Recruitment is a very competitive industry so attracting and retaining top billers can be tough. Contract recruiters have become more in control of how and when they want to work.

Now they have more going on behind the scenes to close deals, so want to be rewarded with the right commission structure.

How can you attract contract recruiters?

The best contract recruiters will have a pipeline of business and live placements extending over a period of months. Getting them to leave their role and join your business can be challenging.

Agencies want to retain their best billers, but the best billers want reasons to stay. Ideally, agencies should look to offer benefits that are both valuable and flexible.

The term “Golden Handcuffs” is an excellent example of why most contract billers find it hard to leave their agencies. One month they could place x amount of contractors on 3-6 month contracts, and for the duration of the placements the recruiter would be earning commission.


So, how can you convince a recruiter with a constant flow of cash to give that up and move elsewhere?

  • The new agency could provide the recruiter with a guarantee until they have the contract book up and running.
  • Provide them with more autonomy to run their desk – so this could range from flexible hours, remote working etc. so things that wouldn’t cost the company any money but would improve their morale and work/life balance.
  • An exciting uncapped commission scheme.
  • Empower the individual to grow their own team, give them more responsibility.


What ROI should you expect from a contract recruiter? / How quickly should they be billing?

All recruitment agencies have different requirements and expectations of contract recruiters. Are they an already established biller? Are they a new graduate in their first position after university? Each role would have different expectations.

Let’s take an established biller who has been in recruitment for several years as an example.

  • They’d be expected to bill right away, unless a guarantee was pre-agreed
  • The recruiter would know their net fee income/gross profit

You also need to consider other factors such as: how warm the desk is, which sector are you recruiting in, how quickly will they need to build their book, when is the contract arm of the business launching?

However, it all relates to one simple ratio. Capital employed per consultant (commission, base salary, overheads of desk) you need to be billing more than you’re costing the company for your desk.


What sort of KPIs should we have for contract recruiters? Should it be different from perm recruiters?

KPIs in contract recruitment aren’t hugely different from perm, however as contract moves faster, a consultant would focus on:

  • How many jobs have you picked up?
  • Interview to job ratio
  • CV to interviews e.g. 4 CV’s sent, 3 interviews
  • Interviews to offer e.g. 3 interviews, 1 offer
  • Meetings to jobs taken
  • Contractor availability


What commission structure is best for a contract recruiter?

Commission structures vary agency to agency and are influenced by the sector you work in.

An example structure:

  • If you bill £0-10k you would receive 10%
  • If you bill £10-15k you would receive 15%
  • If you bill £15-20k you would receive 20%
  • If you bill £20k> you would receive 25%


Incentivisation ideas:

Key client won: consultant is paid higher commission percentage.

  • “Kicker”: if the consultant brings on a client at a higher margin, then they would get a higher commission percentage.
  • Sliding scale: consultant is gradually paid higher rates of commission based on performance against a target. e.g. 5% of revenue up to 100% of target then 10% from 101-125%, then 15% for 121% upward.


Commission structures are not one size fits all and they need to be customised and made to fit your business. It is important that above everything else you cover your costs before paying commission.

The final thing to remember is that this is designed to be beneficial to both the recruitment consultant and the business itself – a win:win incentive to drive growth.