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: 5327

Comment by Shannon Drawbaugh on March 14, 2011 at 2:12pm

Travis, I would encourage you to give BountyJobs a few more tries. I've had a lot of success with them, and I really enjoy working with them. I didn't make a placement with them right away either. You have to have realistic expectations. The same issues are going to exist with every client whether the client is a BountyJobs client or not. When you 1st started recruiting, you didn't quit recruiting after you didn't fill your 1st 2 JOs, did you? No, of course not! BountyJobs is a source for recruiters to get some new clients w/o having to do all the marketing calls. You have to take it for what it is. There will be clients that are duds and there will be clients that you develop a tight relationship with....same way as it is when you're working on your own clients. Unfortunately in the last several years, more and more companies are choosing to make the HR person the main point of contact rather than the Hiring Mgr. I, without doubt, work with more HR people these days than I did 5-7 yrs ago. It's just moving in that direction. Hiring Mgrs have their own responsibilities outside of recruiting, and I'm sure all the recruiting partners were just taking too much of their time. It's not BountyJobs fault that HR people are expected to function in that capacity these days.

Have you found out who your Account Rep is at BountyJobs? My Account Rep knows me well! And I will tell you that it comes in handy. There have been a few times where I was working on a position where things didn't seem to be moving along, or maybe the client wasn't communicating the best they should. I just call my rep, ask her what's going on, and she talks to the Account Mgr for the client, and she always gets back to me with an update within 24 hrs or so. They are a good source of information.

I'll tell you...I have clients on there that don't really want to chit chat and prefer email...and there are also clients where I have their cell ph #s. Those dynamics are always going to exist. Bottom line is that I've made over 100K in fees from BountyJobs. I just made 2 placements on there in the last 6-8 weeks, and I've got 27K coming my way soon...not too shabby for not making any marketing calls for those clients. And now they know who I am!

Give it another and keep an open mind:)

Comment by DK Burnaby on March 14, 2011 at 2:22pm

As a corporate recruiter with a very successful agency background, this post rankled me on a few counts. First of all, I'm tired of the old way of thinking that HR doesn't know what they are doing. The modern era of corporate recruiting is one in which companies are developed highly skilled talent acquisition teams that are fully capable of filling the vast majority of their difficult openings. For example, I fill about 98% of my companies some 80-100 technical openings each year without any assistance from agencies. From time to time, when I've filled the 7th difficult slot on a new team with a Principal in some new fangled technology and finally tapped out my network, I do turn to an agency to assist. So yes, it is because I haven't been able to fill it - but not because I'm inept at filling these roles. I can guarantee you that I haven't yet met an agency recruiter that understands technical positions better than I do - and I've worked with a lot of them, on both sides of the desk. Agency/independent recruiters need to get on board with the idea that there are highly competent corporate recruiters who make excellent partners when you treat them with respect and don't simply assume them to be simple minded paper pushers. That kind of attitude is a sure fire way to never get my company's business.


Second, I have used Bounty Jobs on occasion when I didn't have a referral or known entity to turn to in a new market. In those cases, BJ is a way to "play the field".  The thing about BountyJobs is that there are a lot of recruiters out there - many willing to work for lower fees than the agencies you contact directly. As the corporate recruiter, you are inundated with requests to work on your req and you then have the job of sorting out the truly terrible from the mediocre and the occasional bright star. But you, as the agency recruiter working through BountyJobs, need to think of this more like a dating service. I'm not going to trust you to take up my business partner's time, on my recommendation, unless I know that you are a professional who can deliver results. Just because you SAY you are and demand to be treated that way, doesn't mean you are. Just as you may assume that I'm a simple paper pusher, I could just as easily assume that you are a shady salesman who knows little of what you are actually selling. When I feel comfortable with a recruiting firm, I am always willing put them in touch with the manager directly if they feel they need that. But, you can't simply expect to sign up on BountyJobs and magically cultivate a strong partnership with the internal recruiting team - you have to actually make the same effort you would if you were to sell any other client on using your services. The only difference is that BountyJobs has taken the lead finding and the negotiating out of the equation. The relationship still has to be built.


Think of it this way, if you went down to the used car lot to buy a car for your daughter, and the sales guy said, "Hey, that's fine man, but if the car is for your daughter, then I need to spend an hour with her alone."  Would you feel comfortable with that?  Probably not, and probably not even after you decided you liked the guy... but if that were a business partner instead, then yeah, once you vetted the guy - maybe you'd let him talk to your partner.


I think you came to BountyJobs with the wrong expectations, and I think your viewpoint on internal corporate recruiting teams is overly general and inaccurate. Like any stereotype, it's only true part of the time - and buying into it as a universal truth only makes you sound ignorant. I won't say there aren't HR people who don't fit that mold - there are plenty - but there is a growing population of very talented corporate recruiting teams (especially in tech companies) and it would behoove you to learn how to respect them and partner with them. If anything in this recession, corporations have learned to build expertise in house and do more with less, and internal talent acquisition teams have learned to be more resourceful and prove their value with more effective skills rather than spending more.

Comment by Travis Yeager on March 14, 2011 at 2:23pm

Randy, you crack me up man. So as I understand it, you work in HR? So my candidate would interview with me for say 1-1/2 to 2 hours, with you for an hour of so, and then with the hiring manager and possibly his team and being a technical position that last could go awhile too. Wow. We should partner and you can pay me a fee to send the resume and you can just interview them.

I would think your manager would realize that I make nothing if I don't bring the right candidate whether it's a 25K fee or 100. I know it isn't the case with everyone but my goal would be to find, qualify and attract the best talent possible (not available, possible) and deliver that a few times to an organization to the point that I'm their first call. 5-6 like yourself and I'm recruiting off the back of my yacht. Better yet, I'll send them to you without interviewing them (as were covering the same ground anyway) and go bass fishing right now. Haha.....

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 14, 2011 at 2:26pm

I love recruiters.  We are always looking for a way to get our candidates into a company.  We do then we don't like it that HR doesn't play by our rules.


Here's the drill.  If you look at the Bounty Jobs site you know how it works.  You know the terms.  If you want to play in that venue by all means do so.  If you don't like the terms or the way it works, don't use it.  If you use it and you don't like the end results it's a little like ordering an anchovie pizza.  You ordered the damn thing you took a bite and gagged.  Ok, throw it out and don't order another one.


Post is funny Travis but you have to look it at like the anchovie pizza.  You ordered the damn thing.  Did you really think that you would get an HR rep with the capability to utilize a recruiter effectively or who wanted to if they were engaging through that venue.  Ok you took a bite, didn't like the taste of anchovies, so toss it and go on down the road.  Just because you made your expectations clear does not mean you get to run their process.  You got to talk to the hiring manager, you got to submit a candidate.  Your candidate opened his mouth and knocked himself out.  Wonder what would have happened if you had sent this young lady an email and said, "Bob may tell you that he is looking for 115K.  He told me the same thing but when i described your company and the opportunity he told me that he would consider 90K."  "Just wanted to give you a heads up that candidates will always ask for more than they will take if they like the position so don't let that knock him out if he mentions more than you want to pay."  If the HR rep  or internal is young and has been given a list of things to screen candidates they will follow directions to the letter because they do not want to bring someone in then get their butt chewed because their hiring manager got hit between the eyes by a candidate interviewing then asking for more money.


I think the error in this one was not  Bounty Jobs,the HR person or perhaps you it was the candidate.  If he had given her a range of 90 to 120K he would probably have moved forward.  If you knew that he was over their range you should have beaten him about the head and ears to be sure he didn't open his mouth and knock himself out.

Comment by Robert Wilson on March 14, 2011 at 2:32pm


All the posts are great.  I even appreciated Mike Hard's post, although I think it was more of a sales pitch.  Having been an "ummm, previous HR guy" before becoming a full time recruiter, I can feel the pain but recognize the issue.  The HR person you encountered gives a bad rap on HR and is inexcusable for her actions.  She should have engaged the IT manager in handling the call.  Regardless, it still does not excuse bountyjobs.  I too have tried bountyjobs and am engaged right now with one firm.  I doubt I will engage again as I am having the same problem as before and the same problem as mentioned above, and that is the company bounty contact is not responding to submissions.  They have 7 days to respond  but if you watch it they may respond to one submission for the same job and never get back on the other candidates and leave you hanging and hanging as they are undecided.  Bounty does not police the companies as they say they will.  I had one job two years ago and found they backdoored me with one of my submissions a couple of months later.  When I called bountyjobs, they said they cannot police everyone and "was sorry that it happened.  Better luck next time".  I swore off it then but came back a couple of times since.  I make one to two placements each month but never with bountyjobs. I have much better exerience with the phone and my networking skills than to deal with the impersonality and undecided from the companies as Randy mentioned. The concept of bountyjobs was a good one but it "ain't" working for most recruiters and it definately forces recruiter value to commodity status.  Rodney Dangerfield got more respect.  In the mean time I see multiple recruiters being engaged for the same jobs and the job gets posted on 50 sites and every recruiter is calling the same people.  We waste our time stumbling over the candidates.  If you are there the minute the job is posted and have a candidate immediately, you have may have a chance if you can vet them fast enough.  Who can make a living this way?   Plus, the fees are getting more and more ridiculous. 10%, 15%.  Fixed fees that equal less than 10%.  Maybe it works for the foreign firms who can do research during night and make calls in the day to lock in candidates and pay their folks $2 - $5 a day.  I actually have seen postings go up and recruiters submit candidates within minutes, knowing dang well they have not truly vetted the candidate for the job.   Companies and candidates will get turned off by this venue.  Recruiters already are.  Bounty will not stay competitive letting this go on for ever.  

Comment by Travis Yeager on March 14, 2011 at 2:46pm
DK Burnaby, I'm not making generalizations about the abilities of some internal recruiting staffs as some are extremely competent and typically don't hire outside help. My point is this, if what you have works, don't hire me. Keep the fee for a pizza party. If you hire me however, I would hope thats it's based on your belief (or leap of faith) that I can deliver and have some respect for my processes as well. Like I said before, this was just one instance, with someone not as experienced as yourself that clearly had some issues later in the process.
Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 4:19pm



So you knew this was coming, right?  First things first.  I love this thread.  I love the discussion.  If more corporate HR and more agencies had this discussion it would make all of our lives easier.


In any event, I am so glad to hear I crack you up.  Perhaps I should quit my day job...that could actually make life easier for you too!  Yes, you impression of our process is accurate.  Would you expect that we would hire your candidate without interviewing them at all?  Just based on your feedback alone?  I imagine your response to this is going to be a resounding no.  So, if my guess is correct, you do value an organization interviewing your candidate prior to making a decision?  Okay, glad we got that straight.  So if that is the question, my next thought is this.  Who on the interview team do you think we should pull from the process?  Hiring Manager?  Hiring Manager's Manager?  Hiring Managers colleagues?  Director of Talent Sourcing?  Please note.  I do not interview every candidate that my organization hires.  I only interview every candidate that my organization hires for roles that I am specifically involved with, which tend to be Director/VP and above.  Additionally, I should note, that every candidate that is hired is infact interviewed by a recruiter/HRBP within the organization, whomever is responsible for the recruitment of the role.  So you don't think I add value to the interviewing process?  Lets see, I have managed the recruitment process and hired about 1500 people over the past 10+ years.  Some of that way high volume recruiting for a Fortune 10 organization (300+ people per year).  My CIO who hires technology folks, may interview 10-15 per year.  MAX.  What makes you think I (or someone in my function) will not add a significant amount of value to the interviewing process? 


How often in your day are you having a conversation with a hiring manager about a candidate that you presented, that you don't think should be hired by the hiring manager?  My guess is not very often.  So yes, while it is understood that you don't make a dime unless you place a highly skilled candidate, you cant convince me that you have an unbiased perspective.  You will always think your candidate is great.  Rightfully so too.  Hopefully, you wouldn't present a candidate that you didn't think was great.


From my side, not every candidate that a recruiter presents is great.  Some are far from it.  There are a lot of candidates out there who aren't fee worthy.  This may shift as the market heats up, where companies may start paying fees for B players, but that certainly hasn't been the case over the past three or four years.


As far as you going bass fishing is concerned.  Your perspective of covering the same ground is flawed.  If that were the case, then why would an organization have more than one person interview a candidate?  The cost to hire a great candidate is significant.  The cost to make the wrong hiring decision is significant times ten (or more depending on the role).  So a structure process with the appropriate interview team makes a lot of sense.  I am not in favor of having someone interview "just cuz", or because "they always interview this type of candidate".  Furthermore, I am very aware of the candidate experience.  For my current role I interviewed with 8 people, plus a behavioral interview with a third part industrial psychologist (its actually amazing that I got the job)!  Is that a bit excessive?  Possibly.  But regardless, as the person within my organization who is ultimately responsible (and accountable) for our talent acquisition initiatives, I want to make sure we have the right balance of interviews and assessments, and timeliness of process to make sure we are finding (not losing) talent.


Lastly, agency recruiters are a dime a dozen.  You know as well as I do that it is a high turnover role.  Having said that, you also know, as well as I do, that GREAT agency recruiters are worth their weight in gold.  Unfortunately, you've got the 80-20 rule, and it takes time to find the 20% that are great.  Once I find them, I will use them forever more.  Regardless of your goal to find and attract the best candidate possible, the proof is in the pudding.  Over time hopefully you prove yourself right.  But I am not going to believe you just because you say so, before there is a track record to prove otherwise.  There is little risk with using a contingency recruiter.  But great reward.

The Comedian,



PS.  What are you doing on this blog anyhow?  You have spent valuable time that you could have spent on the other hand...I am Corporate HR, so I don't have anything better to do with my time, right?

Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 4:26pm
Sorry for the typos/grammatical errors...I don't see an edit I should read what I write before I click "add comment"...
Comment by Brian K. Johnston on March 14, 2011 at 4:32pm
Good, Fair/Balanced article.... I lost interest in Bounty Jobs 3+ Years ago... It is not a service for "A players" (Internal or External).  Best to ALL, Brian-
Comment by Doug Boswell on March 14, 2011 at 4:45pm


Though I could go into a lot of detail about why I don't use Bountyjobs, the bottom line for me is that your post gives me no new reason to re-visit the prospect.

However, you didn't have a potential placement derailed because of Bountyjobs so much as your own lack of candidate control. There's a lack of employer control evident also, but that's tough to get. Let me explain.

When you prep a candidate to speak, or not to speak, about money you need to do a couple of role-playing scenarios with them. Tell them how to respond, then ask them the question and see if they respond correctly. Next, prep them to respond to the HR person's attempt to over come their objection. Advise the candidate that if the HR person gets an answer out of them, it will be the wrong answer, no matter what, and the interview process will end. They will never see the hiring authority. Qualifications have nothing to do with this. It's a trap that HR may not even realize it is setting. Basically, do not ever talk about money until the very end of the final interview, and even then never be the one to bring it up, and never quote a figure. Always have the employer make an offer, then respond from there.

When you prep the employer, especially for an HR phone screen, always state that you have already discussed the company's starting salary range with the candidate and that he is comfortable with it, and is very interested in exploring the opportunity. Then ask the HR person, "You're not going to ask my candidate what they are looking for in compensation before anyone has the chance to detail the full scope of the position and describe the environment and potential opportunity, are you?" If the HR person says they will not, when follow up with, "Can I have your word on that?"

Later if they do ask anyway, then at least your candidate has been prepped to deal with it. And you have an opportunity to get a re-do on the phone screen if your candidate drops the ball and gives out a figure. If your candidate caves in on this, you need to get the HR person on the phone right away and do some damage control, not wait a week for a reject email. You need to say something like, "You asked my candidate about money. I though we agreed that you didn't need to. Anyway, he gave you a figure that is well above the range he is considering at other positions and regrets that he may have given you the wrong impression. He would like to speak with you further about the position as he believes there may be significant non-monetary benefits to your company's opportunity."

If HR says that they will indeed ask about compensation, then you have even more motivation to focus your pre-interview prep with the candidate and tell them that the HR person is going to ask about money and you are going to side-step it every time it comes up. Also you need to sell the HR person on why this is a bad idea. Candidates get the wrong impression about a company's intentions if asked for a salary figure before there is any info to base an answer upon. It reflects poorly on a company's priorities and may make it difficult for me to get the candidate to proceed with the interview process.

A candidate's final response when the HR person gets insistent, should be something along the lines of, "If I like what I see throughout the interview process and believe that I would really like to work here, that this is the "home" I looking for, and if you think I'm your best candidate, then make me a fair offer and I will accept."

Unfortunately your use of Bountyjobs as a way into a new client company probably lumps you in with all the other low-end recruiters they have to deal with from there. Your credibility and expertise is discounted, and it is difficult to control an HR person who looks down on you.



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