Why Isn’t “Contingency” like “APF” By Now?

October 28, 2009

I’ll bet if we ask 10 recruiters in the business for 3 years or less what APF means they won’t know. I started in 1985 and it was a couple years before anyone explained APF and EPF to me. It means Applicant Pays Fee. I gather there used to be a lot of business done both ways. I have read about it but never seen it. That’s probably a good thing.

My main point is that I do not understand why our whole industry has not been making major moves to get engagement fees for actual searches. Now that I have been doing sourcing on engagement only partially for 10 years and totally for 5. I just don’t understand why there isn’t a training article or seminar on doing this every time I look up. 

I am not suggesting everyone move to a totally retained practice. That’s a different business with its own set of challenges and I have come to see it as really a different service but the idea of getting some kind of engagement fee or retainer to go do some work solves SO many problems. Now that I have been doing it for a while I don’t think it is harder than what I was doing before.

The whole premise feels so much more honest for us and the clients. The ones who pay have a need or they would not pay. When they pay they now can stop asking themselves ‘Why WOULD I necessarily hear from this guy again if I didn’t pay him?’

It forces some discipline on recruiters in many areas of the process. I am forcing myself not to get into those now because I have a bunch of calls to make on a bunch of searches.

I just really want to know why EVERY trainer both paid or internal doesn’t have “The check cleared” as THE number one criterion for every job order grading scale. I KNOW not everyone will actually do it. I was in 3 years before I got my first one and 10 when I started trying all the time and 15 before it was ‘pay or not’. It is just so good to be able to ask myself “Why would I go try to find that for nothing?”

To be clear, we make contingency placements regularly. We just reserve actual sourcing for people who pay.

It’s just mystifying that this isn’t considered ‘part of the path’ instead of just something some people do.

This is the part where I should tout my VideoAudioBookSeminar but I only know 1 or 2 people who make more doing that stuff than making placements.

I am no longer pretty enough and I am too cantankerous to start down that path. Someone should though…Gotta go…closing call…


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