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Direct hire recruiters CAN earn contracting money. And just a little bit, either, but a lot. We have proof of that with this blog post.

In fact, the title of the post is all the proof that you need. That’s because there are 20 Top Echelon Network members who have combined to earn $1,541,547 in contracting money so far in 2017.

And when we say “so far,” we mean through the first six months of the year. So extrapolate that total, and you’re looking at well over $3 million. Once again, though, we’re going to connect names and faces to the numbers.

Below are three of the recruiters among the top 20 through the second quarter of 2017.

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Cindy Ridley: $39,621 in contracting money

Cindy Ridley of HRtechies, Inc.

Cindy Ridley

Cindy Ridley of HRtechies, Inc. has made a couple of split placements in the Network. However, she has really leveraged the resources of Top Echelon Contracting. Cindy is currently ranked #4 in the top 20, having shot up through the ranks during the second quarter.

Not only that, but she passed “TE legend” Cindy Stephens, CPC/CTS of Stephens International Recruiting, Inc. for third place on the list. It should be an exciting race to the finish line!

Projected 2017 total: $79,242

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Joseph Cunliffe: $23,423 in contracting money

Okay, Joe has made one split placement since joining Top Echelon’s recruiter network. However, he’s still cashing placement checks through Top Echelon Contracting. At #5 on the top 10 list, Joe might still be able to catch “the Cindys” before the end of the year.

Like the others on the top 20 list, Joe’s willingness to offer contract staffing services to his clients has resulted in a steady revenue stream. After all, who wouldn’t love an extra $23K?

Projected 2017 total: $46,846

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Mike Niedbalski: $22,438 in contracting money

Mike Niedbalski, CPC of Integritas Search

Mike Niedbalski, CPC

Like Cindy Ridley, Mike Niedbalski, CPC of Integritas Search joined Top Echelon’s recruiting network in 2008. Also like Cindy, he’s enjoyed success in the Network. Mike has made 13 split placements since joining.

And also like Cindy, he shot up the rankings during the second quarter. (Mike is currently ranked #6 on the list.) His willingness to offer contract staffing to his clients has allowed him to supplement his direct hire business in 2017.

Projected 2017 total: $44,876

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

Just 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. We’ll handle all of the paperwork.

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

Top Echelon’s headquarters is located in Canton, Ohio. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is also located in Canton. Football player Eric Dickerson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. Eric Dickerson has also earned top honors in Top Echelon Network for this week.

No, not THAT Eric Dickerson. Not the one who rushed for 13,259 yards in 11 seasons with four teams. We’re talking about the one who’s made 11 split placements since joining the Network in February of 2016.

THAT Eric Dickerson is Recruiter of the Week!

Top honors for “hitting the ground running”

Eric Dickerson of Gulfstream Strategic Placements, LLC

Eric Dickerson

Eric is the senior recruiter at Gulfstream Strategic Placements, LLC in Riverside, California. The agency specializes in recruiting for Mechanical (HVAC and Plumbing) Commercial Contractors.

Eric “hit the ground running” in Top Echelon’s recruiter network. (Pun intended? You decide.) He made his first two TE placements in less than six months. In fact, he made five placements in 2016. Eric carried that momentum into this year, as evidenced by his six placements so far in 2017.

Eric has made his 11 placements with six different TE trading partners. This shows that he believes in the power of split recruiting and the opportunities that the Network offers. It also shows his willingness to make an investment of time, energy, and effort. And that investment has paid off!

We asked Eric to say a few words about how Top Echelon’s split network has helped his business. He was good enough to provide the response below:

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“We are grateful to be part of TE, as it has helped us find better candidates quicker for some of our job requirements. We hope to build a strong long-term relationship with TE and the partners on the network and continuously increase the number of split placements we make in the Network.

“In addition, we hope to begin implementing contract staffing in the Network the latter part of this year, as well.”

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Congratulations to Eric Dickerson for being named Recruiter of the Week! We want to thank him for his commitment to Top Echelon and his eagerness to use the Network’s tools to make more placements.

At Top Echelon, we want to hand out recruiting network referral fees like they’re candy! Sure, Halloween isn’t for another two months. And there’s no reason for a parade right now. But we STILL want to hand them out like candy.

Two more Network agencies recently earned referral fees! Listed below are the names of those two agencies and their referrals.

—Vern Fuller and Knightsource, LLC joined Top Echelon Network on July 26.
—Current member Doug Beabout, CPC of Doug Beabout referred Vern and Knightsource, LLC.
—We credited Doug Beabout’s monthly invoice a total of $130!

—Lynn Nechanicky of Mainstream Search joined Top Echelon Network on August 17.
—Current member Linda Harris of White Oak Search Group referred Lynn and Mainstream Search.
—We credited White Oak Search Group’s monthly invoice a total of $130!

Keep in mind that we’re no longer waiting two months to hand out referral fees. (Or perhaps more accurately, referral credits.) Instead, we’re crediting the referrer’s account immediately.

More referral fees, if you please

Once again, let’s go over the ground rules, shall we?:

  • There’s no limit to the number of referrals that you can give us. For instance, let’s say you submit 12 referrals that become members. Then essentially your split network membership dues for one year will be paid.
  • If you’re the main contact for your firm, we will credit your agency’s account $130. On the other hand, if you’re NOT the main contact for your firm, then we will credit the account of the Network agency for which you work $130.
  • Those recruiters who successfully refer new Network members will receive special mention in The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog!
  • The referral fee for the Big Biller recruiting software and Top Echelon Contracting is still $100.
  • We’re keeping track of how many referrals you give us. At the end of the year, we’ll announce the name of the Network member who has given us the most referrals.

And don’t forget: we have a special page where you can submit your referral information. Below is a link to that special page.

Click HERE to submit your Network referrals!

We’d like to congratulate Vern and Lynn on becoming members of the Top Echelon recruiter network. We’d also like to congratulate Doug and Linda on earning referral fees.

We would love to congratulate YOU, too. But we need your referrals! Send them to us, and nobody will get hurt. (Yes, if you don’t send them to us, nobody will still get hurt. But saying that isn’t as impactful.)

Question: what’s the only thing better than making a placement? Answer: making an EASY placement. In other words, making a “low-hanging fruit” deal.

However, do those types of deals even exist anymore? After all, if companies can find fill those types of job openings themselves, why do they need recruiters?

And if they DO exist, how often do they happen? These are all excellent questions. That’s why we recently posed the following poll question in the Members’ Area:

How many of your placements are “low-hanging fruit” placements?

The choice of answers that we provided is listed below, along with the percentage of Network recruiters that selected each one:

  • More than enough to make me happy! — 2.6%
  • They happen, but not as frequently as they used to. — 30.8%
  • I make one every once in a great while. — 33.3%
  • Are you kidding? Those don’t exist anymore. — 33.3%

What kind of fruit does your desk bear?

Perhaps the most telling answer in this poll is the first one. Only 2.6% of recruiters indicated that they make more than enough “low-hanging fruit” placements to make them happy. Which means, of course, that 97.4% of them are NOT happy!

Now let’s explore the different ways that they’re not happy. The answers are distributed pretty evenly across the board. The three remaining answers garnered at least 30% apiece.

Two answers led the way with exactly one-third (33.3%) of the vote. Those answers were “I make one every once in a great while” and “Are you kidding? Those don’t exist anymore.” And the third response was not far behind. That’s because “They happen, but not as frequently as they used to” earned 30.8%.

So what’s the conclusion? That “low-hanging fruit” placements DO exist. However, they are few and far between. Recruiters see them very infrequently, about as frequently as a person would see Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Or maybe Elvis. Or a purple squirrel.

Regardless, these types of deals are becoming more rare with each passing day. So if you see “low-hanging fruit” and you get the chance to pick it, grab it and don’t let go!

If you want to experience more success in Top Echelon’s recruiting network and make more split placements, then contact Director of Network Operations Drea Codispoti, CPC/CERS. You can do so by calling 330.455.1433, x156 or by sending an email to

You have thousands upon thousands of people in your recruiting database. While it’s close to impossible to know every single one of them, having a good grasp on who in your database has what skills holds considerable value.

And that value can take the form of “The Power of the Network”! That’s because the next installment in our series involves a Top Echelon Network recruiter who did just that.

The placement in question involved, as you can see below, Joy Shanklin and Dan Simmons. Joy reached out to Dan about a job order that fell outside of her niche.

After hearing about the job, Dan immediately thought of a candidate within his database.

Database knowledge = placement success

While the placement did not exactly happen on a straight line (once again, as you can see below), Joy’s client did hire Dan’s candidate. Below are the reasons that this case study illustrates “The Power of the Network”:

  • Dan was able to provide a qualified candidate for Joy’s job order.
  • Not only was Dan able to provide that candidate, but he was able to do it quickly. Almost immediately, as a matter of fact, due to his knowledge of his recruiter database.
  • Both Joy and Dan displayed patience during a turbulent hiring process. However, it was one that ended with a placement fee!

There is both value and power with membership in a recruiter network. This case study is just another example of how recruiters can make split placements and generate more revenue through their trading partners.

If you’re looking to tap into “The Power of the Network,” then contact Top Echelon Director of Network Operations Drea Codispoti, CPC/CERS. You can do so by calling 330.455.1433, x156 or by sending an email to

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Joy Shanklin of Shanklin and Associates

Joy Shanklin

Dan Simmons, CPC of Continental Search & Outplacement, Inc.

Dan Simmons, CPC

“Thanks, Dan! I knew Dan was in Dairy, so I called him and described the job. He said, ‘I have one guy that does exactly that, but only one.’ Well, after an offer to another candidate and then a resignation, my client came back to our candidate and the rest is history. Great working with someone who knows their database!”

Submitted by Joy Shanklin of Shanklin & Associates regarding her Network split placement with Dan Simmons, CPC of Continental Search & Outplacement, Inc.


Fee Percentage—20%

(Editor’s note: This is the first Network split placement that Joy and Dan have made together in Top Echelon.)

We’ve discussed the topic of warming up your recruiter cold calls before. (Here, specifically.) However, we’re back with even more tips.

While these tips deal with contract staffing, keep in mind that some of them can work for direct hire, as well. So below are four more tips for warming up your cold calls:

#1—Make sure you’re talking to the right person.

It used to be that recruiters always went to hiring managers for contract job orders. That appears to be changing, as contractors become a more constant fixture at many companies. These employers are building blended workforce models around them as part of a long-term business strategy. Many companies, especially larger organizations, are putting the Human Resources department (HR) in charge of ALL talent acquisition, including contracting.

This includes approving vendors for contract job orders, so you won’t get far without HR at these companies. For this reason, more recruiters are starting with HR for all their job orders, or at least keeping HR in the loop as they discuss open positions with the hiring manager.

#2—Be a problem-solver.

You have probably heard that you should listen more than you talk during a cold call. That goes double for contract staffing cold calls. Find out what obstacles the companies are encountering and then recommend contract staffing to solve those problems when it makes sense. This is how you can go from being a recruiter or a salesperson to a true staffing partner. There are several questions you can ask to determine whether they may have a need for contractors:

  • “Do you have a special project or critical deadline?” These situations often require extra staff or specialized skills that won’t be needed forever. Your clients can bring in contractors to fulfill those needs and simply end the contracts when the work is done.
  • “Do you have a backlog you can’t address due to budget issues?” Companies can utilize contractors to pick up the slack, even during a hiring freeze. This is because the funds for contractors come out of a different budget than direct hires and contractors do not create a long-term financial commitment.
  • “Do you want to evaluate a candidate’s skills prior to offering direct employment?” Contract-to-direct arrangements allow them to “try before they buy.” This has become more important in recent years. Companies continue to be nervous about hiring and only want to do so if they have the “perfect” candidate. Contract-to-direct can help them get the best match possible.

#3—Not ALL calls have to be cold calls.

Remember, 80% of a recruiter’s contract staffing business comes from their existing direct hire clients. Are all of your clients aware of your contract staffing services? Have you asked them the questions above to determine their need for contractors? If not, it may be time to catch up with your best clients. Contract staffing is also a great way to address a current client’s fear of making a direct hire commitment.

If they are unsure of a candidate, you can allow them to try the person on a contract-to-direct basis. They can then evaluate the candidate’s skills and knowledge on the job and decide whether or not they want to extend a direct hire offer.

#4—Follow up.

If you have marketing materials dedicated to your contract staffing solutions, now is the time to use them. You can mail or email them to your prospects to remind them about your discussion and what you can provide them. Or if you were unable to connect on the phone, the marketing materials can go over the major points and hopefully encourage them to call you. If you work with a contract staffing back office, they may be able to help you create marketing documents.

Are YOU in need of a recruitment back office or contract placement services?

Then download our Quick-Start Guide to Contract Staffing. Or request a demo from one of our contract staffing specialists.

We encourage you to see for yourself how easy it is. And we will be here to help you every step of the way. That’s why you can can also call us at (888) 627-3678.