Don’t Pay the Ferryman… A Recruitment Industry Parable…
Who would have thought? Back in ’82 when Chris De Burgh penned the classic tune Don’t Pay the Ferryman he was actually… consciously or otherwise… responsible for the most concise… yet overreaching… thought process clients run through when dealing with the recruitment industry in history!
Don’t pay the Ferryman (substitute Recruiter)
Don’t even fix a price
Don’t pay the Ferryman
Until he gets you to the other side…
Sound familiar? It should. Figures show that less than 3% of recruitment assignments globally are retained. That means that over 97% of us aren’t getting paid until after the job is done and that my friends is just bulls&*t!
Some of you may be nodding your head in agreement… some shaking your head in frustrated resignation… and the rest? Well you’re probably still humming along to CDB rocking it in his oversized overcoat and white lace cravat and fighting the temptation to watch the above music video for the 3rd time.
You want to know who I blame? Us. Quite simply the recruitment industry was set up to fail and too few have committed to the internal change we need to become a true profession.
Sticking with the Ferryman analogy. We are an industry that is not trusted. We are often accused of shoddy quality work… poor treatment of candidates… and more annoying than a zika virus carrying mosquito on a tropical holiday. Clients follow the mantra of not paying until we get them to the other side… and as such we are set up in constant competition and measured on speed to market… surely this is a direct attack on our ability to provide a quality service?
The way I see it we have 3 choices.
- Keep doing what we’re doing. Sure some of you are making money… but the model is broken. Clients aren’t engaged – in fact most of them see you as a necessary evil. They resent the fact that you charge them an exorbitant fee at the end of a process, because they can’t see the value in your service.
- Increase your retained assignments. By getting a commitment up front from clients and shutting out competitors you have the ability to provide a real quality service. You won’t cut corners. You will work closer with your clients, because they have invested in you… and you establish a partnership. *Disclaimer. Don’t for a moment think that retainers come easy. You need to re-educate your client base and commit fully to the value of the model.
- Payment for Service – Right now the recruitment industry is pay for outcome. Imagine if you put your annual tax return out to 4 Accountants and only paid the fastest and best. Same with Doctors…. Lawyers… even Mechanics. Isn’t it time we were paid for service? It may be per segment of the recruitment process. It maybe per hour. If we can guarantee the quality of the work we do… and the honesty of the time committed… it is possible.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. How would you improve the quality of our service? What do you think the future holds for our industry? Are we always going to be nothing more than Ferrymen (or Ferrywomen)? I hope not.
PS… Recstra is coming…