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No win, no fee. No thanks!

In 2015, the recruitment sector had one of its best years ever, with more than 5,000 new recruitment agencies setting up shop. There may be more to choose from, but when most continue to peddle the ‘no win, no fee’ approach, switching from one to another may feel like déjà vu. Isn’t it time for a change?

Albert Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Life Science companies looking to find high quality candidates often struggle to fill positions using ‘no win, no fee’ agencies, yet few look for an alternative. Here’s some reasons why the contingent approach may not be working for you and why it’s time for a change:

Motivation – in a ‘no win, no fee’ set up, it’s a numbers game for the recruitment agency. For every vacancy they are trying to find a candidate for, they may be up against a handful of other recruiters, significantly reducing their odds of securing the fee. In short, there’s not much incentive to go the extra mile.

Risk-reward – when working on a contingent basis, agencies need to weigh up their risk and reward. Recruiters can spend months sourcing a candidate; from getting the client brief, writing job ads, collating responses, screening candidates and briefing interviewees to negotiating salaries, T&Cs and start dates. This can take up to four months, sometimes longer.

Nowadays many clients also demand a rebate period of three months or more, where the onus is on the agency to find another suitable candidate or return the fee, should the new employee not work out. That is potentially 7 months of work before the agency keeps the full fee, which is a very high risk to reward ratio. Would you want to work with your clients on this basis and what type of service would you be able to provide?

Representation – the first time a prospective candidate hears about your business it could be from a recruiter, so it’s important that the agency understands what you do, your culture and is able to represent you in the most positive light. If agencies are working against the clock, they may not be taking the time to represent their client properly, putting off good candidates. Also, imagine what hiring a pushy recruiter says about the way you do business…

Talent spotting – finding top talent takes time, particularly in specialist roles where suitable candidates are few in numbers. When using a ‘no win, no fee’ agency, their priority will be on getting the job done quickly to reduce their risk. This means that they won’t put in as much time and effort as they could to exhaust all avenues in their search for the perfect candidate, and you will probably get your fair share of irrelevant CVs. So while you may get a good selection of people to interview in the end, you may still be missing Mr or Miss Right.

Recruitment is a very competitive – and now crowded – marketplace and finding the right agency is not easy for life science companies. For SMEs in particular, where a single appointment can have a huge impact on the business, it’s worth investing in a recruitment agency that will work alongside you to help find the right person for the job, not an agency solely interested in a quick appointment.

If we are going to improve standards throughout the recruitment industry we need to stop promoting poor work practice and focus on the agencies who will represent your company and brand in the correct light, and ensure the candidate’s experience is a positive one. Now is the time to shake things up and take a new approach. By using a recruitment agency on a retained basis, clients can better access the professional skills they don’t have in-house and find the best appointments for their business. With a nominal fee up front, the recruiter has the resources they need to find the best candidates, raising the quality of interviewees and securing better outcomes for the client.

If you want to talk to us about a new way of recruiting the right people for your business, contact us for a confidential chat.

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9th November

market update

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