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(President’s note: Top Echelon Network recruiter Robert Briones, CPC of R.A. Briones & Company wrote the following blog post “to convey the message of what it takes to make placements in this network on a consistent basis.”  Briones was inspired by the recent success he’s had making split placements with Trading Partner Sean Napoles, CPC of Career Brokers, Inc. This blog post was originally published on June 5, 2013)

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I began writing this to highlight the incredible job that Sean Napoles did for me in recruiting top-notch candidates that were presented, interviewed, and hired within two weeks each, for four different positions in the last four months, ($87,750 in fees so far).

Now I’m seeing a pattern that is worth noting.  I’ve made similar placements with individual recruiters: Suzanne Griffith (five placements) and Ken Stackowski (no longer in the Network, but we made four placements).  I was on the candidate side with Suzanne and Ken.  With Sean, I happened to have the client.

Common to all of these placements are the same critical factors preached by pretty much all the industry trainers we listen to at our conferences.  (I attend conferences and industry training, by the way.)

Three keys to being a great split recruiter include the following:

1.) A solid job order with well-defined criteria, a sense of urgency, a responsive client, and salary ranges within the market.

2.) Communication with someone who understands the market in which the candidates are located, can recruit them, qualify them correctly, and present them to you with all the information you need to move forward quickly and efficiently.

3.) Follow-through from the recruiter with the job.  Talk to the candidates, re-qualify them, present with all the necessary information, stay on top of the process and the client, prep the candidates, and work through the offer and counter-offer scenarios and resignation through to candidate employment starts.

Some of these steps may sound simplistic, redundant, or unfortunately to some, unnecessary.  Placements can happen and DO happen without some of these things.  However, I point to the frequency, the timespan for each, and the volume.

Robert Briones, CPC of R.A. Briones & Company

Robert Briones, CPC

Sean has a vast grasp of his IT niche.  He knew what was needed, and in some cases, provided me with additional questions to ask of my client.  The candidates he recruited and referred to me were dead-on.  He had qualified them and provided a summary of their skills to the job criteria, and they were ready for me to proceed with the process.  He did everything I asked for, in addition to help and follow-up, promptly.  He was available to tweak the criteria we were recruiting to and be responsive to it.

Now from my side of it, I had a client with a sense of urgency, so I made a pitch for a higher fee.  This is a long-term client of mine.  I have discounted the fee and used a flexible invoice and payment format with them.  Where I normally charge 20%, I proposed that since I would use the Network for broader resources, the fee would be 30% since I would be splitting it with another recruiter.

As I said, I began this letter to give props to Sean for doing a great job and making us some money: $87,750.  However, I now see that hopefully it can provide us all with some case studies so that we can better take advantage of what the Network has to offer.

After the fact, I can see that the hit-and-miss placements are fine.  I can average a placement every two years or so.  It pays my monthly TE fees and then some.  Regular communication with other recruiters who can use the type of candidates I identify for them has also been a great source of income for me.

But the real money for me has been when I team up with another recruiter and we commit to providing an on-target solution for our client.

If I’m on the client side: I provide a strong job with good criteria and a good salary, hopefully with a higher-than-usual fee.

If I’m on the candidate side: I provide a fully qualified candidate that matches the job description, matches the salary range with reasonable expectations, and is truly interested in that specific opportunity.

Like I said at the beginning: this is nothing but the basics that we’ve heard from all the industry trainers!

The 2016 Top Echelon Fall Conference is almost upon us! The conference starts in less than two weeks, and there are over 100 Top Echelon Network recruiters registered for the event.

As you might already know, karaoke is going to be part of the conference festivities, specifically during the Networking Reception on Tuesday, October 18. (If you’re planning to attend the conference, then be sure to get your karaoke singing groups together. What’s a karaoke session without a recruiter sing-off? NO kind of karaoke session, that’s what.)

In the meantime, we’ve constructed a special playlist specifically for the Fall Conference. Hopefully, this playlist will get attendees in the networking mood and maybe even convince somebody to register for the event. You can still do so, after all.

So, while you navigate to the Members’ Area to sign up, below is the official 2016 Top Echelon Fall Conference playlist:

“Sweet Home Chicago” by The Blues Brothers
“Under Pressure” by David Bowie
“She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
“Started From the Bottom” by Drake
“Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
“She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
“We’re Gonna Be Friends” by The White Stripes
“Money” by Pink Floyd
“All Star” by Smash Mouth
“Unbelievable” by EMF
“I Get Money” by 50 Cent
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” by Wang Chung
“Bang the Drum All Day” by Todd Rundgren
“We Are Family” by Sister Sledge
“A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles
“The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Timbuk3
“Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller
“My Kind of Town” by Frank Sinatra
“Time of Your Life” by Green Day
“Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds

Keep in mind that we’ll be announcing the dates and location of the 2017 Top Echelon National Convention at the Fall Conference. Of course, if you don’t attend the conference, then you won’t hear the announcement.

Don’t worry, though. We’ll still tell you. After all, we want you to attend the National Convention . . . even if you don’t attend the Fall Conference.

Not all recruiting websites are created equal! Some of them are great recruiting tools, to help brand your company for both employers and job seekers. Some of them you can even say are the best of the best.

That’s why we’re starting a weekly series featuring recently launched recruiting websites made by our web team. Okay, and maybe to brag a little bit, too.

Our first Recruiting Website of the Week is Hire Horizons ( for many reasons, including the following five:

1. See how easy it is to submit a resume? This button is located right above the fold on the homepage guaranteeing that it will catch a job seeker’s attention. Also, this button is on the sidebar on all other pages of this website. Making it so job seekers can explore around the website but it’ll always be easy for them to submit their resume.

2. It’s clear what Hire Horizons’ niche is from the start. Job seekers can tell what type of positions they are looking to fill. The image, text and position of the featured jobs makes this clear for web visitors. Industrial and manufacturing job seekers will know they are in the right place for their job hunt.

3. Contact us sections are clear and easy to spot. If a job seeker or employer has a question they can easily find the information they are looking for. This button follows the user on the footer of every page. Also, the website offers other ways to connect with social media buttons in the header.

4. The information is just as easy to find on the mobile version of the site. Don’t believe us? Check this website out on your smartphone.

5. Separate pages for candidates and employers is another great addition to this site. After all, recruiters have two audiences they are trying to connect with on a website. Having 2 separate pages makes it so the visitor can locate the information that pertains to them quickly.

Congratulations to Hire Horizons, and stay tuned for next week where we will feature another recruiting website. Want to know how your website stacks up? Be sure to request a free website evaluation of your recruiting website.

Recruiting is not an easy profession.  If it was, everybody would be doing it.

However, it can even be difficult for those people who are good at it!  That’s proven on an almost daily basis within the industry.

That’s because there are so many factors involved, including the fact that there are people at all ends of the sale—people who can “put the kibosh” on the deal at any point and for just about any reason.  That makes it all the more difficult for one recruiter.

But what about . . . two recruiters?

That’s the beauty of making split placements by doing business with another Top Echelon Network member.  You can rely upon teamwork—the combined efforts of TWO experienced recruiters—to get the job done and close the deal.

And I happen to have three prime examples of split placement teamwork in a recruiter network like Top Echelon.  These examples illustrate the “hidden value” of doing business with another recruiter in Top Echelon, value that not only leads to more placements, but also less stress.

Who doesn’t love less stress?

Congratulations to everybody who made placements this week!

If you have questions about how to maximize your Top Echelon Network Membership and make more splits, I urge you to contact Director of Network Operations Drea Codispoti, CERS by calling 330.455.1433, x156 or by sending an email to

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Pat McCombs, CPC of KB Search Team, LLC

Pat McCombs, CPC

Catherine Bateman of Woods and Paolino Recruiting Solutions

Catherine Bateman

“Catherine sent me several strong candidates for this search. Thanks, Catherine, for all the great candidates and especially for this one . . . who we placed!”

Submitted by Pat McCombs, CPC of KB Search Team, LLC regarding her Network split placement with Catherine Bateman-Stewart of Woods & Paolino Recruiting Solutions


Fee Percentage—25%

(Editor’s note: This is the fourth Network split placement that McCombs and Bateman-Stewart have made together in Top Echelon.)

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Georgette Sandifer of Gallman Consulting

Georgette Sandifer

“This was my first time working with Feb. She is extremely conscientious, as well as very pleasant!”

Submitted by Georgette Sandifer of Gallman Consulting regarding her Network split placement with Feb Cabahug of DNA Staffing Corporation


Fee Percentage—20%

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

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Robert Alexander of Systems Technology International, Inc.

Robert Alexander

“Thanks, Bob! As always, it’s been a pleasure working with you! Thank you for all your help!”

Submitted by Chris Shoulet of Top Dog Recruiting regarding her Network split placement with Robert Alexander of Systems Technology International, Inc.


Fee Percentage—20%

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

Membership in Top Echelon Network brings with it numerous advantages and benefits. This includes when members are marketing their services to both candidates and clients.

As a result, many Network recruiters use their membership to differentiate themselves from their competition within the marketplace. But how many, exactly? As you might expect, we decided to find out with one of our handy-dandy poll questions in the Members’ Area.

The question that we posed was as follows:

How often do you mention Top Echelon Network to candidates and clients?


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

  • Every chance I get — 26.5%
  • About half the time — 36.7%
  • Rarely — 27.6%
  • I don’t mention TE at all. — 9.2%


We’ll start with the good news. Over a quarter of recruiters participating in the poll (26.5%) mention Top Echelon Network every chance they get. Another 36.7% of respondents mention TE “about half the time.”

Now for the bad news. (You knew there had to be at least some, right?) It takes the form of 27.6% of recruiters saying that they mention Top Echelon “rarely” and another 9.2% that indicated they “don’t mention TE at all.”

And then there’s the good news despite the bad news: over 90% of the recruiters who participated in this poll mention Top Echelon Network to some extent in their dealings with candidates and clients.


The results of this poll aren’t really all that surprising. That’s because recruiters that are members of Top Echelon Network use the Network in different ways. They have different business models, they work within different industries, and they have different preferences and working styles.

However, the fact that over 90% of them mention the Network to some degree reflects the fact that the vast majority of TE recruiters see value in doing so. To them, there’s value not only in being a member, but also in using their membership as leverage to grow their business.

When viewed in that light, it’s easy to see that Top Echelon Network if valuable to recruiters on a number of different levels and that members receive a substantial return on their Network investment.