Anatomy of a Successful Split Fee NPA Partnership!

December 9th, 2008 by The Imagination Factory

Gary Eastwood, Beck/Eastwood Recruitment Solutions, Valencia, CA

The beauty of the NPA experience is that there’s no wrong way to work successfully with a trading partner, if the importer and exporter are on the same page. Following is a case study in developing a new trading partner met at an annual conference and developing a partnership that yields multiple split placements.

In my experience, the backbone of a great NPA partnership is finding a process between importer and exporter that is efficient, particularly if you’re working with several different types of positions with different clients. In my case, I met Jeff Kortes from Human Asset Management in Milwaukee at last year’s Nashville conference.

Jeff is an ideal importer for me, as he’s a one-man-band, with more clients than he has time to satisfy with great candidates. I’m more or less, a pure NPA exporter, doing candidate ID and opening the relationship to Jeff, the Primary to the client. Since the meeting, we’ve hit four splits together (3 acceptances in one week!). And, none of them has been particularly easy, with three being relo situations, home sales issues, etc.

The first one was a Buyer. She had issues with the initial offer, but also required sponsorship, so we were able to handle the salary compression issue by managing her expectations, pointing out her opportunities with other companies were limited by her lack of citizenship.

The second one was months in the making, an Engineering assignment with the candidate experiencing every concern in the world, from fear of change, to collecting a November bonus, to the sale of his home in small town Iowa. The client went to bat to iron out all of his issues, including allowing him to work from their Sioux Falls office while he unloads his home, to giving him a January ’09 start date so he could collect the bonus he’s earned in ’08. Jeff and I supplied so much intel to the hiring manager, that this one was a true three-way partnering, with the hiring manager REALLY going the extra mile to bring it home.

The third was another buyer, where the candidate was actually light for a Senior Buyer role, but her palpable hunger for this first US job took her to offer. Our briefing and hand-holding and the candidates willingness to accept tactics and positioning made the difference on that one. Then, we were empowered to make a verbal offer at one salary level and in the eleventh hour, were informed that corporate would only sign off on the hire at $5k less. We handled this glitch and the candidate will start in a week.

The most recent, on Friday evening, Halloween night was fraught with potential, as well. The candidate owns a home nearly fifty miles from the office, doesn’t want to move; he drives low mileage vehicles, including a 4 wheel drive truck in Denver, for winter driving. He also had sky-high salary expectations that needed to be met. Once again, Jeff partnered with the GM and the GM delivered the offer as part of a one year plan that indicated he’d be getting a raise with his PE certification, an April review and the very real expectation that in one year he’d be a team leader. He covered the commute by throwing in a small sign-on bonus as a down payment on a higher mileage commuter vehicle and indicated that in his tenure, he would be at client and prospect sites a lot, so it won’t really be a 5 day commute to the office. That was yet another perfect partnership between hiring manager and both importer and exporter.

With the volume of work Jeff and I are doing, we’ve had to grow our process a lot to keep the pipeline for each job order flowing. We both have defined, if shifting roles in the placement process. In some cases Jeff has has the primary relationship with the candidate, in others I handle the heavy lifting on the candidate side. The important thing is, we recognized the clogs in our flow and re-engineered our working process to be able to optimize the volume we do together, and it’s working!

Finally, it’s still all about the clients and candidates. Our partnership on the hiring process has given our candidates faith that not one, but two recruiters are working hard on their behalf. Second, the clients are quickly realizing Jeff’s value in bringing hard-to-find Engineering and Supply Chain people in and closing acceptances where other vendors have failed.

There are a myriad of other ways to have success in NPA, but this partnership has proven to be effective and really fun! See all of you in San Antonio! Good Hunting.

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