When you pay a recruiter, what are you REALLY paying for?

Speaking with a potential new client on Friday, I was asked why it was “so expensive to just have an email sent with a resume attached”.

This was a great opportunity for me to trot out my ever-favourite ‘Diamonds’ analogy.

Diamonds are a scarce resource; they are found by exploration companies who buy vast pieces of land, because their research shows there could be diamonds in there. Equipment is bought and transported. raw materials are mined, crushed and screened; diamonds are discovered and sorted. They are then shipped and sold to retailers, who buy them, insure them, and hold them as inventory in fancy retail stores which demand high rents, overseen by staff who are paid to be there for whenever you decide you want diamond.

That’s why, when you go into a store and ask for a 1ct teardrop diamond, the assistant shows you 5 or 6 on a pretty little leather pad, and 10 minutes later you’ve spent anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000. You’re not just paying for 10 minutes of help from a retail assistant, you’re paying for ALL the work and expenses that caused that diamond to be RIGHT there, WHEN you needed it.

Recruitment is very similar, and great candidates are rare.

In our agencies, we have team of salaried people, whose sole job is to get to know our candidate pools; to learn their career goals and aspirations, what they can bring to roles and organisations, what roles they see for themselves next, where they will and won’t go, and what sort of packages and benefits they want. We do that so that WHEN you decide you need someone great for your team (or have the need forced on you), we know who to talk to and present your opportunity to, in order to deliver what you want.

When you pay a recruiter, you’re not paying for someone to send you an email with a resume and some notes attached, you’re paying for everything that went into making sure that candidate was there, and the right person for you, WHEN you needed them.


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