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: 5698

Comment by Amber on March 11, 2011 at 2:42pm
I'm glad you posted this, because I recently looked at Bounty Jobs but have not went forward with it. I have been recruiting for 2 years, and thought it might be a good way to add some "new blood" to our office. In addition to our current clients and cold calling, like you said, as a supplement. We are also training someone virtually, so I thought it might be something good for them to start with. Things have been picking up, but it would be nice to have a few more client orders that our virtual trainee could focus on. Did you have positive experiences and/or placements through it?
Comment by Jerry Albright on March 11, 2011 at 2:55pm

Travis - great post here.  I like the humor, the angst and the subway analogies.  All in all - a fantastic read.


Here are my thoughts.  For starters I don't even like the premise.  "Bounty"?  What "bounty" are they talking about here?  To me - a bounty is almost suggestive of something that isn't earned.  Like - "Here you go kid.  Thanks for the help.  Give somethin' to your little brother too..."


I don't work for bounties.  I earn a fee.  My accountant doesn't charge a bounty.  My lawyer doesn't either.  They charge me a fee for their service.


Am I possibly getting hung up on the semantics here?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  To me it's the canvas for the entire idea.


My guess is that in a larger sense these companies would rather not have to deal with us "vermin" out here.  Signing on to "Bounty" Jobs gives them a corral to put us in.  Something like you'd find in a cattle yard. 


When the smoke clears at the close of each business day we're all left with the same choice.  Where do we spend our time tomorrow?


On a side note - you might want to get past your disdain for HR.  Some of my top clients these past few years have an ally in HR that is instrumental in our relationship.  Make friends with them.  Make friends with everybody.


Cheers!  P.S.  I've got a rattle going on somewhere beneath my Chevy.  I think it's coming from the side rail but I can't pin in down.  I've got a six pack if you've got some time......

Comment by Travis Yeager on March 11, 2011 at 3:01pm

Thanks for the comment Amber. The short answer is no. I think it has less to do with the Bounty Jobs format and more to do with the client companies and their way of doing things. I think the best thing you can do if you utilize Bounty Jobs, is to convey in your profile as well as in the engagement request area, your particular expectations. Doing so will insure that before engagement is accepted that they are aware of your needs. I've managed a couple send-outs, so the process clearly works, I just need to make the necessary adjustments on the front end to eliminate process issues. The client companies have the option to not engage you in their search if they find your requests unreasonable.

I would rather alienate the few that are inflexible, rather than suffer trying to change methods that work. 

Many would disagree that bounty jobs is viable, however I've found that their service is not the issue at all as much as it is the same ol' song and dance all recruiters are familiar with when it comes to HR.

Comment by Travis Yeager on March 11, 2011 at 3:04pm
Haha, Jerry thanks for the comment and yeah I can help with the rattle if you'll allow me the one on one engagement before I commit to only 6. --The dude abides.
Comment by Alex Kovalenko on March 14, 2011 at 11:47am
We worked with them in the past and it was nothing but a big waste of time. You can not speak to a hiring manager, positions already got put onhold. You really had no placement control. I am so happy we decided to remove our profile from their web site. and stop wasting time.
Comment by Randy Alexander on March 14, 2011 at 11:56am

Thanks for the post Travis.  Quite funny actually.  What I am struggling with is the connection you are making between Bounty Jobs and the hiring practice of a certain (or perhaps multiple) organizations?  It doesn't seem to me that this has anything to do with the Bounty Jobs platform. 


Additionally, whether you like it or not, that 20 something HR Chickie can either be a friend or foe to you.  And really, the choice is yours.  Have some respect for her, and the work that she does (again, whether you like it or not).  I am a 30 something HR Guy, ok, Director of Talent Acquisitions at a billion dollar company (I know, I know, pretty small company), but guess what, I am also going to have a phone interview with your candidate before moving him forward in the process to the hiring manager.  The very fact that you believe your introduction of the candidate alone warrants an in person interview with the hiring manager is almost as funny as your narrative in your posting.  And I use almost loosely. 


My intention certainly isn't to offend you here, and I apologize if I have done so.  Would be more than happy to have a discussion with you around each of our perspectives.

Comment by Jerry Albright on March 14, 2011 at 12:01pm

@Randy - Right on!


While the post here is certainly entertaining - I'm with you.  The "I hate HR" shtick is a one way trip to the poor house.  My top "newer" clients of late have HR as a focal point in my relationship with them.  HR is no longer "the lady that use to be the secretary but had to take over HR" so to speak.

Many are highly trained, work hard to learn their profession, and can be a fantastic ally throughout the process.

Comment by Mike Hard on March 14, 2011 at 12:12pm

This may sound strange from the guy who runs BountyJobs, but I LOVED this post. Travis - congrats on a great one (you will get LOTS of comments). I saw 2 things in this post: 1) the value (or pain) of working with HR; and 2) BountyJobs as the tool HR is using to work with agencies.


I'll actually leave it to others to comment on BountyJobs. My bias is evident. The one point I will confess is that we do aim towards making the job of the corporate recruiter easier. There was an excellent post last week about how hard it is these days to handle the volume of jobs passing thru the desk of corporate recruiters, and we give them a way to manage that. While I know some agencies don't like Bounty, there are many that do, and we're working constantly to improve the connection between HR and headhunters all the time. There are many agencies that, once they've connected with HR thru Bounty, create great connections and relationships.


Re: having to deal with HR, however, I take a different view. There are many HR people that not only do a great job, but have to limit agency access to hiring managers. We talk to hundreds of corporate recruiters a week and I think you'd be surprised at how hard they work, how overwhelmed they are right now, and how most of them want a constructive relationship with agencies.

Comment by David Staiti on March 14, 2011 at 12:14pm

Excellent posts - to add my two cents, my experiences have been similar.  I went out on my own recently, and whereas I never would have considered using bountyjobs at my old employer, I thought it might give my new business a shot in the arm.  I was wrong.

My main problem is that I run my business as a relationship driven one.  I work through referrals, old fashioned networking, and building long-term partnerships with candidates and clients.  Bountyjobs is the exact antithesis to this model, which has worked well for me for 10+ years.  There are no relationships with bountyjobs, and the nature of their model means that when I do talk to the client, it is often only by email, or I feel immediately lumped in with all the other "joe recruiters" that line up in droves for the bountyjobs approach.

Secondly, the fees are often ridiculous.  I rarely, if ever, take a search below 25%.  This is because I'm very good at what I do, I've built my skills and network over 10 years, and my ratios are excellent.  Even if you can find a bountyjobs client fee at 25%, you are giving up a HUGE portion of that.  What you get in return is a client who is all over the place, and fielding recycled candidates from many, many recruiters of lesser ability.  Why would I want more competition to fill a job, be lumped in with poor to mediocre recruiters, and give up a massive portion of my fee - in the unlikely event I can be successful?

Finally, bountyjobs seems to promote itself as acting as your "sales force", but if they worked directly for me, frankly I'd fire them.  I service the NY metro market and I do accounting & finance search.  I'm turning some jobs away right now because I'm so busy.  I have more jobs on my own, than bountyjobs has for me (potentially), in the NY metro market!  I'm a one man operation!  Secondly, if I hired a Biz Dev person to just get new clients and fees, I'd never let them take 100k+ searches at 15 and 18% (and then have to give bountyjobs 25% of that).

Overall, I'm not going to continue to use bountyjobs.  I think that their model is perfect though for the types of recruiters who give our industry a bad reputation.  It is also good for the type of client that isn't thinking strategically about their hiring.  To them, bountyjobs probably is a somewhat better filtering mechanism than a simple job board posting.  To date, the types of clients and attitdues I've encountered on bounty don't suggest to me that they are the types of clients I'd want to partner with anyway.

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

Good commentary, Travis

I've been experimenting with BountyJobs for over two years without success. Their biggest detriment is impersonability. That is, the ability to interact with client HR via email or phone is essentially non-existent either before a resume is submitted or after. Frequently, an "undecided" message might display for up to eight weeks before a "rejected" is received. In the interim, HR does not reply to emails or phone messages. Hence, I'm just a non-person or a commodity to them.

Anymore, I just use them to help determine how the market is doing for my niche.


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