Bounty Jobs -- Wrong For Recruiters? HR! -- Nope because you’re not a car guy!

Ok. I'll admit it. I too got pulled into believing that as a newly independent IT Recruiter I could jump-start my desk with Bounty Jobs by getting right into the recruiting as the job orders are already there, (due to non-compete agreements, I had no JO's initially.) Also there are big companies involved and the playing field is somewhat leveled with big firms. Their model clearly has potential.


It was as simple as coming up with a clever quip and clicking the engage button after which the potential client for your new business is provided a seven day window to determine whether they are ready to hire someone. The cost to the recruiter is 25% of the bounty. I thought "well it's certainly not ideal but after a couple quick shots in the arm, future engagements with Bounty Jobs will be as a supplement to my desk and not a primary source of income which continues to be my approach.


Well after my last two experiences with Bounty Jobs, I have determined that "this is for the birds."   The fundamental flaw with the entire Bounty Jobs concept is the jobs are all submitted by the HR departments, forcing you to deal with a department that simply isn't equipped to deal with IT positions effectively and efficiently, (in my humble opinion). I liken it to taking my car in for repair at the local subway sandwich shop.  "I'm here for car repair Mr Subway-samich-guy!" and leave my car (hoopdie as the kids say). Now he can look at it, scratch his head and even tinker but in the end you’re going to a car guy! Let me say that I am not anti-HR, (or anti-shade tree mechanic) but I have found in the case of HR, their department is generally a pain to work with. Let me provide you just one example. 

Let me preface my example by telling you that I stated clearly in my profile with Bounty Jobs that I require one-on-one phone time with the hiring manager to speak to the position beyond the typical job description, (Not those exact words but you get the point). In HR's defense many times they are simply cutting and pasting the IT Hiring Managers words. (On a side note I don't believe that Hiring Managers are necessarily good at written job descriptions).

I got engaged on what I thought to be a great opportunity, a lead applications developer. I had a limited amount of time with the hiring manager (by conference call with HR! HA!) but felt I had the necessary information to conduct a good search. It's interesting that while on that conference call the HR individual said several times "thats a good question." as did the hiring manager which told me that they found me to be credible, In their eyes I deserve a spot at the table so to speak. At the end of the talk he agreed that I had a grip on what he was looking for and offered his cell number, (good stuff.) I found a couple great candidates, managed a send-out with one (logistics issues), and really looking forward to the next send-out (great candidate, salary, location, ability, attitude etc).

Then things started going south. First off, the HR, talent acquisition 20 something year old could not break herself of the 10-15 minute "phone screen" with my candidates! What!?! In the words of Ken Starr "I'm not a potted plant here!" My candidate, phone screened? If it must be so, then let the hiring manager do it, (the car guy!). Skip your completely unnecessary, counterproductive, senseless phone screen when all you ask is "Do you happen to have any experience in things that I know absolutely nothing about?" "What are your salary requirements?" Someone please help me here! The very fact that I have introduced him is enough for an on-site interview with the hiring manager, period.

I prepped my candidate before this phone screen reminding him that this isn't a money discussion and thought I had covered that ground pretty well with the HR Chickie. Obviously not! What does she do? She asks (according to my candidate verbatim) "What would you like to have as a starting salary?" My candidate feeling compelled to answer, answered as he did with me initially "115K." to which HR Chickie replied "OH!" ("OH!" being 5K north of target on the position). In retrospect, based on the generality of the question I'm equally surprised he didn't say 3 million!

The candidate during my follow-up explained that he would've rather not been asked that as he hasn't spoke to the hiring manager to further discuss the responsibilities of the position and struggled to add that with HR, fearing that he may come off cute or sarcastic.

In my conversation during the initial interview, the candidate gave me the same answer of 115K, after which I asked the candidate, what if I presented you with the "right opportunity", the work, the people, the culture, the commute, growth, opportunity, upward-mobility etc, etc, etc. What kind of pay-cut would you take? His response was 90K! (20K below their max pay).

So here we are. I received an email from HR Chickie, "At this time, we are not going to be moving forward with Bob or Bob."

WHAT? That second Bob is a great candidate! She has decided not to schedule an interview with the hiring manager. (The first Bob had to withdrawal as his circumstances changed and had my blessing.)

I felt like saying "Hey, 20 something yr old Subway-samich-HRchickie your making a big mistake, shouldn't we consult with.... you know the car guy" I didn't of course!

When I once did attempt direct communication with "Car Guy" through email (& cc) earlier on I received a smack on the hands from HR-Chickie "I would appreciate it if you would direct all communication about the candidates and process through me." Really!


Well, that’s where I'm at. My concern with Bounty Jobs is their model should close the gap between the needs of recruiters and those of HR and I'm sure they try to do so. After all, Bounty Jobs relies on placements to make dollars (as do we all.) Honestly, the companies that use Bounty Jobs are stuck in their same way of doing things and the HR departments are stuck in their processes. Someone should come up with a model that works as certain aspects of the Bounty Jobs model appeal to me. As I said earlier the ability to get your foot in the door with larger organizations and being placed somewhat on a level playing field with the big agencies is cool. My thinking is -- make placements, build relationships, Bounty Jobs offering me that leg up.

The bottom line is that one on one interaction with the hiring manager is necessary as he/she can offer insights to the work, skills, culture, soft skills, expectations etc. that cannot be gleaned from the five sentence paragraph that describes the $120K job!


Gut punches come with the territory in this profession and I don’t claim to have all the answers. I continue

to have a teachable spirit as well as the tenacity to keep swinging.

Certainly I’ve learned over the years to let the car guys be car guys, the sandwich guys to be sandwich guys.


(At times I do shade-tree mechanic & fix sandwiches.)





HR, if your company has agreed to a fee, it’s likely that it’s due at least in part to your inability to fill the position efficiently through traditional means. Your company feels that paying me thousands of dollars for a few weeks work puts them further ahead than leaving it to your department.


 I guess what I’m getting at is, stop dropping subway sandwich lettuce under the hood. I know what I’m doing and I’ll have this puppy purring like a well oiled machine.









Disclaimer: This is Travis’ second blog post (resubmitted) that hopefully will not alienate more than a few thousand people. Travis understands fully the necessity in forging lasting, mutually beneficial business relationships with Human Resources Departments and continues to move in that direction and he’s just getting started. Also Travis would like to admit to the entire community that he has gotten a little out of hand with the pictures but wishes to point out that it makes up for the complete lack of them in his first post. :)


Views: 5677

Comment by Dr Linda Pakshong on March 14, 2011 at 12:17pm

Hi, I Followed this thread with interest- we are developing a Job Board & would really like to hear what recruiters & employers want to get from it, incl pricing models,etc! Pls send yr comments & we will listen!!


Comment by Sharyn Yuloff on March 14, 2011 at 12:17pm

As an HR Manager with almost 15 years under my belt, I agree with Randy (if there was a way to "like" Randy's comment, I wouldn't have needed to post anything.)

Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 12:21pm

@ Randy Chambers,


Have you tried to phone any of the HR clients you have been engaged in via BountyJobs?  What was the response?  It probably has nothing to do with BJ, and more to do with the specific client.  I understand that a partnership with an agency is important for success.  As someone whos success is gauged on a number of recruiting metrics, finding the right talent as quickly as possible is very important to me.  I have used BJ frequently, and never hesitate to take a quick (or not so quick) call from an engaged agency who requests it.  If you have information to make your life easier with a particular search, it will make my life easier, and ultimately allow us to find the right talent for the organization.

Comment by David Staiti on March 14, 2011 at 12:33pm
Randy - yes, I've tried to call them on every engagement.  One hung up the phone on me when I announced myself and purpose of the call.  The others were more "pleasant", but all refused to speak wtih me and suggested I put candidates into bountyjobs and they will respond where appropriate.  Half the emails I send through their system get no response.
Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 12:39pm

Thanks David,


SO what makes you think you would get a different response if you were working with them outside of BJ?  Doesn't seem like it is a BJ problem, but that is the mentality of that specific client. 

Comment by Martin H.Snyder on March 14, 2011 at 12:41pm

@Mike Hard- Love the attitude about letting threads go organically rather than working as a sales tool for your own purposes.  Kudos.

@ Travis, great post- not sure your experience is all that linked to just BountyJobs, but a good read anyway and a lesson to any starting recruiter.  

@ Jerry, you are so right about about how nomenclature establishes the canvas.   To me, "bounty" invokes the bad old days of bodyshops, and of course, miscreants on the run who need to be captured.  Not very respectful of candidates, but useful to connote the idea that the service is oriented toward the hiring (capturing) entity rather than candidates. 


Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 12:41pm
One last thing David, that response is probably pretty telling of the client organization.  If I were in your shoes, not sure I would want to place a top candidate with that type of organization...just my two cents...
Comment by Alex Kovalenko on March 14, 2011 at 12:49pm
Who needs Bounty Jobs? Pick up a phone and get some clients..
Comment by Christy Spilka on March 14, 2011 at 1:03pm
You do make some true points with the system but I think it is important (as you stated) to remember that these scenarios are not because of bountyjobs but rather the companies who are working with them. For most of these companies it would be a similar situation if you worked with them on your own. The clients are large orgs with streamlined processes, lengthy vendor list ordeals (which here you get to skip), and long interview processes. I started my company 9 mos ago and bountyjobs has been a nice supplement. I have made two placements and great relationships with top companies that would have taken months to establish. I think they are a good supplement to any recruiter, especially those starting out. There are some things that irk me like when an employer disengages with you for no reason or HR goes on hiatus (which is rare) but that just comes along with the territory! I like your writing style by the way...very funny.
Comment by Gerry Crispin on March 14, 2011 at 1:06pm

Really great post. Little of it but speculation though has any bearing on Bounty Jobs unless you are saying they purposely seek out the very worst HR folks to do business with.

As an HR professional (although definitely not a 'chickie') it is sad how many folks have a title but cannot, in fact, demonstrate a modicum of the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to wear it properly.

The same can be said of every profession but the untrained, poorly trained or simply poorly performing members claiming status as HR seem to present themselves to 3rd party folks in large numbers. The stories are legion.


There are folks in HR somewhere who must be doing it well. Would love to hear one or two stories about them. Maybe we can even find a way to offer an ideal HR partner' award at some appropriate venue to plant a seed about what it would look like if it were done well. Ok, so maybe it is too far fetched and much easier to leave well enough alone.


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