What do Your Commission Plans and Metrics Look Like?

I'm wondering what different agency commission plans look like. Do you have to meet metrics to be eligible for commission? 

My metrics are based upon interviews, reference checks, send outs, interviews, and of course placements. 

Is it pretty typical for a recruiter to not receive commission for the first year of work even if their placement goals are met?

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Comment by pam claughton on March 9, 2013 at 7:15pm

No, it's not at all typical. Commissions are based on placements made, not on metrics. You may be bonused on metrics, but that's something extra. Recruiters usually will start seeing commission checks by about the six month mark, depending on the size of their draw, or base. Depending on how well you bill of course too, you may see commission sooner or later. But, you surely should have seen some before the year mark. 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 11, 2013 at 11:18am
No, not typical. If a base or draw is set so high that a recruiter is not making commission within the first six months then commission is either not achievable or the recruiter is simply working for a flat salary much like internals. All those other metrics don't mean a lot in my world if a recruiter is not making placements and making commission.
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 11, 2013 at 11:52am

placements is the #1 metric that matters and is really the only thing you should get commission for. If you're NOT making placements, then it's time to look at the rest of that activity. You should have a handle on that, and know how many calls - screens - submittals - interviews it takes to get to a placement, but beyond that placement is all that matters. I agree with these ladies - 6 months is a reasonable target.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 11, 2013 at 11:54pm
Wow... Might be time to at least start conversations with competitors... Who cares about activity at thatvlevel of detail when you're more than paying for your desk?
Comment by Jerry Albright on March 12, 2013 at 8:49am

Sorry ladies - but I must be true to my personal brand and disagree with some of this.  Metrics most certainly are important (not that any of you dismissed them entirely) and should absolutely be one of the items one is "incentivised" toward in the beginning of their career.


Early on (let's say the first 6 months or so) the LAST thing you want to be focues on is the placement.  A new recruiter needs to master the pieces and parts of the placement.  Only THEN can you begin to master the placement itself.


New recruiters should be paid for sendouts and job orders as well.  Without sendouts and job orders - you've got nothing.  You'll never get to the holy grail.


Perhaps I'm way out of touch - but new recruiters shooting for the stars from day one is not the best option.


But I'm drifiting.  What was the question??? 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 12, 2013 at 10:45am

ok Jer I'll take that... IF Cristina (or the recruiter in question) is brand new to the industry. I can see paying on activity as incentive to learn the basics. Since Cristina has been in this job nearly a year, is paying for her desk, and yet isn't seeing commission because (in part) she hasn't checked enough references? As an agency owner do you find this in any way a sensible way to do business / retain top performers?

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 12, 2013 at 12:30pm
Sales people are paid a base salary to give them the ability to pay their bills while they are learning, building their client base etc. if any sales rep covers their base and produces sales over and above their base they should receive commission. I have never heard of any sales rep not being paid commission, in any industry, because they ddn't make a certain number of cold calls, didn't pass out enough business cards or any other metric that somebody comes up with. In my opinion using some metric to avoid paying commission when a recruiter is placing people is a phony metric that discourages any sales person.

I would agree that learning the pieces and parts is the basis of what we do but if it takes longer than six months for someone to learn them they probably are not going to make it in recruiting. That being said, the objective of what we do is placing people.

I worked for a metrics freak when I first started in the business. After three months of fussing at me because I had not filled out all her little reports, she came in and said she didn't understand how I was placing people without following the metrics. When I explained that it occurred to me that taking a good candidate and getting them an interview or taking a job order and finding a candidate that fit and getting them interviewed made more sense to me than making 20 mindless cold calls so I could put numbers in little boxes, she looked perplexed and went back to her office. To make her happy I slapped lots of bogus numbers in her little forms and went right on doing what I was doing. When my cash in hit over 100k (1977 numbers) at the end of the third quarter, her husband came in and asked me what support I needed, an assistant, a bigger office, what? Just one thing will help, get the metrics monster off my tail. The time I spend making up all these numbers is time that could be spent selling people. It's called working smart and focused instead of throwing numbers at the wall. He agreed and I broke every record for cashin in their 40 year history. My base was minimum wage, I had to make three times my base cash in per month then got 20% commish on anything over that and commissions were paid quarterly.

It didn't take but about another eight months for me to figure out that starting my own agency was worth the risk. In line with my feeling about metrics monsters, when I start a new recruiter no matter what their base. The first placement they make they get the full fee, the house takes nothing. I want recruiters who take the attitude that their desk is their own business. I help them start their business and teach them what they need to do to make their business work. However they want to run it after that is up to them.

My ,ER, uh, personal brand is that the objective is to drain the swamp, not count the alligators, paint pink spots on their heads or figure out how many toes each one has on each foot.
Comment by Jerry Albright on March 12, 2013 at 12:57pm

Where are you getting this "no pay without reference checks" stuff?  Is that in another discussion?  If so - I've missed it.


So my reply was not addressing a recruiter not being paid commission if they did not complete enough references.  That alone would lead me to believe the owner/manager had a few screws loose - and needed to come up with more money than they deserved.  Knowing what I know about agencies, owners and control freaks, I'd have to suggest making a move.


But to Sandra's point - learning to make sendouts, and the activity you need to keep up - is a far cry from counting alligators or painting on them.  That analagy doesn't quite relate to mastering the basics of our profession.  But nice try.  :)

Comment by Jerry Albright on March 12, 2013 at 1:17pm

Oops.  I missed that whole thing.  I've been so busy doing sendouts - I've barely got time to read anything.


Please diregard most of what I've said (other than the stuff that made you think "Wow - that guy is right on!".

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 12, 2013 at 1:57pm

LOL we love you Jer. You are right - metrics (in the sense that recruiters have to know what they're doing and what needs to get done to make placements) are important. If we're understanding Cristina correctly, she's making placements, more than paying for her desk, but not getting commission because she hasn't hit metrics targets (like reference checks, send outs, etc.)

Cristina - correct me if I got that wrong, but I think the consensus is 1. Metrics (send outs) matter, 2. you should be compensated / commissioned based on making placements (and making $ for the agency) and 3. (and this is my opinion alone) you work for a miserly wacko who's keeping your money. :)

But what do I know, I'm a corporate recruiter... :)


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