitment partners do substantially more work to earn a share of the fee.

I’m sure there are other split placement definitions as well. What other arrangements have you seen? Do you have questions about the types that are shared in the blog? I welcome your comments.

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