A recruiter (from one of those search firms) approached me in connection to the position from a prominent company in Singapore (without disclosing who it was). I did a google search on the details of the job description and I found a job posting for that company. The title in the position was lower but the description is the same overall. I’m not too sure what this meant but a friend of mine thought it’d be interesting if I had gone ahead, apply for the job position and tried to negotiate a sign-on bonus given that I helped to save the company some fees from the recruiter.
I’ve written about the business of recruitment before and honestly, I wonder what is the value they bring. Maybe yes, they did create some value in alerting me to the position; but both the prospective employer and employee could just strike a separate bargain without them. Perhaps it makes sense for us to pay the recruiter a certain fee to be in the picture to help us negotiate a better deal with the prospective employer? Or maybe the search firm can guarantee to the company they will search for someone to take on the role again if the current person leaves within certain amount of time, and taking less or no fees off the next candidate who is suitable.
Still, I truly wonder what are the real skills that makes a recruiter his or her living. Maybe it is a niche that can be cultivated. After all, a property agent gets to know a location and the amenities better; they also focus on thinking about different demographics and their needs to serve the people better. And then there are the financial planners or insurance agents; they may go beyond the conflict of interest and think about the life stages of potential clients and what exactly are good products to offer. Recruitment companies needs to cultivate their network of people in the particular field. The difficulty is that people are starting to hop around a lot more and move around in different niches; and at the same time, the needs of the firms are transforming even if they remain in the same ‘industry’ so to speak.
Recruitment as a business is going to get tougher. And corporate customers of these search firms need to know that their bargaining position are getting better.