This article in Recruitment Grapevine has really got us thinking this week http://www.recruitmentgrapevine.com/article/2015-06-15-boss-offers-1000-to-candidates-reaching-final-stage-of-interview
In essence, the author – a company boss – has decided that rather than pay recruiters for their time in finding the right candidates, he will pay £1000 to any applicant that makes it through to the more time-consuming final interview stage.
As the final interview stage requires preparing a marketing strategy and presenting it, the assumption is that by paying candidates for this time and effort, it means that passive candidates are more invigorated to apply. He figures that a £5k spend to get five good candidates in the running, for example, is more worthwhile than paying a recruiter. In some respects he could be right. He’s possibly had a bad experience with a recruitment agency in the past, or maybe he just wants to try something a bit different and see how it goes.
It’s noble to think of compensating a candidate for their time and efforts. After all, we understand the frustration of working hard to try to land a job, maybe even taking time off your current role to prepare, only to see it all go to waste, or worse, the prospective company later using the good ideas you spent your time and experience creating for the interview. This way, at least the candidate gets something out of it, although care would need to be taken to see that the payment is not used as an excuse to make the selection process more tiresome and frustrating than it really needs to be.
Do we think it’s a good idea?
In our opinion, if someone needs motivating to get to final interview, they’re probably not right for the role. Ultimately, it changes the natural selection process of the interviews. Rather than the talent filtering to the top through a comprehensive interview process, the role is likely to land with someone who is motivated but not necessarily the most skilled.
Another possibility is that it creates a culture of people applying for the job, and playing the application process, in order to claim their £1000 reward. How long would it take you to earn £1000? From this perspective, it’s not hard to see why someone would spend a few hours of their time, even up to a couple of days happy to go through the preparation required for an intensive final interview.
Candidate shortage or not, I think it’s unlikely to achieve the desired results.
What’s the alternative?
Well, is paying a recruiter really so bad? It’s not as if we sit around doing nothing apart from pocketing the cash. Aside from advertising the role, drawing up a specification, putting the job under the noses of our pool of both active and known passive candidates, vetting potential candidates, doing background checks, carrying out preliminary interviews, negotiating on your behalf, and helping the candidate to settle in with you, I suppose we could be worth a few quid!
Another idea is to turn the whole thing on its head and make candidates pay to apply for a job with you, or to get to the important final interview. This way you only get candidates who are absolutely serious about the job with your company. You can always refund them later. With this process, you may even uncover a few gems who would not have got to the final stages under more traditional means, but you’ll certainly get fewer time wasters.
Verdict – paying candidates for their time could work in theory, but we suspect that this will pan out to be little more than a PR stunt, and we’re sure we’ll still be leisure industry recruiters this time next year.