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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.

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