BountyJobs: Legal, Practical. But Is It Right For You?


You have been my most valuable source in the recruiting industry. You articles convey clear concise issues and apply practical and professional result oriented answers.

If convenient, it is getting so ridiculous clients of mine are requiring registration in BountyJobs then recruiter receives an invitation to participate in jobs advertised on this website.

Honestly, I see so many aspects of devaluing executive recruiters to the point of eradicating and diminishing your “on the ground” business relationships with clients who are either branch managers, regional managers etc. It is the same reason LinkedIn could never replace real recruiters who have “on the ground” relationships with clients and candidates, versus “on the internet” candidates. But Bounty is making life miserable because you actually have to make a pitch for the job opening and some goon in HR makes a decision if they like what they hear versus your track record with their own organization. If that wasn?t enough, Bounty holds your fee $ for 60 days and takes a fee out of their cut and recruiters inconvenience.

This is FRIGHTENING! Perhaps, you can use your brilliant brain to expose this nightmare or get a consensus.


Michael S. Evdemon II, president

Jeff’s Response

Hi Michael,

Great hearing from one of the best in the business! I don’t know how you managed to type while wringing your hands, but a grateful placement population thanks you.

Since you asked for my opinion about BountyJobs, here it is:

We call it LockedIn.

Sort of like LinkedIn with a lock.

We haven’t encountered BountyJobs much in its five-year existence. Our clients and readers just don’t find that it’s the “cloud-based solution” for them. “Cloud-based,” yes. Up there in the ozone layer where the headhunters’ spears don ‘t fly.Bountyjobs

Here’s some of what BountyJobs says on its website:

Employers post a job description on BountyJobs and offer a bounty (as a percent of salary or a fixed fee). The bounty represents the amount employers will pay the headhunter who finds them the right candidate to fill the job.

. . . On the candidate’s start date, BountyJobs invoices the employer for the stated bounty. The employer pays one vendor, BountyJobs, and BountyJobs delivers 75% to the successful headhunter. BountyJobs will refund the full bounty to the employers if the candidate does not work out for up to 90 days. Please refer to Pricing and Policies for details about fees and the employment guarantee.

I like BontyJobs’ clear presentation. And its use of the word “employer.” It shows a classified ad graphic, and it’s correctly portrayed as an alternative to “meat sheet,” traditional help-wanted advertising. It probably garners tons of replies, but are the hunters in the herd?

Yet BountyJobs calls the placer a “headhunter.” That’s more than a mistaken misnomer -– it defines why the program sorts out the most effective practitioners.

The placers (too often only players) lured into to this kind of cyberspace casino aren’t even really recruiters. They’re passive, roll-the-dice, resume roulette gamblers. Volume telemarketers motivated to indiscriminately forward resumes to faceless “employers.” I’ll get into this in a few, but I wanted to adjust the noun sound.

Do This First

Before I turn up the volume,

  • Go to
  • Click and read the links on the website to familiarize yourself with the entire BountyJobs program.
  • Go to
  • Click the Placement Fee Collection Quiz button on the bottom row.
  • Take the PFCQ.
  • Click the Answers to Placement Law Quizzes button at the end of the bottom row.
  • Grade yourself.

Understanding fee collection issues is important, because BountyJobs doesn’t collect your reduced fees, and more importantly, your out-of-state litigation attorney’s fees and costs. BountyJobs requires use of a boilerplate fee agreement, and “mediates” (tries to informally resolve) disputes.

BountyJobs leaves you on your own to enforce liability and payment if banging your headhunter’s head doesn’t work. B-i-i-i-g problem for you over a little unpaid unbounty. So unless you really know your stuff about setting up a placement fee collection, you end up walking softly back into the forest.

Anyhoo, let’s go on.

Three Things to Consider

Here are the three considerations in evaluating the BountyJobs program:

1. Is it legal?

As you can see, the arrangement appears to be simple enough. If all parties perform as promised, it should work.

BountyJobs is responsible for billing and collection, takes its 25% cut, and the 60 or 90-day full refund guarantee applies (depending on the fee percentage).

The contract defects that our JOC readers know so well (latent and patent ambiguities, contradictory terms, unclear rights and liabilities, etc.) really don’t exist in the BountyJobs agreement.

It seems legal enough.

If you’re of sound mind, you’ll probably be bound to the contract.

2. Is it practical?

Mechanically, the lock has only a few moving parts.

Again, if there are no issues about the submission of the candidate, no collection or disbursement issues, and no guarantee hassles, it seems okay.

You might think it’s practically crazy, but it’s practical.

Article Continues Below

3. Is it advisable?

Again, that’s a matter of opinion.

If I was still working a desk, I’d click the red box with the X on the top right corner of my screen.

That’s because the BountyJobs model minimizes the fee — the consideration –– the value — of the placer and the placement.

What You Do

There’s a reason the process is called “making a placement.” This causes those who’ve never done it to think it’s easy. BountyJobs appears be among them, since its program requires that “headhunters”:

  • Agree to the employer’s lowest possible fee, minus 25%, with a full 60 or 90-day refund guarantee if the fee is paid.
  • Take the “job order” literally, as though it’s seriously real.
  • Call around or surf the net to find anyone who can do that “ordered” job.
  • Sell the candidate on the job.
  • Get the candidate’s background and contact information, and
  • E-mail it to the employer to obtain that lowest possible fee, minus 25%, with a full 60-day refund guarantee.

Just pick up the phone or click the icon. Just go through the motions. Smile and dial enough times and placements –- BountyJobs bounties -– happen.

Only not in any jobjungle you’ve ever seen.

There’s the Job Order & Then, the Actual Job

My take on “headhunting”? More valuable than most “employers” can really understand. In fact, you really have to work a desk tJob concept - freedigitalo comprehend why a really well-sourced cold-call recruit is so valuable to a competitor. There’s nothing more difficult yet more valuable to any business. If I wasn’t a new grad who had no idea what an executive recruiter was, and the only jobs around required experience I didn’t have, I’d never have survived long enough to figure it out.

Rough, though. Solitary confinement, pushing up against pessimism, negativism, ostracism. And every form of egotism.

That’s why I got into something easy.

The BountyJobs program assumes that a job is a definable, tangible “thing.” Yet we know employers haven’t got a clue about who they want -– let alone need. How can an army of talking-point tellersellers “fill” some “opening” that doesn’t exist?

Am I wrong here, skullseekers? Did the last warmblood you placed resemble the job order? At all ? Isn’t it likely that the BountyJobs order is really a wish list that has probably changed several times since it was posted?

Don’t Blame BountyJobs

I’m not blaming BountyJobs for this. Doing so would be like blaming recruiters for employee turnover.

Michael, I get that you’re professionally offended at the way you think BountyJobs reduces the “headhunter” to an empty mask. BountyJobs sets the rate you will receive, BountyJobs sets the terms you must meet, and then the employer subjectively defines whether you have performed. Do you sell well when you feel like you’re selling out? Can you really identify with the wonder of that employer as you Gatorade up for the close?

BountyJobs calls itself a “cloud-based solution,” and it is definitely cloud-based. In my 48 years as a headhunter (as that term is properly used), HR manager, career author and placement lawyer, I’d say this cloud is based in the ozone layer.

Nothing in this reply should be construed as impugning the integrity of BountyJobs. In fact, the program appears to be well thought-out and well intentioned. It discloses its terms simply, and it seems legally and practically sound. It may also work well for certain kinds of desk jockeys.

Of course, we’re really not concerned about the viability of the BountyJobs business model to BountyJobs’ investors. We’re concerned about the viability of your business model to you. I agree with you about the fallacy of perceived value to the employer too, Michael. They never have the privilege of working with guys like you. In exchange for telling all comers what to charge, they take longer to hire, get a less qualified candidate, make less profit, and get to do it again because their new hire doesn’t last. Smart.

So I can’t recommend BountyJobs for the reasons I’ve stated. But if it works for you, please let me know. If you’re one of the “10,000 registered headhunters” who can back up your success with verifiable facts, it would be my pleasure to use a JOC to share that success with our readers.

Michael – best wishes always. Truly you are a role model for – Argh! — HEADHUNTERS!

Now get back to your jungle gym,


Image courtesy of ddpavumba /

More than thirty-five years ago, Jeffrey G. Allen, J.D., C.P.C. turned a decade of recruiting and human resources management into the legal specialty of placement law. Since 1975, Jeff has collected more placement fees, litigated more trade secrets cases, and assisted more placement practitioners than anyone else. From individuals to multinational corporations in every phase of staffing, his name is synonymous with competent legal representation. Jeff holds four certifications in placement and is the author of 24 popular books in the career field, including bestsellers How to Turn an Interview into a Job, The Complete Q&A Job Interview Book and the revolutionary Instant Interviews. As the world?s leading placement lawyer, Jeff?s experience includes: Thirty-five years of law practice specializing in representation of staffing businesses and practitioners; Author of ?The Allen Law?--the only placement information trade secrets law in the United States; Expert witness on employment and placement matters; Recruiter and staffing service office manager; Human resources manager for major employers; Certified Personnel Consultant, Certified Placement Counselor, Certified Employment Specialist and Certified Search Specialist designations; Cofounder of the national Certified Search Specialist program; Special Advisor to the American Employment Association; General Counsel to the California Association of Personnel Consultants (honorary lifetime membership conferred); Founder and Director of the National Placement Law Center; Recipient of the Staffing Industry Lifetime Achievement Award; Advisor to national, regional and state trade associations on legal, ethics and legislative matters; Author of The Placement Strategy Handbook, Placement Management, The National Placement Law Center Fee Collection Guide and The Best of Jeff Allen, published by Search Research Institute exclusively for the staffing industry; and Producer of the EMPLAW Audio Series on employment law matters. Email him at


9 Comments on “BountyJobs: Legal, Practical. But Is It Right For You?

  1. I had a similar experience recently with a long-time client who recently moved to a web-based product called Candex. I work with a local California-based $300M division of this multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company based in the Midwest.

    Candex sounds similar to BountyJobs in that the Employer posts their job with the “bounty” for the placement fee, and “invites” you to submit candidates. Candex, like BountyJobs, takes a 6% “cut” from the recruiter’s placement fee for the “convenience” of participating in their program. I baulked at this with my client and they agreed to increase the placement fee percentage for the search in order to cover the fee Candex was charging me, because they too felt it was unfair. I didn’t ask to participate in Candex!
    And, under Candex, the Employer’s payment terms were 60 days, and Candex pays me immediately upon receipt of funds from the employer. I discussed this point as well with my client, explaining that as a “solopreneur”, 60 days is just too long to wait for my fee payment. Again they agreed with me and committed to me to pay Candex’ invoice within 2-3 weeks so that I’d get paid as close to 30 days as possible. They’ve always paid their invoices to me within 30 days in the past and entrusted it would be true under this scenario.

    The only terms that Candex sets out that I absolutely don’t agree with is their 6 month guarantee requirement. I also explained this to the client (who has traditionally agreed to a 90 day guarantee) and that as a result, my scruitiny & due dilligence on candidates will be even higher than the norm they’ve grown to expect over the years. I wanted to set their expectations that they won’t be seeing a high number of resumes from me because I won’t be presenting anyone that I have even a shadow of a doubt won’t be a long-term employee for them (due to possible commute issues, etc.). My feeling is that guarantee periods are tricky because this is something I feel we as third party recruiters have no control over, because we have absolutely no control over what goes on at the company for our candidate after we place them. (I personally think 90 days is ridiculous, but it seems to continue to be the industry norm),. My client said that they would honor the traditional 90 day terms, and according to my guarantee language in my contract that they had signed before Candex came into the picture. I don’t give money back, but will work on replacement only if exciusive, and only if I was paid on a timely basis).

    Also in this scenario I was the only external recruiter “invited” to participate in this particular search, so I did get the exclusivity that I had asked for on this contingent search.

    So – at the end of the day, it really was my strong relationships with this particular client that enabled me to work within the structure provided by Candex. So, I suppose if I didn’t have this, I’d be leary of working within the Candex structure and would just have to evaluate the probability for success.
    As a side note — because I’m now a member of the recruiter community in Candex, I do often get invited to submit candidates to other Employers with opportunities within the Candex community, should I chose to participate.
    Hope this helps give some compare/contrast info re: BountyJobs

    1. My response to any companies using BJ: You get what you pay for. The net fee to recruiters on a 20% fee is 15%. On 25%, it is 18.75%. Companies which pay lower fees receive less recruiting expertise, reduced service, and higher placement risk. Contingency recruiters stack rank search assignments based on where they see the greatest payoff. They also value exclusivity. BJ does not give recruiters exclusivity, and instead, lower fees. Recruiters, if you use BJ, you are doing yourself and the recruiting industry a disservice in my opinion. – Mike Ramer

      1. In other word, one would have to charge a 35% to get say 28%? I can understand a 6-7% cut out of the fee, but 25% is a bit excessive.
        If recruiters collectively chooses to not register or boycott BJ, then what?

  2. This probably won’t be a popular comment among many readers, but I don’t know of a single, real “executive recruiter” who would ever consider working under these circumstances. Bounty Jobs is in existence for 4 reasons:
    1. Companies have no commitment to an effective talent strategy
    2. Companies are looking for a cheap, easy way to recruit
    3. 95% of the recruiters provide no real value
    4. Most recruiters aren’t talented enough to build relationships with clients who would never consider a service like BJobs.
    Bounty Jobs is like Franchisor…No risk, all the reward. Remember, you get what you pay for!

  3. It’s a nice idea..clients are always looking for ways to lessen the fee to pay recruiters.

    Nothing new.

    How about all of the seasoned recruiters in the room get together and create a website that resells our clients various services for a lower price and then we can politely tell them that they’re on their own to get paid.

    At the end of the day..there was panic around, panic around, panic around Bounty Jobs…who cares?! Quality recruitment always wins…and if you’re losing clients to this type of firm…good riddens. Focus on clients that understand the blood, sweat and yes, tears that go into our well deserved 25-30%.

  4. I’ve used BountyJobs on multiple occasions. I’m sorry, let me rephrase that…I’ve HAPPILY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY used BountyJobs on multiple occasions. And will do so again.

    The preconceived notions of those who work with the service here are worthy of head-shaking and head-scratching. Users are engaged in “casino gambling” and are little better than “resume roulette”, “volume telemarketers”?

    Well, first, I’d argue that you’re never going to be rid of those types as long as recruiting remains a low-barrier to entry business. I would suppose it works on Bounty like it works anywhere else. The cream always rises.

    I don’t know to whom you’re referring in this article, but I they aren’t the recruiters I come across there. Believe me, I wish it were!

    I am a sole practitioner with about 15 years of experience. I specialize in this space. I worked in this industry before becoming a recruiter/headhunter/search professional/whatever in it.

    You know what Bounty does for me? It gives me a chance that MANY other companies never gave me or an army of recruiters like me.

    Do you realize how many times I’ve:

    1) Had to go through HR even though I already had a strong relationship with several hiring managers?

    2) Been unable to even get into certain clients because I’m not on a “vendor list”? Even when I’ve already spoken to the hiring manager and taken the order. Even when I had a great candidate for it. Talk about frustration!

    3) Been forced to work at an arbitrarily reduced fee due to budget cuts?

    4) Made tons of calls and emails and lunch appointments with hiring managers of companies to even get “in”?

    5) Made tons of calls into companies to even get a job order?

    And, I consider myself a very skilled, capable and resourceful recruiter. I can source a candidate in a variety of ways. I’m hardly limited to only the names in LinkedIn or some ATS. Give me a few days and if need be, I can map out every single person in an organization. I know I can because I’ve done it. And I’ve done it because I’ve been taught how to do it by the very best at it! (Thanks, Maureen!)

    I haven’t spoken to the gatekeeper I can’t get through or around yet. He or she is only one person. It’s a simple war of attrition. A capable recruiter simply has too many weapons to lose. You’re not getting waterboarded if you’re found out, just hung up on. And guess what? They even let you try it again!

    I work in a rather specific part of the Accounting & Finance space. I have to find candidates for positions with rather specific backgrounds that are quite difficult to find.

    BountyJobs doesn’t change ANY of that.

    Monster/CareerBuilder resumes don’t get the fees from my clients on BountyJobs any more than they do outside the virtual marketplace.

    Is it practical? Absolutely!

    Look, at the end, this business is about two things: Volume and Time Management.

    We can go on and on about the soft skills, the sales acumen, writing the perfect email or leaving the voicemail that gets returned, voicing, scripting, closing techniques, developing better consulting skills, etc.

    But in the end, those things are still slaves to the fundamental forces of our business. Light is awesome and light is FAST! But guess what? Light still “bends the knee” to Gravity. The same goes with everything else in this business in relation to volume and time management.

    And I BELIEVE in all of the soft skills I mentioned. I work on them regularly myself. I think they are RIGHT. I think developing them is crucial and important to my long term success in this business.

    But they aren’t absolutely essential.

    But we ALL know THOSE (not that one) but THOSE SEVERAL practitioners who DO NONE OF THAT but still billed $500,000+ last year!

    I have seen zombies on “THE WALKING DEAD” who have more charisma than some of the headhunters/recruiters I personally know who routinely bill large amounts year-in and out! And you KNOW you have too! We are LOATHED to admit it, of course.

    But it’s true.

    BountyJobs cuts out a HUGE part of my day. HUGE! I don’t have to go through the time-wasting machinations I used to that were required to get a job order.

    So? What’s wrong with that?

    I get back COUNTLESS hours that was spent marketing to do what actually brings in the fee and brings satisfaction to the client. Finding the RIGHT candidate!

    Also, BountyJobs has measures in place that easily tell an HR person or hiring manager that someone’s a “resume shop”. Doesn’t mean they can’t work, but if an HR person wants to look into that stat it’s right there and it’s easy to see. It’s not BountyJobs making that decision. BountyJobs didn’t create the resume-pusher. It’s the clients who keep them in business.

    So, what am I locked into exactly? I’m a sole practitioner. I’m sorry, but on my own, I’ve NEVER needed 30% or 35% on a search. I’ll take it, sure. But I am more than happy to work at 20% to 25% of a salary.

    I never saw 20% or 25% of what I billed at any firm I worked for, I’ll tell you that much! So, I have NO problem whatsoever giving the 25% to BountyJobs because in a lot of cases, it provided me a way into a company that if not for sheer time constraints alone, I would not have been able to get inside.

    Now, I do believe the 2 month period until getting paid is a bit much. But it’s far from untenable. I’ve had some clients where I was able to negotiate immediate payment, and some where I haven’t. It’s not a huge deal and it’s still better than when I was with a firm.

    Now, do I think a recruiter should be forced to use BountyJobs when they’ve already established a relationship with a client?

    No. They didn’t need BountyJobs help to get into that particular client. So, they shouldn’t be required to forfeit 25% of their fee just because the employer is directing them to BountyJobs.

    But, for anyone in that position, that’s your so-called long-time client with whom you had this rock-solid relationship doing that to you, NOT bounty.

    So, is BountyJobs perfect? No, of course not. But to talk about it like the status quo is some kind of wonderful is strange.

  5. “Did the last warmblood you placed resemble the job order? At all ?”
    I don’t know what kinds of job openings that they have on Bounty Jobs. Maybe you place sales people. But if you’re placing Anesthesiologists or Aerodynamicists then yes, absolutely.

  6. I was contacted by a recruiter from bounty jobs for placement in a large corporation. That position did not work forward a few weeks later, I all by myself applied for another position in the same corporation..( my dream job, btw). the bounty jobs recruiter had NOTHING to do with it. the job posting was basically created for me to apply. Turns out there is some kind of issue, because any position i apply for for a 6 month period. bounty jobs get paid? WHAT. how can this be. Should i worry this may keep the employer from hiring me due to not wanting to pay a fee to someone ? I cant imagine not getting this job becasue of some nonsense like this.

    Thank you

  7. I’ve been recruiting for 21 years and BJ is the prostitute of the industry. Lower fees, longer net on payment, no communication or relationship with the client and you’re competing with 100 other recruiters. Terrible.. I’ve seen as many as 12 candidates submitted within an hour. You mean to tell me that a recruiter has had time to learn about an organization and the job, find a great candidate, properly screen them and submit them within minutes?? Ridiculous! It’s all about speed, not quality. Recruiters who use BJ are just lazy in my opinion.

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