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Recruitment start-up wants to make a headhunter out of everyone

Date

Sylvia Pennington

Rob Fanshawe is the latest online disruptor to take a tilt at the recruitment industry.

Rob Fanshawe is the latest online disruptor to take a tilt at the recruitment industry. Photo: Supplied

Tired of people asking you for contacts when they've got a situation vacant, or headhunters leaning on you to suggest candidates for roles they'll be paid handsomely to fill?

Recruiter Rob Fanshawe is the latest online disruptor to take a tilt at the recruitment industry, with a crowdsourcing platform to enable people to earn money for successfully referring friends for advertised roles.

His PeerBrief site allows companies to create a free business profile and post as many jobs as they wish. It wants to turn everyone into a headhunter.

Individuals can create a referrer profile, specifying the industries or areas of expertise in which they have connections. They receive alerts when relevant roles are posted and can refer jobs to contacts in their Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter networks.

Interested candidates then contact the advertiser directly via the platform. Should the introduction lead to a placement, the advertiser is charged a minimum fee of $1750, of which 60 per cent goes to the spotter.

"It's a generous amount but we want people to be motivated to use the system … it's still a very cost effective way of doing it," Mr Fanshawe says.

Employers are asked to give each referral a star rating and this data will be used to generate eBay-style rankings for referrers.

The feedback system is designed to discourage over-eager users from losing friends and irritating people by bombarding contacts and advertisers with inappropriate opportunities and referrals.

"You get paid on success – there is nothing in it for you if you're sending the wrong people," Mr Fanshawe says.

PeerBrief will initially focus on the technology and media industries but expects to expand to include 25 vertical markets within a year.

Peter Acheson, the chief executive of Peoplebank, Australia's largest high-tech recruiter, said the site might struggle to make a dent, given recruiters and major employers already operated their own referral schemes.

"It's a pretty crowded space," Mr Acheson said.

Peoplebank's program encouraged contractors to refer multiple colleagues to the agency and offered vouchers and giveaways rather than cash, Mr Acheson added: "That's what contractors prefer."

The recruitment sector employs 22,000 people in 7192 businesses in Australia, according to IBISWorld and PeerBrief joins a plethora of digital hopefuls eager for a slice of the $3 billion pie.

Launched last year, online middleman The Search Party enables recruiters to add their databases of candidates, purged of identifying details, to a central pool which employers are free to browse.

The site puts employers in touch with agencies whose candidates are of interest and takes 20 per cent of the fee for any placements. It's been used by more than 200 employers and 100 recruitment agencies, in Australia and the UK, and has amassed a pool of five million CVs.

Fellow up-and-comer RecruitLoop allows companies to pay professional recruiters to fill roles by the hour, rather than shelling out the four and five figure percentage-of-salary commissions charged by traditional agencies.

Founder Michael Overell says the average placement fee of $2000 represents a saving of around 80 per cent.

More than 1000 vacancies have been filled via the platform, which has been used by 500 companies including Ray White, ReMax and Bank of Queensland. Repeat business accounts for 40 per cent of activity.

Mr Fanshawe says it will take time to build a critical mass of advertisers and referrers on PeerBrief and his revenue target for 2014 is a modest $100,000.

Employers can also license and customise an enterprise version of PeerBrief's software to manage their internal referral programs. The company is in discussions with several ICT and professional services firms.

PeerBrief received $1.2 million in angel funding last year from The Ideas Factory, a UK-based private investor network.

A clever way to cash in on who you know? Or a choice means to irritate your network with alerts about jobs they're not interested in applying for?

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2 comments so far

  • I reckon I've referred about 10 people to recruiters over the past few years who've all got jobs and didn't even get a thank you. Seems like a great idea to connect the hiring company to the referrer and reward them directly

    Commenter
    Justin
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 30, 2014, 11:08AM
    • This may work for junior to mid level recruitment but not for more senior roles, where the real skill is less about finding people (as the target candidates are largely known) and motre aboiut persuading successful people to move jobs (or industries, or countries, etc)

      (And no, I'm not a head-hunter !!)

      Commenter
      Aussie Expat
      Location
      Hong Kong
      Date and time
      July 30, 2014, 2:04PM

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