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(Editor’s note: Top Echelon Contracting was started on April 7, 1992, a little more than four years after Top Echelon Network. TEC President Debbie Fledderjohann wanted to say a few words to commemorate the occasion and thank all of the recruiters who have made Top Echelon successful.)

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Top Echelon Contracting, the recruiter’s back office solution, has experienced historic changes in the economy, technology, demographics and political uncertainty since our start-up in 1992. But during the past 25 years, we have experienced significant growth and have been blessed in so many ways.

When I look back over the past 25 years, the number one thing that stands out to me is the character, heart, integrity, and hard work of so many recruiters that I’ve had the pleasure of working with since 1993. We appreciate every single recruiter who allowed us to be their back office. Because our model is very simple (we are the back office only), and without the recruiters, we wouldn’t have a business.

Recruiting is a difficult career, and I have so much respect for the people who had to change their business models to incorporate contract staffing based on the shifting needs of their client companies. Clients have been very focused to reduce costs and increase flexibility, so they fully embraced the blended workforce model and asked recruiters to supply contract candidates in addition to direct hire.

Plus recruiters are also experts in human nature because you have to work with so many different age groups. Ironically, today in contract staffing, Millennials and Baby Boomers are very interested in contract staffing. Successful recruiters are embracing both age groups, as well as everyone in between.

To date, we have placed over 16,000 contractors in all 50 states, and we even worked in some foreign countries in the early years. The contractors we place mirror the recruiters we work with on a daily basis . . . recruiters in the technical, professional and healthcare niches.

Today is a perfect time to sincerely THANK EVERY RECRUITER who has used our back office services! As we continue to grow during the next 25 years, I’m looking forward to what the future holds, but more importantly, I’m looking forward to working with so many caring and dedicated recruiters.

In this special Top Echelon Contracting issue of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog, Diva Milani of Tuscany Enterprises is the Recruiter of the Week!

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Diva has made seven Network split placements since joining TE in March of 2015.
  • She makes it a priority to attend recruiter networking events and build trading partner relationships.
  • She’s currently ranked #14 in the Network in terms of contract placement fees through the first quarter of 2017.

Diva Milani has embraced Top Echelon Network, split placements, and contracting. She’s leveraged the tools and services of TE to make more money. And now, in her own words, she’ll explain the reasons for her success!

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Diva Milani of Tuscany Enterprises

Diva Milani

I started my professional recruiting business in 1995 and joined Top Echelon in 2015. Had I known about Top Echelon prior to 2015, I would have most certainly become a member many years ago! I see it as a solid value-add to my business model on multiple levels.

Partnering with others!

I’ve been working solo for the majority of the past 22 years, except for a few years back, when I added some people to my team that I trained in recruiting. (Talk about labor-intensive work!) None of those recruiters worked out long term and I was back to working the full life cycle of the business on my own. I did everything: marketing, account management, sourcing, interview scheduling, candidate coaching, offer negotiations, invoicing, you name it. And I had never made a “split placement” prior to joining Top Echelon.

During all the years that I worked round-the-clock due to a tsunami of job requisitions, it would have been a blessing to be part of a split network where I could have engaged the assistance of experienced recruiters on positions I did not have the bandwidth to work on properly. And I also could have said “Yes” to even more business! And during the years when the job market was in the dumps, or some of my clients implemented a temporary hiring freeze, it would have been great to have good opportunities to partner on with other recruiters so the cash flow continued. I have also found the network to be a beneficial resource when marketing top-tier talented professionals that choose me to act as their recruiting agent on their confidential job search.

New challenges leading to added success!

Mid to senior-level Information Technology roles have been my bread-and-butter all these years, and where I’ve enjoyed the greatest success in my business. I’ve placed “A” candidates in senior level IT roles within manufacturing companies, software development firms, consumer packaged goods organizations, global wineries, and other industries. And I’ve filled my fair share of senior level Finance/Accounting roles and dabbled in Sales/Marketing positions, as well.

But one of the most delightful and unexpected surprises I have enjoyed as a direct result of Top Echelon (just this year in fact) is the traction I’ve been able to make in new areas, which has allowed me to continue to be challenged in my talent acquisition efforts, namely positions in Automotive Engineering. So through other members of Top Echelon and some unique recruiting opportunities, I’ve shifted my paradigm in this regard and I’m finding a refreshed enthusiasm for the business, even after all these years! It’s always good to be stretched and challenged and continue to learn and grow!

New contract staffing options!

As a Talent Acquisition professional specializing in IT, contract staffing has always been part of my business model, and has often been a lucrative endeavor that also provides regular cash flow between direct hire placements. However, the consultants that have been subcontracted to clients through my company have been very high-level subject matter experts that invoiced Tuscany Enterprises on a Corp-to-Corp or 1099 basis.

With Top Echelon Contracting, I no longer need to be reluctant to take on projects that would require W-2 payroll staffing, either through candidate preference or because the requisitions are for mid-level professionals. This has been another bonus and added benefit to my business!

Camaraderie with other industry professionals and new friendships!

Sometimes it takes some time to discover who your best recruiting partners are in the Network. But all in all, I feel tremendously blessed that I stumbled upon Top Echelon when I did. I’ve not only experienced good value to my business, but I’ve also met some incredible human beings. I enjoy the relationships I’ve built with others in our industry. I also enjoy the ability to share ideas, commiserate with others when deals go awry and give or get encouragement and support, having the opportunity to help others in a significant way, and develop valued professional and personal relationships with some amazing people!

I want to give a shout out to each and every person that is part of Top Echelon Network that has made an impact on my life in the past couple of years . . . you know who you are! Thank you! I sincerely treasure you!

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Congratulations to Diva Milani, the Recruiter of the Week in Top Echelon Network!

Can direct hire recruiters make contract placements and earn hefty contract fees? Well, let’s just take a look at some of the recruiters who are members of Top Echelon Network.

Specifically, let’s look at the 20 Network members who have combined to earn $719,222 in contract fees since the beginning of the year!

That would make the answer to our initial question a resounding “Yes!” But we’re not going to leave you hanging, with no names and faces to connect to the numbers. Below are three of the recruiters among the top 20 after the first quarter of the year:

Deb North: $16,976 in contract fees

Deb North of True North Consulting, LLC joined the Network in March of 2012. In just five shorts years, she’s made 33 split placements and generated a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of split billings. And so far this year, she’s also earned nearly $17K in contract fees.

Deb is a prime example of how a direct hire recruiter can also successfully make contract placements. Project her total for the whole year, and she’ll finish 2017 with nearly $68,000 in contracting money. How many more direct hire placements does that represent? Two? Three? Four?

David M. Sgro: $8,679 in contract fees

David M. Sgro of True North Consultants, Inc. is a “TE Legend.” Believe it or not, he quit the Network the first time he joined. The second time stuck, though. Not only is Dave among a select group of member recruiters who have made 100 Network placements, but he makes a bunch of contracting placements, too.

All Dave is concerned about is solving his clients’ problems. It doesn’t matter if it takes his own candidate, a trading partner’s candidate, or a contract candidate. He will use whatever resources necessary to solve the problem and make the placement. Projected 2017 total: $34,716.

Cindy Stephens: $6,207 in contract fees

Cindy Stephens, CPC/CTS of Stephens International Recruiting, Inc. is another “TE Legend.” She’s done a tremendous job of making direct hire and contract staffing placements. She’s done both over the years, and she continues to churn them out. She’s made 38 Network placements during her time as a TE member. In addition, she’s been a top producer for Top Echelon Contracting multiple times.

Cindy has been in the recruiting business since 1993. She knows what works and what makes money. She knows that making contract staffing services part of your business model makes money. Projected 2017 total: $24,828.

Top Echelon Contracting can help YOU make contract placements, too. You can earn as much as the recruiters above and even more.

All it takes is a willingness to tell your clients that you offer contract staffing solutions. Then ask for contract job orders.

If you use Top Echelon Contracting as your recruitment back office, you don’t have to worry about the rest. Fill the position, make the placement, and collect your money.

Just like Deb North, Dave Sgro, and Cindy Stephens are doing.

Get started with TEC’s Quick-Start Guide to Contract Staffing. You can also call Top Echelon Contracting at 888.627.3678.

At Top Echelon, we want to help recruiters make more placements . . . and that includes contract placements! That’s why we’ve updated our FREE marketing documents for recruiters. These documents are designed to assist them in marketing their contract staffing services to both clients and candidates.

In fact, we have a new and updated marketing section on the contract staffing portion of our website. That updated section is part of “Your Complete Guide to Contract Staffing.”

When you navigate to “Your Complete Guide,” click on the “Marketing Best Practices” icon at the bottom of the page. That will take you to a page with the following options:

  • Best Practices
  • Sample Cold Calling Scripts for Recruiters
  • 20 Tips
  • Marketing Documents
  • Contracting Webinars
  • Training Articles

How to use your marketing documents

Click on the “Marketing Documents” link, and you’ll see a short video about “How to Use Your Marketing Documents.” Beneath the video are examples of the new customizable documents, plus additional resources. These resources include phone scrips and email templates for both clients and candidates, as well as facts and a forecast.

There’s also a section with instructions regarding how to use the documents and their corresponding links. Among these best practices:

  • Including a link to them in your marketing emails
  • Adding them to your email signature file
  • Linking to them from your firm’s recruiting website
  • Including them in your blog articles
  • Printing them out and using them during face-to-face meetings

The best part? You’ll receive these new and updated marketing documents more quickly than you did before. You still have to request them, and you can do so by clicking on the link below:

Yes, I want my customized documents!

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There is no cost for these documents. However, requesting them indicates your interest in using Top Echelon Contracting as your recruitment back office for offering contract staffing services to your clients.

We want YOU to make more placements, and as part of that, we want you to make contract placements. Not only that, but we want to help you market contract staffing to your clients.

Get started today!

Recruiters who want to get into contract staffing often ask us how they can get contract job orders.

Some recruiters we work with say the best way to start is simply to ask current direct hire clients if they need contractors. Your clients may be surprised to learn that you offer contracting, and you may be surprised by how many contract job orders you get as a result!

Five more questions to help get contract job orders:

1. Do you have a hiring freeze now that prohibits you from hiring someone?

Even in hiring freezes, there is work that needs to get done. Rather than putting it off or overworking existing staff, your clients can utilize contractors to pick up the slack. Why? Well, contractors typically come from a different budget than direct hires, so clients can get around hiring freezes because the addition of contractors won’t affect the capital budget. Contractors also do not create a long-term financial commitment. So if your clients are struggling through hiring freezes, they may be grateful to you for providing contract staffing solutions.

2. Do you have a deadline or special project that needs to be completed?

Your client may be putting off a new project because it requires a lot of extra people that they won’t need once the project is done or specialized skills that are not useful outside this specific project. By utilizing contractors, they don’t have to put off those projects. They can bring on the talent they need and simply end the contracts when the work is over.

3. Do you need to reduce tax risks associated with 1099 independent contractors?

We have written extensively about the risks companies take when they misclassify workers who should be W-2 employees as 1099 independent contractors. But it’s temping to classify workers as independent contractors because companies don’t have to pay the employer share of taxes, offer benefits, or incur the administrative costs of processing payroll and employment paperwork. You can help by offering to convert 1099 independent contractors to W-2 employees who are employed by a contracting back-office. That way, your clients don’t have to take on the cost and administrative burden that comes with having employees. They also don’t have to worry about the IRS knocking on their door to conduct a worker classification audit!

4. Do you want to evaluate a candidate’s skills prior to offering direct employment?

When companies hire, they want to make sure they’re selecting the right person. They don’t have the time and money to do it again if they get it wrong. You can give them the opportunity to “try before they buy” by providing a contract-to-direct option. In this scenario, they bring the worker in on a contract basis to evaluate their skills. If they like what they see, they can extend a direct offer (and you can earn a nice conversion fee). If the worker doesn’t meet their expectations, they can end the contract and try someone else.

5. Do you want to avoid layoffs and bad press?

Businesses have frequent ups and downs. To meet demand during the “ups,” companies often bring in extra help. But what happens when the demand goes down? Often, they have to make the hard decision to lay off workers, which can lower the morale of the remaining staff and make the company look bad to the public. The solution? During the good times, companies could utilize contractors to meet the increased demand. If business slows, they can simply end the contracts.

Getting contract job orders doesn’t have to be any more difficult than getting direct hire orders. In fact, in today’s business environment, it can actually be easier!

You just have to ask the right questions.

AND you should download our Quick-Start Guide to Contract Staffing! If you use a recruitment back office like Top Echelon Contracting, you could be making contract placements in no time!