Bribes and Kickbacks

I was reading a post recently that discussed the pros and cons of offering bribes or kickbacks to candidates to take jobs. In the post, the author stated:

“We can understand why a candidate would want to use a recruiting firm that gives them $10,000.00 or whatever it is when they place them. That’s a lot of money anywhere…When you get that $10,000.00 it’s almost like a justification for moving.”

As well:

“…I understand why recruiting firms would want to offer it. It is a great way to drum up business; especially if you advertise it. You can advertise that you pay money to people when they are placed. That’s something that certainly will draw in lots and lots and lots of candidates.”

However, the post continued on with some of the business and ethical reasons why this may not be the best route to take. Some discussed included:

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  • Paying out candidate kickbacks takes money out of your placement fee, and ultimately out of your operating budget.
  • If you advertise this practice and your clients know about it, they may approach hiring any of your candidates with more extreme caution.
  • Your clients may be led to believe that the candidate wouldn’t have taken the job if there were no kickback from you.
  • There is the potential of attaching a stigma to your candidates if they are hired; their new co-workers may view them in a less than favorable light.
  • Once a candidate is known to accept kickbacks, they may be suspected of being disloyal to any potential new employers.

So, there are certainly plusses and minuses to this practice. Paul Hawkinson covered this topic a couple years ago too in the Fordyce article Inducements, Kickbacks, Bribes, Sweeteners. What are your thoughts on this? Please share in the comments below!

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, and, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.


2 Comments on “Bribes and Kickbacks

  1. I am just curious to know, who are these corporations that are exercising this practice of paying out Kickbacks & Bribes to potential employment candidates? I would think in today’s present employment environment, the pool of talent in every industry would be deep. With the exception of a few hard skill positions, I cannot imagine a third party recruiting firm exercising this practice. However, I can see a Major Corporation paying out sign on bonuses to candidates that may bring a unique skill set to the table.

    I work with a Fortune 100 company as a Corporate Recruiter. I have been doing this work for twenty plus years. I have also worked with other Fortune 1000 companies as a Contract, Third Party and Corporate recruiter coupled with my Military recruiting career. If there are firms that are exercising this practice in today’s present recruiting environment, I do not believe that firm will be in business much longer if at all. Good recruiting, Sound practices in sourcing, identifying, cultivating and serving the customer will always glean you the talent you seek and eventually place into an Ideal position. These sorts of gimmicks lend themselves to the novices that have not refined their ability in identifying key talent. If this practice even exist on any significant scale. I am waiting and watching.

  2. I work in a high technology field at a business which is located in a very rural region. Because of the location and historically low pay scale it is almost impossible to attract skilled, experienced talent to relocate to the area. Couple this with the concept that most businesses would rather pay a recruiter commission than a hiring bonus and kickbacks become a requirement.

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