Split Placements

Adding Split Placements in 2021

by Veronica Blatt

Adding split placements to your business mix is always worth considering. As the economy and recruitment both continue to recover, next year may be an even better-than-normal time to consider splits. There is pent-up demand for hiring and employers will be eager to get their open roles filled quickly. Splits can give you access to a wider candidate pool, increasing the odds of getting the right candidate in front of your client—before your competition does.

Here are a few ways that adding split placements can benefit your recruitment firm:

  • If your main niche is not recovering, you can easily adjust to a different/new sector
  • If your client has roles opening up and you don’t have sufficient candidates, a split partner can help you develop a short list
  • If you are seeing new markets emerging (like cybersecurity or fintech), working on a split-placement basis can give you a leg up on your competition
  • If your client has openings in new or different geographic locations (even globally!), a local split partner can be a tremendous asset
  • If you have recruiters with excess capacity, working on splits can fill those gaps and create a new revenue stream for your business
  • If you really like (or are better) to just focus on one side of the placement (either finding clients OR finding candidates), splits allow you to play to your strengths
  • If you are positioned for growth but are worried about additional overhead, add split partners instead of recruiters
  • If you don’t like managing a team, split placements connect you with like-minded recruiters that you don’t need to supervise

If you don’t have a lot of experience with split placements, there is a learning curve and possibly a leap of faith required. We recommend strong written agreements between partners, a clear division of labor, and an agreed-upon schedule of communication to keep the process flowing smoothly. You may also want to consider use of an escrow service to hold the client’s fee (particularly for large salaries) if you have a money-back guarantee that could require a refund from your partner. Be willing to do more than half the work, and over-communicate to increase your odds of success.

NPAworldwide Placement Activity YTD

by Veronica Blatt

NPAworldwide placement activity has remained consistent throughout the pandemic. Members continue to rely on each other for split placements and they are finding pockets of activity around the globe, in multiple industry sectors. Here are some notable items through the end of the third quarter: Read the rest of this entry »

Recruiters Not Responding To You?

by Sarah Freiburger

An independent recruiter is someone who is hired by an employer to find a candidate for a specific job and who does not work in-house for an employer, but for themselves as an independent contractor that several companies hire to find their new hires. One of the most frequent complaints I hear or read about recruiters is that they do not return candidates’ telephone calls. If you are a candidate who has attempted to reach out or contact an independent recruitment firm, keep reading because my post today focuses on three reasons why independent recruiters don’t return candidates’ calls and three ways to try and get a response. 

  1. The independent recruiter does not work for you.

When an employer has a difficult job to fill, the employer may choose to hire an independent recruiter to find the most qualified candidate. In return, the employer pays the recruiter a fee. In the United States, the fee typically ranges from 20% to 30% of the candidate’s first year of salary. Therefore, independent recruiters will focus on responding to employers who have hired them and only to candidates who are qualified for the jobs they are striving to fill.

2. The independent recruiter does not specialize in your niche.

Most independent recruiters specialize in placing candidates in a specific industry or job function involving a specific set of skills. You may not hear back from a recruiter to whom you sent your resume because the recruiter doesn’t work with people with your skill set or in your industry. A better approach to working with a recruiter might be to research the recruiters who specialize in placing candidates in your niche and then approach them.

3. Your resume is posted on job boards.

Again, remember my first point. Independent recruiters work for employers. In fact, many employers will advise recruiters they hire that they will not pay the recruiter for a candidate the recruiter submits to the employer who the employer can find on a job board. Why would a recruiter want to spend time presenting your resume to employers when they won’t get paid? The answer is they won’t. Determine your strategy in seeking a job. If working with a recruiter is a fit for your job search, then removing your resume from job boards will increase the likelihood of a recruiter wanting to work with you.

If any of the above are true, chances are that you are not going to be chosen for the position you are most interested in, but here are a few unique things to try to get a response.


  1.  Snail Mail. If the recruiter owns their own agency and has a business address, get in front of them by mailing a hard copy of your resume and cover letter. Everyone opens their mail if it’s sent to their business location, so you can at least have confidence that your words were read and it might help you stand out. 
  2. Pick up the phone and call the recruiter. Ask to speak with the recruiter directly for an update rather than relying on submitting your resume through a job posting or via email. In a conversation with the recruiter, they might better understand what makes you unique.
  3.  When you follow up, don’t just inquire about the status of your application. You can also ask about the status of the requisition. Is it open, closed, on hold?

Now Is the Time for Collaboration Between Recruiters

by Veronica Blatt

It’s no secret that the recruiting landscape has changed dramatically with the pandemic — and not in a good way. With fillable jobs in short supply, collaboration between recruiters can help determine which agencies survive and which are forced to shutter. If you’ve been open to splits in the past but have relied on them less frequently in the recent strong market, have shied away from splits altogether or have embraced them in your business, there’s good reason to increase that activity now. Read the rest of this entry »

Should I Start A Recruitment Agency During A Pandemic?

by Sarah Freiburger

As this unprecedented pandemic continues to make it’s mark on the world and various industries, one of the emerging layoffs that seem to be happening is internal and corporate recruiters. Each day various social media groups include postings of these laid off recruiters searching for their next opportunity or wanting to be hired by others. A question you should be asking yourself if you are in this position might be, whose name do I want to end up seeing at the top of a client check?

That’s an easy question for most to answer, but for various reasons over the course of their recruitment careers, instead the answer to that question has been the internal corporation they work for, or perhaps a franchise name, or the firm they work for. While it can be daunting to attempt to go out on your own, here are some reasons behind why it may be the time to do so.

  1. Regardless of where you are hired, you are expected to generate business. Recruitment is a sales industry at the forefront, and while it may help to have a bigger name to say on an intro call, ultimately it you that is securing the contract and then closing the placement. Why not make the move now to get a business plan in place so that the next placement you close you see all of it?
  2. The world is at your fingertips. As our network has been around since 1956, many firms in business for so many years comment at how difficult recruitment used to be. Clients names found in books, paper mailing communication, and phone charges by the minute were all obstacles. Now, you are really able to be an independent recruiter with your cell phone and a laptop with WiFi. Granted, you have to use both skillfully, but now more than ever with the world moving at almost a standstill, you have the opportunity to build up a brand, get marketing in place, touch in with candidates and old contacts about your new venture, and start a business plan.
  3. You don’t have to be alone as an independent. Many times the attraction of working on a team or with partners keeps recruiters in the corporate or large office set up. However, as an independent in the world today, more just like you willing to exchange business practices and opportunities are easy to leverage once you find your community. There are free groups to join on linked-in or facebook to make split placements or more formal organization and companies like NPAworldwide to join to leverage the power of many independents working together. Use your current recruitment experience to recruit on other’s jobs for 50% of a fee as you negotiate and land your own contracts to get off to a great start.

Our full blog found at www.npaworldwide.com/blog is a great resource of articles as to next steps to starting your own agency, however above else use some recruitment common sense during this time: be diverse, manage your time, don’t over-focus and stay positive.

Not All Split Placement Platforms are Created Equally

by Sarah Freiburger

As the Director of Membership of a split placement network, one of the first topics that come up with recruiters considering membership is if they have formerly, or are currently making split placements. Further questions reveal they didn’t make the split placements the “traditional” way. Instead, they provided a candidate to an employer via an online service like BountyJobs or Scout. 

In 2020, I have found that  the “recruiter community” language for split placements has changed. You can no longer assume that when recruiters state they have made split placements that it occurred the “traditional” way.  Specifically, what I mean by “traditional” way is when a recruiter with a job works directly with a recruiter with a candidate and the candidate is hired by the employer. This results in the two recruiters splitting the client fee.

“Traditional” split placements happen in one of the following ways:

  1. Informal Network
  • Recruiters form their own, usually small, network of trusted trading partners. Most savvy recruiters will have signed split fee agreements even if they make splits with recruiters they have known for a long time.
  • In addition, larger informal split networks exist online in various Facebook groups or on Linked-In. It is not unusual for recruiters in these informal networks to have never met face-to-face or know much about the others background. 
  • If you are a recruiter considering making split placements with other recruiters or are currently making split placements and do not have an agreement signed with the other recruiter, check out our sample split fee agreement which can be used as a starting point to create your split agreement.
  1. Formal Network
  •  A recruiter pays to participate in a formal network. In NPAworldwide, members pay one-time enrollment fees, monthly dues, and brokerage payments when split placements occur.
  •  Networks can have a general focus or specialize in an industry or niche. In NPAworldwide, we have over 10 practice groups that help specialized recruiters navigate the community and easily form relationships or customize their experience to their most prevalent industry.  Some networks may include members located in only one country or state and others, like NPAworldwide, have members throughout the world.
  • Formal networks should have rules of engagement so that trust can build among its members. If the formal network is not built on trust, an environment develops where split placements will not flourish. The rules of engagement will typically include how to handle candidate referrals, client poaching, permission to advertise, etc . Also, a formal network should address what happens if something in the split placement process does not go well. Of course, clear and written communication between the recruiters can minimize these situations. As a cooperative of independently-owned recruiting firms, NPAworldwide recruiters are bound to act within the Bylaws approved by our members.
  • Signing the network’s membership agreement or contract binds its members to abide by its rules of engagement and may eliminate the need for a split fee agreement to be signed between trading partners. In NPAworldwide, a separate split fee agreement between trading partners is not necessary since the owners of the member firms signed the NPA Membership Agreement.

In contrast, split placements that come about from a client utilizing Bountyjobs or Scout are only labeled splits because the online platform itself is taking a percentage of the fee off the top. Many frustrations can exist in these types of splits due to the transactional nature of the placement, as well as the loss of candidate ownership and lack of direct communication and relationship building. 

If you are considering adding to your bottom line, consider all of the above when making the best decision for your independent recruiting business.

Improve Client Service with a Split Fee Model

by Veronica Blatt

There are a lot of reasons why we believe a split fee model makes sense for recruitment firms across the globe. NPAworldwide Chair-Elect Jason Elias of Elias Recruitment in Sydney was a recent guest on The Resilient Recruiter podcast to discuss this topic. We often discuss splits as an option to even out cyclical fluctuations in cash flow, or as an economical means of business expansion. Jason sees value in split fee placements that allow him to serve his clients more effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Year-End Split Placement Summary

by Veronica Blatt

split placement summaryNow that 2019 is officially in the rear-view mirror, it’s a good time to show a split placement summary of the activity we saw in our network. We break down split placement data in lots of different ways. Today I will focus on salaries and practice areas. Read the rest of this entry »

The Benefits of Member-Ownership

by Veronica Blatt

Our Global Conference is just 8 weeks away, and I’m neck-deep in the details that lead to a successful event. NPAworldwide’s member-owners elect officers and directors and make decisions about network policies and future plans during the annual meeting portion of the conference.. Member-ownership is perhaps THE thing that makes NPAworldwide different from other split placement organizations. I love this time of year when owners come together to share ideas and debate a wide variety of topics. I’m always impressed and excited by the passionate enthusiasm that members display.

What exactly does member-ownership mean? Well, in it’s simplest terms, the entire network is owned by its members. Each firm becomes an equal co-owner upon joining. We are governed by a board of directors elected from the membership. Members have control over the rules, which are established via a democratic process. Members pool their resources and work cooperatively to reach common goals. Profits can be reinvested in the network or shared among the owners. There is not a private individual or corporate structure that benefits from the profits of the network. Because each member firm is an equal owner of the network, a small recruitment firm can have just as much influence as a larger business.

NPAworldwide members determine the rules that define split placements, membership qualifications, financial responsibilities, dispute resolution and more. Our bylaws were modernized and rewritten in 2012 (not for the first time) and have been amended almost every year since then. As recruitment changes and evolves, our governing documents strive to keep up with that change. Member-ownership means that members can help shape the way they want to work with other members in the network. Members are accountable to each other to ensure the rules are followed. This helps foster a high degree of trust among partners and an increase in split deals.

The ownership of a split placement organization is an important detail. Learn more about different ownership structures here.

Add Split Placements in 2020!

by Veronica Blatt

NPAworldwide will celebrate its 64th year of facilitating split placements next year, so it’s fair to say we’re biased on this topic. Splits are an excellent way to diversify your business focus. They can help you increase your geographic reach. Splits also offer economical business expansion for boutique recruitment firms. If any of these items keep you awake at night, consider adding splits in 2020.

Diversify Your Business

Split placements can help you fill roles in additional occupations and niches. If your engineering client suddenly needs a CFO, a good split partner means you can say yes with confidence. If your niche is softening, let your split partners serve as your business development division and source candidates for THEIR jobs.

Increase Your Geographic Reach

Do you have the ability to source candidates in Germany when your client opens a new manufacturing facility there? Are you knowledgeable of the salary and compliance laws in Australia? How do you interview candidates effectively with a 9 hour time difference between your locations? Many recruiters are intimidated at the prospect of accepting global assignments. Split placements are a perfect solution. Your in-country partner can help source and interview candidates, and may also be able to assist in the details of the offer, local business customs and more.

Economical Business Expansion

As a business owner, you’ve likely grappled with how to effectively grow your business. In many instances, real growth involves a significant investment of capital. Since the outcome is not guaranteed, it’s a risky model. For recruitment firms, it typically means hiring additional recruiters. In turn, you may also need to provide equipment, software, tools and support, and training. You’re committing to ongoing overhead costs with no guarantee that they will be productive enough, all the time, to cover those costs. Split placements mean reaching out to trusted partners when you need them. You don’t need to train them or purchase a LinkedIn seat. When the role is filled, you’re not continuing to pay. If managing people is not your strength, this model will reduce the amount of time you spend on that activity. In turn, that gives you more time to spend on placement activity.

Split placements are not a magic pill to cure all of your business pain, but when done properly can be an outstanding supplement for your firm.