It is shown that attractive electrostatic interactions between regions of positive charge in RF plasmas and the negative charge of metal wetting layers, present during compound semiconductor film growth, can have a greater influence than substrate temperature on film morphology. Using GaN and InN film growth as examples, the DC field component of a remote RF plasma is demonstrated to electrostatically affect metal wetting layers to the point of actually determining the mode of film growth. Examples of enhanced self-seeded nanopillar growth are provided in the case where the substrate is directly exposed to the DC field generated by the plasma. In another case, we show that electrostatic shielding of the DC field from the substrate can result in the growth of Ga-face GaN layers from gallium metal wetting layers at 490 °C with root-mean-square roughness values as low as 0.6 nm. This study has been carried out using a migration enhanced deposition technique with pulsed delivery of the metal precursor allowing the identification of metal wetting layers versus metal droplets as a function of the quantity of metal source delivered per cycle. It is also shown that electrostatic interactions with the plasma can affect metal rich growth limits, causing metal droplet formation for lower metal flux than would otherwise occur. Accordingly, film growth rates can be increased when shielding the substrate from the positive charge region of the plasma. For the example shown here, growth rates were more than doubled using a shielding grid.