Paying by the hour


Revolutionary plan for permanent jobs. The debate over recruitment fees is taking a new twist as an Aberdeen-based recruitment consultancy introduces payment by the hour.

The Urquhart Partnership, which handles professional recruitment in a range of sectors from oil and gas to HR, has introduced an hourly rate for time spent working on a permanent vacancy. The company claims clients could save up to 75% of their usual recruitment fees.

This initiative was prompted by complaints from clients who resent being charged a high placement fee when an agency already has suitable candidates on its database.

�The fee therefore seems higher than is merited for the effort taken in sourcing the candidate,� said the company�s business development manager Karen Reid.

Clients can use the hourly rate scheme only if the agency works on a vacancy exclusively. A cap on the fee is established at the beginning of the assignment, explained Reid, �and we tell clients upfront if we can�t fill a vacancy, so we don�t set ourselves up to fail�.

So how can the recruitment firm afford to do it? Reid explained that on a normal assignment with, say, four agencies working to fill a vacancy, then Urquhart�s consultants had a one in four chance of filling it.

�But with this scheme our consultants are paid for the work they do every day rather than risk doing all that work for nothing,� she said. �If it only takes two hours to interview someone and perform the behavioural testing, then the client is only charged for two hours.�

She added that this brought the recruitment industry in line with other professions. �You pay for legal or accountancy advice by the hour so why pay for recruitment any other way?�

Karen Dempsey

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