After the debate the “flat fee” question caused last week (and thanks to all the people from across the spectrum who came and input) I just wanted to add a follow up post from some experiences of this week pertinent to that.
We’ve built/are hosting an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) for a client. It's new to them – so there’ll be a period of learning that will need to spread across the company, and meanwhile various Managers and HR representatives will get caught between old practises and the new facility. So things won’t be perfect, but I found this activity particularly enlightening.
The hiring HR Manager engaged a company who aren’t “… a recruitment agency…” but offer a “fixed fee recruitment” service. Now I appreciate where there wasn’t an ATS before then the application process would have been simpler, but let me take you through the candidate journey as I discovered it on one of the sites being used (I hope they don’t mind) - Jobsite. (Others used include: JobCentrePlus; Jobsite; Monster; Reed; TotalJobs).
> Find unbranded job – click apply
> JobSite application form – completed with test text & dummy CV
> Thanks for applying notification
> Automated email from Flat Fee company (no subject line or personalisation) containing a link (non media specific) to the vacancy on the client site instructing you to contact the client if you have any questions as the Flat Fee company are “solely responsible for advertising this vacancy” on behalf of the client.
> the candidate then lands on the job description and then has to complete an application.
So just in case you missed this – let me explain why, in my opinion, this is a terrible experience for all involved
Candidate – well, do I really need to explain that? Hopefully not.
1. Their response would unquestionably have been greater and most likely of higher quality from using a branded advert.
2. The drop off must be pretty significant in this process (I’m sure we’ll find out in the end), and what if the best candidates were amongst those?
3. Their employer brand has certainly not received any of the benefit you’d expect from being seen to be advertising, which would likely also have driven additional traffic to then convert into sign ups to the job by email alerts and befitted in 0 cost traffic for future recruitment needs.
4. Indeed the employer brand would likely have been negatively affected by such a convoluted application process.
5. Have they actually saved money at all? Because that’s what drove this route pure and simply – the fact that they could “get greater job board coverage than through buying them individually”. I'm not sure a targetted site or two mightn't have been cheaper anyway.
6. Any possibility of tracking applicants true source (our ATS has a simple but neat way of doing this) is gone – having instead to revert to a drop down where the candidate guesses where they might have come from back when they thought they applied the first time.
1. Revenue for carrying this advert is obliterated (unless you believe that having a little of a lot is better than having a lot/all of less)
2. Any hope of engaging with the client to show them how a branded advert would have worked better (I believe generally to the power of somewhere between 5 and 7) has evaporated.
3. Value and ability to deliver is judged (wrongly – but it will be all the same) against the few applicants who get through and therefore the Job Board's brand is eroded (which is putting it mildly).
All a bit pants really isn’t it? My main client contact is clearly now aware of this and will be working as best they can to try and raise it internally and influence future activity accordingly with lessons learned. But if I, with my modest client list and within just two weeks of writing the previous post, can give a first hand account of such a set up and experience, then surely this indicates exactly what is ACTUALLY happening in so many instances across this part of the industry.
Is this straight reselling (that would seem to break many job board contracts)? I’d like someone to explain how it’s not.
And if it is then my question of that last post still holds (with a slight revision) for answering: Flat fee recruitment agencies (or at least a distinct, significant and growing percentage of them) are undercutting your business model - how this is viable for you long term?