Changing Recruiter JobsRecruiting or Headhunting. Whatever you call it, it’s a big, booming business with the possibility of an even bigger payday.  And in that wide world of recruiting, there are plenty of opportunities, a thousand different pay structures and a lot of competitors.  But while we’re experts in other peoples’ careers, choosing a new path can be as daunting for us as it is for anyone.  If you’re contemplating a change (as Recruiters often are…) here are some points to consider:

Commissions: How Much?

Most of us somehow stumbled into recruiting, and chances are we barely understood the first commission model put in front of us.  But whether you’re looking at a commission focused recruiting role for the first time or the tenth, the first question is automatically quantity: How much will you realistically make in a calendar year?  If you’re an experienced agency recruiter, the answer here is an easy one.  Take the last 12 months of new business you have booked and plug it into this commission model…now remember that you’ll be starting with new tools, new clients, new candidates, new coworkers and everything else that comes with a new role.  Is the gain enough to make up for the lag in placements you’ll experience in a new company?

Commissions: When will I get paid? This is a biggie and one that is often overshadowed by the more pressing, how much.  But getting an idea of when you’ll be paid for business you booked is crucial.  Will you get paid for booking the business right away or will you get paid after your clients pay?  This is a major factor…particularly if you’re looking at a smaller company that might not be able to front large commission payouts.  Additionally, if you’re used to getting accrued commissions fairly often (monthly for instance) can you be comfortable waiting for a quarterly payout?

Job Orders: Who finds the business?

Commission heavy models can be fantastic…they’re exciting, challenging and lucrative.  But they can also be extremely stressful and frustrating.  If you’re looking at a new role and its heavily weighted towards commission, you need to define and understand the role completely.  Will you be responsible only for the recruiting, or will you be responsible for generating clients as well?  Will there be a dedicated salesperson bringing not just business, but relationships in the door? Certainly there are preferences on both sides, but in a commissions based world, the devil is in the details.  You may be the best recruiter in the business, but if you have a weak sales team or weak relationships…you won’t be making the money you’re worth.

What have you got to Lose?

It’s fun to look at a new job offer and think of all the gains and possibilities. But for recruiters and headhunters who make their living off commissions, you have to look at what you’re walking away from.  And the answer to this varies.  You can stand to lose a lot if you move on; a developed book of business, commissions, clients, benefits etc.  Or you can be someone with little to lose; business may be declining, commissions shrinking, benefits being cut back.  Defining your losses isn’t an easy task and there are no answers that someone else can provide. And once you’ve gotten all the information and defined the opportunity down to the tiniest details, here’s the real question: What’s stopping you? What’s stopping you from moving today?  And be honest with yourself.  If it seems like a great opportunity but you have too much to lose, so be it.  If it’s a great opportunity and you know you can succeed, then trust yourself and take the dive.

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