Referral fees

Subject: Referral fees
From: Cheryl Magadieu <cherylm -at- atg -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 13:51:03 -0500

I'd like to delve a bit deeper into a subject that we discussed on TECHWR-L last June: referral fees. Joanne Meehl asked whether finder's fees are commonplace when recruiting technical writers. A few people said that their company does indeed offer finder's fees. Here are some of the fees that people mentioned and the number of companies that offer those fees:

$2,500 1 company
$2,000 2 companies
$1,500 4 companies
$500 1 company

Some companies offer additional bonuses. For example, John Garrison said Integrated Development Enterprise offers a 4-day trip to the Bahamas and a chance to win a contest with $20,000 in prizes.

It was interesting comparing the various companies' referral fees with agency fees. John Garrison said agency recruiting fees are 25% to 35% of the employee's salary. John Posada said agencies pay $2,000 or $3,000 for a senior writer.

At my company, if a referral has been employed for 90 days, we offer a $3,000 referral fee for "technical" hires (such as developers) and $1,500 for technical writers, plus a $250 gift certificate to J. Crew. At the end of the year, employees who have referred other employees have a chance to win a drawing at the end of the year; the winner receives an all-expense-paid, one-week trip to an "exotic" location that's determined at the end of the year.

As you can imagine, I'm not sure why my employer considers technical writers to be non-technical employees. In this company, technical writers are part of the Engineering department, are expected to have three to five years of tech writing experience, and are expected to quickly learn a good deal of material about Java programming and databases. Considering how difficult it is to hire experienced tech writers these days, I think the $3,000 "technical" employee fee is more appropriate.

I'd like to hear more about what the situation is like at your company. Please let me know the following

a) What is the referral fee for technical writers at your company?
b) Are technical writers considered to be "technical" hires at your company?

I'll compile a list of the responses and send them to the list.

Cheryl Magadieu

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