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  Moving forward, we have established the following clear criteria to explain
  how employees will be eligible for the $10K referral bonus:
  - The employee must provide a referral for a full-time hire.
  - The referred employee must work at Miso for 6 full months after hire date
    (excluding any leaves of absence)
  - The referring employee must be employed at Miso and not have given notice
    to depart the company prior to the date of the bonus payment.
I don't understand the point of the third rule. Why isn't that 6 months too? This way they have an incentive to delay payment if they think an employee might leave.

The third rule sucks, in my opinion. Referral bonuses are a good deal for the company: they help the company to (1) recruit good employees and (2) save money on recruiting, since these bonuses are usually much less than the hefty fraction of an employee's salary that they'd have to pay to a headhunter. If you leave a company after referring somebody, it doesn't change the fact that you found the company a good employee and saved them money, so it would seem unfair to refuse to pay you the bonus, even if you're no longer an employee -- in that case, they'd be able to profit from your connections without giving you anything in return.

They wouldn't be able to get away with not paying a headhunter just because he sent his invoice in after the company decided to not renew their contract with him. The fact that they can legally get away with stiffing an ex-employee doesn't make it any more ethical.

The "after you gave notice" part in particular is quite stupid. It will simply encourage people to wait longer to give notice, or not give notice at all.

Were I leaving a company amicably and had no other constraint on my time (say I'm planning to start my own company, or even just take a couple years off), I'd give several weeks, if not a few months' notice, to maximize flexibility for everyone. If I knew it was going to screw me out of $10,000, however, I definitely would not extend that courtesy.

the third rule is there so that they can say that they were right to not pay this guy.

that's all.

they don't think they've done wrong here. in the same situation they want to be able to do the same and get away with it. these aren't people who have learnt something about keeping their word - they're paying because it's the best way to manage the crisis. the third rule is to justify their actions: they don't feel wrong; they regret that they were caught without a good excuse.

they have come out of this looking appalling. worst of all, they don't get the idea that people - good, committed engineers - don't stay or leave because of salaries and bonuses. they leave because management sucks.

Perhaps he is trying to suggest that Joshua gave notice before his 6 months were up, therefore shift the blame back to the ex-employee. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

That's exactly what he's trying to do. This isn't an apology or an admission of any wrongdoing, it's an obvious attempt to reshape perception of their original actions by pretending their motives were different than they really were. Motives that were utterly self-evident from their very first reply:

> After you lost our data and caused our entire company to scramble for 3 days, I am hesitant.

Everything since then has been trying to unring the bell.

If he cost the company 10k in lost engineering time with his mistake, it's only natural that they'd feel hesitant, even if they legally owe him.

The thing about contracts is that you can't just put any old unfair term in there, because both parties have the right to a fair contract, and a court can rule that particular terms are unfair. I wouldn't be surprised if there is some employment law which is being broken by that 3rd term already, because it allows the company to withhold the bonus for an arbitrary amount of time: they could avoid ever having to pay it by simply waiting until an employee gives notice, then saying "oh we can't pay that anymore" - no way is that a fair term. These guys are cowboys.

What I learned earlier this year is that tech recruiters get paid a flat fee for their services, plus a percentage of the recruitee's salary after some vesting period, usually 6 months. From what I heard, that percentage was between 15-25 percent.

Consider that the average programmer's salary is above 60k. 15% of that is 9k, plus the flat fee. The company has already gotten roughly 10k out of this referral transaction. It's not just an incentive to build a strong team...it's how much they'd have to pay if there were no employee referral program at all.

I think your numbers might be conservative. 60k is a low intro-level salary for most metro areas and many recruiters wouldn't bother. Finding intro-level programmers is relatively easy so the burden of proof and stakes are high for the recruiter. It's a gamble and generally not worth his or her reputation.

I was indeed choosing a conservative number so there wouldn't be much of a counterargument about the 10k value aspect. My point was mainly that 10k for a 6 month vested tech hire is something other tech companies pay to non employees.

This benefit scheme appears to be designed to encourage team building. The cost of replacing a good employee is greater then the benefit gained from introducing a new hire. I guess they don't want to reward someone for team building when they are actually a net loss in this area. I think they should have read this[1] and thought about this a bit more.

1. http://blog.fogcreek.com/why-do-we-pay-sales-commissions/

How about you sign up someone for your own job?

I'm not sure whether this should be rewarded or not, but it seems a situation that he's alluding to in that rule.

The point of the third rule is to alert their investors that they're making sure that any people who leave will not be part of the process to hire their replacements.

That doesn't make any sense. The rule says 'prior to payment' and the payment doesn't happen until after the new hire is there for 6 months. So if I recommend a friend, then leave 5 months later, I don't get the bonus. How does this mean that I am hiring my replacement?

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