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“Top Echelon’s 95 Epic Days of Summer” is underway, and we have the first three inductees in the Top Echelon Hall of Fame!

The first one should come as no surprise: Steve Brody of Executive Resource Systems, the only Charter Member who is still a member of the Network. Steve joined Top Echelon at its inception on March 8, 1988—when Top Echelon was known as National Interchange Service (NIS).

The other two inductees should not surprise you either: Michael Stuck of Gables Search Group and Al Daum of Alan N. Daum & Associates. Both are long-time members and both have been Top Producers during their time in the Network.

Below are the official induction announcements for Steve, Michael, and Al. Congratulations to all three for their accomplishments and their induction into the Top Echelon Hall of Fame!

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ONE AND ONLY: It’s now officially summer and we’re starting the season with a bang by announcing the first inductee into the Top Echelon Hall of Fame: Steve Brody of Executive Resource Systems! Steve is the last active Charter Member of the Network, which means he joined back in 1988, when Top Echelon was known as Nationwide Interchange Service (NIS). Here’s what Steve has to say about his Network membership:

Steve Brody of Executive Resource Systems

Steve Brody

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to be a Charter Member of Top Echelon. The Network has been a major part of my life over the last 35 years, socially, educationally, and financially. I consider many of the staff and member recruiters as friends and valued colleagues. I’ve learned many viable skills from the online and in-person recruiter training sessions, and a high percentage of my future retirement savings would not be there if not for the 140+ split placements the Network has enabled me to participate in.

“I recall when the Network was called the Nationwide Interchange Service, which was free to join. They mailed me hundreds of hard copy worthless paper resumes every month. They are no longer free, and now I have to sift through hundreds of worthless resumes every day. However, it is well worth it for all of the ‘diamonds in the rough’ bullseye candidates and resulting split placements.

“Founder Mike Kappel, President Mark Demaree, ‘Head Geek’ Todd Bossler, Matthew Deutsch, River K, Tyler Harrell, and many other TE staff have been wonderful to work with over the years. However, I want to give a special shout-out to Drea Codispoti, CPC, CERS, who has come through so many times for me. Whether proactively putting me in touch with other recruiters, mediating the occasional misunderstanding, or organizing and running various programs and conferences, he has been an invaluable resource to both myself and Top Echelon. His level of patience and understanding, drive, intelligence, creativity, and passion for the recruiting industry crowns him as the ‘top echelon of Top Echelon’!”

And all these years later, Steve is still running a highly productive recruiting desk. So congratulations to Steve Brody for being inducted into the Top Echelon Hall of Fame!

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STUCK AT THE TOP: While Michael Stuck has been a member of Top Echelon Network for nearly 20 years, it’s only been during the past few years that he made a change to the way in which he used his Network membership. And that change has made a tremendous difference.

Michael Stuck of Gables Search Group

Michael Stuck

“For the first 14 years of my membership in TE, I had been primarily an importer,” said Michael. “I honestly thought I could contribute more on the exporter side of things, so I made a radical shift to focus more on TE members’ open jobs in 2019. Once I made this shift, I reached out to a lot of TE members to find out which jobs were their top two or three jobs to focus on rather than all of their jobs. I still do this today, sending out emails a couple of times a month asking for the best jobs to focus on, and it helps, especially with some partners having over 25 jobs or more at one time.”

Michael’s new approach paid dividends, as he was named Recruiter of the Year in Top Echelon Network three years in a row (2021-2023). In the process, he reached the 500-placement plateau within the Network. In fact, during the month of June in 2022, Michael finalized 29 TE split placements in a 30-day span.

At the center of Michael’s success, though, is building and cultivating relationships with other Network members.

“I am still building new relationships today with members who have been around as long as I have, but we really never chatted before,” he said. “During these calls, we don’t always talk about recruiting on the phone. We often talk about each other’s families, where they like to travel, what they do for fun, and current events. Email is good, too, but to really get to know a trading partner, you should learn more about them as a person and [attending a] conference or [picking up the] phone works best.”

Michael has been and continues to be a staunch advocate of his Network membership, even talking about the Network with clients and candidates to communicate the power and leverage that it affords him.

“I talk about Top Echelon to all of my clients when I am selling the client on using my firm for recruiting and how I have access to over a thousand recruiters,” he said. “It’s the same with candidates. I speak about the thousands of jobs we have because of Top Echelon. I also treat every Top Echelon trading partner like my own clients, and to make the Network a big part of my recruiting desk, I share every single job order I receive from a client with the Network. Also, I make it a habit every single day to recruit for TE members’ jobs in addition to my own. So the Network is a huge part of my recruiting desk.”

Congratulations to Michael Stuck for being a 2024 inductee into the Top Echelon Hall of Fame!

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SPIRIT OF TE: The only thing that Al Daum of Alan N. Daum & Associates might like more than #recruiting is the Ohio State Buckeyes football team.

Al Daum of Alan N. Daum and Associates, Inc.

Al Daum

Al has been a recruiter—and a fan of the Buckeyes—for as long as he can remember. He started recruiting in 1976, meaning that he remembers names such as Woody Hays, Archie Griffin, and Art Schlichter. After starting his own recruiting firm in 1986, Al eventually joined Top Echelon Network in 1999, where he made a name for himself as a Top Producer.

Perhaps no #recruiter in the history of Top Echelon has embraced the Network’s “But For Rule” like Al Daum. In Bernard Frechtman’s “Employment Agency Law,” the “But For Rule” is defined as “But For the particular act, would the employer have hired the applicant?” Here is a version which is more encompassing: “But For what particular piece of information caused interest and/or actions?”

“A lot of my splits that I’ve made with other #recruiters have come from them sending me people who were already in my database that I just hadn’t gotten to,” said Al. “And as a single-person operation, I have not minded at all splitting those fees. It’s nice to know that somebody is working through my database for me!”

Like many Top Producers, Al is an advocate of attending Top Echelon recruiter networking events like TE Connect (previously known as the National Convention and Fall Conference). And Al makes sure to take full advantage of all the benefits that networking affords, both from a placement standpoint and also from a knowledge point of view.

“Obviously, at networking events, you can meet other recruiters, strike up a relationship, and make splits,” he said. “But in a broader sense, being able to pick the brings of other Top Echelon recruiters has been fantastic, aside from the placements. If I had been all by myself in a little cocoon, I wouldn’t know half the things I’ve learned by being a TE member.”

So for his 100 TE placements, his loyalty to the “But For Rule,” and his commitment to networking, we congratulate Al Daum for being a 2024 inductee into the Top Echelon Hall of Fame!

(Almost forgot: OH . . . IO!)

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Be sure to check The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog–as well as Top Echelon’s official LinkedIn account–for future announcements regarding 2024 inductees into Top Echelon’s Hall of Fame!

As you may have noticed, we’ve been releasing updates on a regular basis regarding Top Echelon’s recruiting software and also the Top Echelon Network software.

So you might be asking yourself, “Self, is there a place where I can see ALL of the Top Echelon product updates?”

If you asked yourself that question, then you’re in luck . . . because such a place does exist! That place is the Top Echelon Product Updates Page!

On that page, you can see the most recent updates and upgrades to our software. We break the updates into categories based upon the month that we released them.

Not only that, but we also supply an answer to the question, “What’s next?” According to the Top Echelon Product Updates Page, this is what’s next as of the publishing of this blog post:

  • New User Interface – A fresh, modern update is in progress for our user interface. This update will enhance usability and accessibility across all of Top Echelon Software. This will also set the stage for larger improvements in 2024, including a revamped main dashboard.
  • [PRO TIER] Smart-TE Email Modification Tool – Use AI to enhance your outgoing email messages by adjusting their tone and length. This tool can help you create more professional, friendly, or concise emails, depending upon your needs.
  • [PRO TIER] Sequencing – String together a series of automatic actions with configured delays between each. This advanced feature will enable you to create automated campaigns, as well as facilitate internal communications.

Beta Testing

  • [PRO TIER] Smart-TE Job Description Generator – Use AI to automatically generate a job description based upon the Job Title and other fields, such as current Job Description, Education, Compensation Requirements, Remote Status, and more.

We also announce any beta testing of new features for those who want to help us make the software better. If you’re interested in Beta testing these new features, email us at

Of course, you may have also noticed that we send emails when we make updates and upgrades to our systems and software. However, not everybody opens the emails. Perhaps YOU are one of those people.

If that’s the case, then visiting the Top Echelon Product Updates Page on a regular basis could help keep you abreast of all the exciting new changes that we’re making to our software and systems for the expressed purpose of helping YOU make more placements.

If you have questions about these updates or about any other aspect of your Top Echelon Network and/or recruiting software account, you can:

→ Send an email to

→ Visit our Help Center.

Being a part of Top Echelon Network is being a member of a community of recruiters who are here for the purpose of furthering one another in business by helping with ideas; business strategies; and of course, making placements.

A part of being a good partner in this community is knowing the procedures, and most importantly, the Top Echelon Network Policies. Understanding these rules of engagement makes you a “better player in the game.”

This will help everybody understand not only the protocols, but also the expectations that we set forth to help foster healthy relationships between Top Echelon partners.

In the first of a series of articles here in The Pinnacle, I want to discuss Top Echelon Network Policy #11: Placement Fees, Payment Terms, Refunds, Fall-offs, and Guarantees.

When a placement is made, you can refer to this article: “You Have Made Your First Split, Now What?”

Now you have the client’s payment for the placement . . .

Which funds are split? The entire amount of funds that a client has paid you for filling the role in question. If there is a retainer paid to you for filling that role, it is included in the total to be split.

When do you pay your TE partner? Immediately upon receiving your client check. Change the status of the placement on the Job Order in Top Echelon to Completed. Then make two photocopies of the client check , send one copy to your TE partner/candidate recruiter along with their full 47% and the second copy to TE headquarters with the 6% brokerage fee.

What if the client sends my fee electronically? It is not difficult to use screen capture tools to take a shot of that line item on your statement and block out other information that is personal. To confirm that amount, also include a copy of the invoice that you sent to the client with your TE partner’s check.

These actions of transparency establish checks and balances, demonstrating trust and partnership to those with whom you make placements in Top Echelon Network.

Refunds/guarantees/fall-off: When a fall-off occurs within the guarantee period, the job order recruiter must change the status on the job in Top Echelon on the placement form from Completed/Finalized to Fall-Off. This will initiate an email to both the candidate recruiter and Top Echelon headquarters. Of course, you also want to call your TE partner on the phone and let them know of the situation prior to filling out that form. The fees are to be refunded by the candidate recruiter and Top Echelon headquarters immediately upon notice of the fall-off. There are no exclusions or exceptions to this rule.

Most of you have been recruiting for quite some time and are very experienced. As members of Top Echelon Network, any placement that occurs between members is 100% subject to the Network Policies we’ve set forth, so that everybody is using the same playbook.

You might think, “Well, my policy on this type of situation has always been . . .” or “Since I have been recruiting, I have always . . .” or “[insert internal dialogue here]” . . . none of that comes into play with a TE split. If that was the case, then we would have bedlam on our hands, as there are so many perspectives on how things should be done.

I encourage everybody to read through the Policies, and if you have any questions, please contact me at If you’d like to speak with me, you can do so by scheduling a time on my calendar.

A number of years ago, Top Echelon created a candidate database for recruiters in the Network who also use Top Echelon’s applicant tracking system.

The name of that tool was the MEGA Database.

We have since changed the name of that database to the Network Candidates sourcing tool, and we’re pleased to announce that it hosts over eight million resumes and is continuing to grow!

Simply put, this sourcing tool allows Top Echelon Network members who use our recruiting software to share information more quickly and easily. However, if you’re a Network member and you don’t use our ATS, you can still use the Network Candidates sourcing tool.

Don’t worry, we don’t want to leave you out. But there is one caveat.

While you can perform searches in Network Candidates, your information will not be included in searches conducted by other Network recruiters. The reason, of course, is because your data is being housed in an applicant tracking software other than ours.

Let’s summarize as follows:

  • If you have our recruiting software, then you can conduct searches in the Network Candidates sourcing tool and your information will be included in searches conducted by other members.
  • If you do NOT use our recruiting software, then you can still conduct searches in Network Candidates, but your information will NOT be included in searches conducted by other members.

Below are two other important facts regarding the Network Candidates sourcing tool:

  1. Resumes are blinded! That means nobody can see your candidates and/or take them and run.
  2. There is NO additional charge to use Network Candidates. It is included with your split network membership.

Network Candidates is a powerful sourcing tool. Top Echelon Network members have made split placements with this tool, and so can you!

And don’t forget that the Top Echelon Help Center is chock-full of helpful articles and videos about the Network Candidates sourcing tool. Check them out for more information and further training.

Let’s make more splits!

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Expert Recruiter Coaching Series.

These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both job candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars is to help agency recruiters and executive search consultants just like YOU make more placements.

We record these webinars for recruiters who can’t attend the live presentation, and we’re now pleased to offer the video from our most recent webinar by Gary Stauble of The Recruiting Lab.

The title of that webinar (and corresponding training video) is “Maximizing Morning Momentum: Your Path to Peak Performance”

Below is the official description for this training video:

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John Maxwell has said: “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

In the next webinar video in Top Echelon’s Expert Recruiter Coaching Series, Gary Stauble of The Recruiting Lab will share a roadmap for maximizing your per-hour-output from 8 a.m. to noon each day.

Gary Stauble of The Recruiting Lab

Gary Stauble

The Problem—Constant Partial Attention:

  • The average knowledge worker is only productive for 2.3 hours/day.
  • Every week, they spend half a day duplicating work they did the week before.
  • They check their email every six minutes.
  • They’re interrupted 56 times per day.
  • They waste 36 hours in unnecessary calls and meetings a month.
  • And most devastating of all: they’re interrupted every 11 minutes (and it takes up to 23 minutes to get back into focus after a disruption).

What You’ll Discover:

  • From Chaos to Control: Move from “chasing deals” to building placements systematically.
  • The Marketing Metronome: Install this and you’ll minimize stressful boom/bust cycles.
  • The three (3) most important daily activities for a recruiter.
  • Momentum Magic: Techniques for igniting unstoppable momentum right from the start.
  • Inbox Detox: How to deal with your inbox so you don’t waste precious time.
  • And much more!

So make sure to watch this special video so you can start “Maximizing Morning Momentum: Your Path to Peak Performance”!

Watch this FREE training video!

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Recorded versions of our Expert Recruiter Coaching Series of webinars are posted on our website as free online recruitment training courses in the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Library.

Keep an eye out for the next free webinar in our Expert Recruiter Coaching Series!