4 Ways to Increase Recruitment Revenue in 2020

by Sarah Freiburger

The end of the year is typically the time where annual contracts are renewing for your tools and services, you’re evaluating what you still need to close to hit financial goals, and always thinking about how to increase your bottom line. This means now is the perfect time to reflect on what happened in 2019 and create your plan to increase recruiter revenue in 2020.This article focuses on four ways that recruiters may increase recruitment revenue in 2020. 

  1. Engaged Recruitment

While different versions of this type of recruitment exist, typically a recruiter will receive $1,500 to $2,000 before the search begins. Of course, this upfront fee amount will vary depending upon the salary range of the open position. This portion of the fee is non-refundable and subtracted from the final fee payment after a candidate is hired.

With this option, the recruiter changes the scope of the services provided to the employer. It is a great start to add retainer elements to a contingency model. It positions the recruiter as a professional service provider for an employer,  similar to the relationship an employer has with an accountant or attorney.

A recruiter with this type of fee arrangement will invest more time in the research phase of recruiting than recruiters with a contingency recruitment agreement. Independent recruiters with their own firm, either where they work alone or have a small staff, do not have the time to invest in research for a candidate if an employer isn’t willing to make a commitment to the candidate search by paying a partial fee upfront.

  1. Split Fee Placements

Are you currently making split fee placements?  If not, you may want to consider this option as a way to better serve your clients and candidates.  Isn’t 50% of a fee better than no fee? When you are working in a high level network such as NPAworldwide, many recruiters have 25-30% fees they are splitting, which is a better certainty than hoping a brand new  contingent client you signed will agree to a 12-15% fee. Independent recruiters who make split fee placements serve their clients better than those who don’t by being able to increase the pool of candidates in their niche by working with other recruiters. In addition, they ask for and fill positions located in other geographies because they are confident their trading partners will be able to assist them.  On the candidate side, a recruiter making split fee placements is able to provide more opportunities to candidates.

Independent recruiters can increase their revenue by developing informal networks of other independent recruiters interested in splitting fees. Another option is for a recruiter or recruiting firm to consider joining a formal split fee placement network.

All of a recruiter’s business doesn’t have to result from split fee placements.  Decide on a target percent of your revenue and create actions steps to meet your target.

  1. Contract Placements

If you are not currently making contract placements, 2020 might be the year to add them to the mix! Many recruiters offer contract placement services to their usually direct clients, helping them to fill their temporary assignments. With contract placements, a recruiter usually receives a small fee on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, earning money for every hour the contractor works. While this seems complicated to keep track of, there are now so many back office support companies that are affordable and manage all of that for you.

Let’s say in addition to one permanent placement, a recruiter also places a contract employee at his client’s company for a short term assignment of lets say 8 months. During that time, the recruiter earns $16,000 in placement fees. That’s a steady income of $2,000 per month that you know will cover some tools/services, etc your firm is using monthly while the direct placements become more like bonuses on top of any contract placements that slowly start to add up. 

  1. No Guarantee

Yes, I said no guarantee! One of NPAworldwide’s new members explained how she has not had a guarantee for more than 10 years. Instead, she charges a fee of 30% of the candidate’s annual salary which is paid in three equal payments on the date of hire, 30 days after hire, and 60 days after hire.  In addition, she offers the client a discount off the 30% fee if the client pays sooner than agreed; 25% if the fee is paid within 10 days and 27% if paid within 30 days.

The reasoning behind not giving a guarantee is that the independent recruiter supplying the candidate to the client has no control over what happens after the candidate is hired. The client must accept responsibility if the candidate does not work out. Other professionals – accountants, attorneys, etc. – do not return fees.  Why should you? This is a paradigm shift worth implementing in 2020.

Do you have any other suggestions as to how independent recruiters may increase recruiter revenue in 2020?

Recruiters, Make Using the PHONE Easier!

by Dave Nerz

Recruiters were once known as headhunters. Some see this as a negative spin on global recruitment professionals. At one time, it really was an accurate description of the process to find talent. I do not propose a return to 1980s style recruitment, but it seems sensible to add some proven process to the technology we use today.

Recruiters today are using social tools to find talent. Not a problem for me. But can an outcome be to draw prospects/candidates in so that my call will be accepted? Think about things you can do to help tee up some better and easier phone calls to candidates, contacts and potential reference sources for talent. Read the rest of this entry »

Prepare to Smash Your Job Interview

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Anthony McCormack, founding consultant, managing director and entrepreneur behind Macstaff with offices in Bristol and Abergavenny, United Kingdom. Macstaff is a high impact recruitment consultancy majoring on right-fit permanent placements in construction, property, manufacturing and engineering sectors in UK & Internationally. Macstaff joined NPAworldwide in 2019. Anthony McCormack takes you through several helpful and practical hints to give you the very best chance of being successful at an upcoming job interview. And some are more obvious than you think. This post originally appeared here.

So you are in an active job search and have secured yourself an interview.

Now this is where the ‘rubber hits the road’!

Personally, I think reliance on a job interview to determine the best candidate for a position is a broken system – but we will save this topic for another blog.

Nonetheless, the interview is how 90% of hiring decisions will be made. So be prepared to sell yourself. How you do that will influence the likelihood of an offer and the better the interview, the better the offer potentially!

So my first point will state the blindingly obvious. The best advice on preparation is… to actually prepare!

Many people spend an inordinate amount of time tinkering with the CV, browsing job postings and crafting the perfect cover letter – but little or no time properly preparing for individual interviews.

If you’re reading this, it looks like you are putting in some groundwork so give yourself a pat on the back, you’re heading in the right direction.

From a mental preparation point of view, I suggest making sure that you are ‘in it to win it.’ Don’t go to an interview to ‘check them out’ or to ‘see what they have to say.’ Go to an interview with the intention of winning a great job offer. If you get offered and choose not to accept, that’s empowering and your call to make.

I am always sad when someone is ill-prepared for an interview, goes in lukewarm or even suspicious about the opportunity, and realises during the appointment that the role is a dream job for them. It’s typically too late to inject passion to the interview and reverse the first impression formed by the interviewer that you only came to ‘kick some tyres.’


Logistics wise. Make sure you plan your journey and allow enough time. That’s enough time to get to the postcode according to Google maps or SatNav but also to park and sign in. I also suggest allowing enough time for heavy traffic, road closures, getting lost and spilling coffee down yourself! As sod’s law says, it’s going to happen.

You want to allow enough time to be on time but also to be in the right frame of mind. Five minutes decompressing from the journey and visualising a successful interview will pay dividends. Lastly, I don’t want to pile on extra pressure, but I’ve pretty much never seen someone turn up late to an interview and go on to secure the job.

Take a CV with you

Take a fresh copy of your CV and a separate reference sheet so you are ready to hand over either or both. You likely won’t need them but it looks organised and allows you to use them as a point of reference. Also, in the eventuality that they have lost the CV or can’t print it, your job interview still goes smoothly ahead.

Dress to impress

It’s an interview cliché to be sharp-suited, clean pressed shirt and shiny shoes. However, I think old-school rules still apply here. As you all know, first impressions are strong, difficult to change and are strongly based around visual aspects.

How you present is viewed as a reflection (rightly or wrongly) of how seriously you are taking the application and how much respect you are giving the appointment.

I would say that while you can mess up by under-dressing for an interview, you can never really fail by over-dressing. Many people have a concern that they don’t want to feel over-dressed when they attend an interview at a less formal office environment. So feel free to try and mirror their culture to an extent. I must point out though that their current employees are not attending an interview and you are!

Expectations are different so it really doesn’t matter if you are the only person in a suit. It’s kind of like the interviewer can swear in the interview and they won’t notice or remember, if you do, it’s going to stand out and reflect badly.

Paint a picture of a Win-Win

Candidates are going to want to satisfy themselves that they are going to win the job in question, with respect to salary, benefits, challenge, interest, career potential and so on before accepting an offer. Clients are going to want to satisfy themselves that they are going to win by hiring the candidate in question in respect to skills, experience, personality, attitude and future potential before making an offer.

What is less obvious is the opposite side of these points. Candidates should want to establish that the company will win by hiring them, meaning they add value, it is a good fit and chances are good it will work out in short and long term.

Clients should want to establish that the candidate will win meaning that they get to apply their skills in a meaningful way, enjoy the work and ultimately stick around.

In my experience, in the stressful set-up of an interview, most people overlook ‘part 2’ of the win-win. So ensure everything you say and do in the selection process points towards a conclusion of strong mutual benefit.

On a related note, be aware of how you are viewed outside of the interview itself, like while booking the interview, when you ring beforehand and how you interact with the receptionist. Even when you are not being officially assessed, you are still being assessed. I would never want to hire someone that was snotty to my receptionist, for example.

Prepare by researching the company

This is so you can talk intelligently about the organisation, their products and projects. Or at least be able to answer the obvious question of why are you interested in XYZ when asked. You can look for published information from their website, news sources or from employer evaluation sites such as Glassdoor to get the ‘inside track’. Also, try and make sure you know the job specification and potentially the person specification for the role too.

Prepare lots of questions

There will typically be an opportunity to ask questions during an interview. Hopefully throughout, allowing a good two-way street of communication, or otherwise towards the end. This is an opportunity for you to take.

The quality of your questions can differentiate you from an otherwise similar candidate. Questions that show you have done your research are great, and in general open questions that demonstrate your understanding or prove your interest going to foster a positive response and often further discussion.

Questions which can be seen as suspicious, negative or are just hard to answer will make for a negative atmosphere which ends up reflecting badly.

For example, try not to ask: “What happened to the last person in this role?” or “What’s your sick days allocation?” or “What’s the company’s financial position like?”

Believe me, I have heard them asked before.

Take notes

There is some debate on this topic but I think it is okay to take some notes if you wish to capture key information for your future reference. Again, it can help demonstrate organisation and professionalism. Do ask permission and don’t overdo it as your note-taking can be off-putting to the interviewer, and of course, reduce eye contact which is important for building rapport.

Interview technique

This is a subject in itself and there is all kinds of advice to impart here. I’ll keep it simple and just cover two of them – confidence and enthusiasm.

If you think about it, the hiring company needs to work out two things: 1) Can you do the job (better than other candidates). 2) Do you want the job (and will you accept it).

Therefore you convince them you can do the job by feeling, showing and instilling them with confidence in your capabilities. You convince them that you want the job by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the job, company, product and projects in question.


This will be maximised by being prepared (as above) by knowing your CV, the job-spec and how they relate. Prepare specific examples you plan to leverage and questions you would like to ask. Be conscious of using positive body language and voice projection. Practice the power of belief.


Prepare all the valid personal reasons why this job is a great match for you in order to demonstrate an authentic win-win. Why are you passionate about the industry, what do you like about the company, what attracts you to the job, are the location and salary going to satisfy you long term. Enthusiasm isn’t all about being ‘bubbly’ if that isn’t your style but demonstrating your appetite for the job somehow is important.

Be specific

The need to be specific will apply to many areas of the interview but particularly in terms of duties, responsibilities and achievements. Being specific and where appropriate using quantifiable examples moves you from making general claims about your suitability to giving evidence that you are the best candidate.

Be succinct

It’s a fine balance. You are going to want to answer questions fully, to score maximum points (either in the interviewer’s mind or often literally if you are being graded). However, you are also going to want to be succinct. The interviewer only has a certain amount of time and if they don’t get to ask all the questions then you certainly don’t get to score all the points. It’s easy with pressure and nerves to waffle on or go off on an irrelevant tangent. Much better to take a breath, get composure and then give a killer answer, rather than jumping in without thinking.

Ask for the job

I don’t think this is common interview advice but put in the right way, I think it is positive and powerful. This is typically for the end in respect to closing statements, and could be along the lines of: “On the basis of this conversation, I am even more excited about the job than when I applied. I would love to assume the role and look forward to hearing back.” This removes any doubt that you would be prepared to accept (offer dependent) and makes you a safer bet. Companies, like potential dates, hate being turned down and would prefer to ask someone who they know will likely say yes!

Any objections?

Again, I don’t think this a common area of interview advice, however, put in the right way I think this question can be a good strategic, assertive move. It again would come near to the end and would go something like: “I am very confident that I can meet all the requirements of the role, so do you have any questions or concerns?” If you are going to ask this, make sure you are ready to answer, address and perceived issues and hopefully overcome them.

So good luck with your current and future interviews. Expect success. The hiring company has a business issue to solve and given that you have been selected for interview, you are well qualified to solve this business issue. It is just about making sure that this comes across effectively.

The interviewers are also hoping that you are going to do well. So everyone is on the same side in that respect. My advice in short (as candidates who have worked with me will likely recall), is:

  • Be prepared
  • Be confident
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Be specific

If I can be of assistance in respect to interview preparation, hiring or job search issues across the spectrum, feel free to give me a shout.

3 Under-the-Radar Tools for Recruiters

by Veronica Blatt

tools for recruitersThere are plenty of blog posts dedicated to recruitment-specific technology tools like ATS products, payroll or back-office applications, electronic document signing and more. Today I’d like to cover three tools that aren’t specifically designed for recruitment professionals, but are still really handy. Even better, all of them offer a free version. These tools save you time and can also shore up areas that may not be your strengths or top priorities. Here’s a summary: Read the rest of this entry »

What Fee Structure Should I Use as an Independent Recruiter?

by Sarah Freiburger

marketing-leftover-candidatesThe agreement for fees between independent recruiters and employers can take many forms and have been evolving as the cost of being an independent recruiter has increased when you want to update your business to include the latest technology tools and assessment options. These added annual services that a recruiter wants to maintain to be delivering efficiently for their clients in a tight candidate market have led many firms to update their pricing and reconsider a straight contingency model. This article shares different fee structures we see in our recruitment network, NPAworldwide. Our recruiters specialize in executive level placements, who join to share jobs and candidates and leverage other members.

What are the differences between these fee arrangements for managers and other professional level positions?


  1. Contingency Recruitment

As the name suggests, recruiters with a contingency recruitment fee arrangement agree to search for a candidate to fill an employer’s open position. The employer is obligated to pay the recruiter only if a candidate the recruiter presented to the employer is hired for the open position. The timing of the payment of the fee depends on the agreed upon payment terms and varies greatly by employer.

  1. Container/Engaged Recruitment

While different versions of this type of recruitment exist, typically a recruiter will receive $7,500 to $10,000 before the search begins. Of course, this upfront fee amount will vary depending upon the salary range of the open position. This portion of the fee is non-refundable and subtracted from the final fee payment after a candidate is hired.

This type of fee option positions the recruiter as a professional service provider for an employer similar to the relationship an employer has with an accountant or attorney. If you are a contingent recruiter now, this option is a good idea to trial with current clients. A way to do this might be lowering your fee percentage, but in return asking for an engagement or container fee. Perhaps instead of 25% for one search, your fee percentage is 20% for three searches with upfront engagement fees paid for all three.


  1. Retained Search

Retained searches focus on key management positions within a company including C-level positions. While fee arrangements for retained searches may vary, typically, the employer commits to three payments. The first payment to the recruiter is made before the search begins. The second payment is made to the recruiter after a certain number of candidates are presented to the employer. Final payment occurs after a candidate is hired.

When looking to switch to a retained model, the value that you provide to clients should appear to extend further than just providing candidates. Many firms that work mainly retained search position themselves as more of a a consultant and as a hiring expert. Ask your client to come in and evaluate their hiring, send your clients articles or a newsletter highlighting your knowledge of the industry or market insights. Provide personalize market intelligence regarding industry trends or HR issues.


If you are currently thinking about changing up your fees for 2020, here are some great brainstorm questions:

What do you consider the value on your time and expertise?

What are your annual operating costs, how many placements cover that?

What price point do you think ensures your fees are competitive without being “cheap”?

Wasting Time on Bad Job Orders?

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Bill Benson with WilliamCharles Search Group located in Grand Rapids, MI. WilliamCharles is an executive search and professional recruiting firm specialized in finding managerial and executive talent in finance, HR, operations, sales/marketing as well as president/CEO roles. They have a concentration of clients in Michigan but they also work across the US. Bill is the chairman of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors. Bill shares his thoughts on bad job orders and how to reduce the amount of time you spend working on those.

Can we agree that time is our most important commodity? More time is wasted on bad job orders than any other aspect of our business. What determines a good job order? Below are concepts, suggestions and questions to help you evaluate the investment of your time! Read the rest of this entry »

When a 50/50 Split Placement Isn’t Equal

by Veronica Blatt

In NPAworldwide, our default position is that members share in a 50/50 split placement. That is likely your split placement expectation as well, but what about unique or unusual circumstances? There are times when a 50/50 split might not be the best option. Here are some examples I have seen: Read the rest of this entry »

How tech recruiters can overcome the new H-1B visa changes

by Veronica Blatt

Today’s guest blogger is Kate Ashford, Monster contributor. Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:MWW), is the global leader in successfully connecting job opportunities and people. Monster uses the world’s most advanced technology to help people Find Better, matching job seekers to opportunities via digital, social and mobile solutions including monster.com®, our flagship website, and employers to the best talent using a vast array of products and services. As an Internet pioneer, more than 200 million people have registered on the Monster Worldwide network.  Today, with operations in more than 40 countries, Monster provides the broadest, most sophisticated job seeking, career management, recruitment and talent management capabilities globally. For more information visit about-monster.com.

Anyone who’s relied on the kind of talent afforded by the H-1B visa program (think programmers, engineers and scientists) is probably feeling the pain of recent changes—and struggling to fill the hiring gaps these new rules have created.

The H-1B visa program provides temporary visas to educated foreign professionals to work in “specialty occupations” – think mathematics, engineering and technology. For the tech industry, workers on H-1B visas are a huge commodity, as the U.S. doesn’t have enough skilled tech workers to meet demand. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Prep Your Client for an Interview

by Liz Carey

Recruiters know to prep their candidates for an interview – a great resume only gets you so far. Sometimes, the best person for a job isn’t the best interviewee. Similarly, hiring managers aren’t always the best interviewers, and may not leave the best impression on the potential hire they interview.

At the end of the interview, the hiring manager often asks “so, do you have any questions for me today?”, and many recruiters take this opportunity to arm their candidates with penetrating questions in order to make a lasting impression. So if you have a hiring manager who isn’t prepared to answer these questions, the candidate might doubt the leadership at this company and lose interest in the role. It’s a candidate’s market, and in today’s fierce recruiting environment, you have to make sure your client sells not only the role, but themselves, to the candidate.

Here are some tips to give your client regarding the interview process:

  1. First, is making sure everyone is on the same page by using a calendar invite or similar software to get the interview on both your candidate’s and client’s calendars. Trying to coordinate calendars by calling or emailing back and forth with available times is a big hassle and time-waster. Get interview scheduling under control with something like Calendly or SimplyBook.me to find times that work for everyone and reduce cancelled or missed interviews. With scheduling software, your client can set their availability preference, share the link with you and the candidate(s) they want to interview, and let them pick a time, which is automatically added to you and the candidate’s calendar. It’s efficient and simple.
  2. Second, the interview itself. Sometimes recruiters are so good at prepping candidates that the interviewer isn’t prepared for the interviewee’s questions! A corporate headhunter told me a story of a time the hiring manager was at a loss for words when a interviewee asked about potential financial risks of the company’s that they garnered from the company’s public financial statements. Be prepared to answer questions about the company, its culture, career development, reductions in force, ethics, etc.
  3. You want every interview to be a dialogue, not just bombarding the candidate with questions. You want the candidate to feel comfortable opening up to you. Build in time during each interview for candidates to ask questions, and for the interviewers to thoughtfully respond to them.
  4. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell the candidate that you will get back to them. …And make sure you actually do follow-up within 24 hours.
  5. Many candidates do not want to waste time waiting, as they may have other interviews/offers on the table, so be prepared for direct questions like “When may I expect an offer?” or “When will you decide on filling this position?”

And importantly, if a candidate doesn’t ask questions, that is a huge red flag. It shows they didn’t take the time to research the company and shows a lack of interest. You want candidates who ask questions because that shows they have a genuine interest in your client and its success.


Only Real Leaders May Apply

by Veronica Blatt

image of group leadersOur guest blogger is Clair Bush, Strategy Director Logic Melon. Inspired by job seekers, designed by recruiters and built by experts, LogicMelon is a refreshingly different recruitment solution. Find out more at logicmelon.com

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been looking long and hard at my own skill set as we embark on a new chapter of growth at LogicMelon. As the business is set to transform, I’ve found myself wondering about my role in helping the business get to the next level, more specifically I want to make sure we have the best people in the right place to help us to achieve all we can – and that includes me. Read the rest of this entry »