The Problem With Recruitment Fees And Why We Changed Our Pricing Model

It’s been 5 months since we started asking companies to pay to use TalentRocket and honestly, it feels like 5 years. 5 months is a long time in startup-land and we’ve grown up a lot. Adding thousands to our talent pool, adding cool new features and new faces to the team.

We started TalentRocket because we wanted to change the way recruitment was done. We hated the way that recruiters held companies to ransom over high fees (15-25% of salary) for simply spamming candidates on LinkedIn and shifting CVs. We know that’s not how everyone works, but we also know that it’s how a lot of recruiters work. We didn’t want to just be a job board; we’re trying to create a meatball that’s a bit spicier. We want to help people find their perfect work environment; we want to help companies find people that fit in culturally. This means company culture pages, candidate profiles, matching algorithms and a lot of hard work.

Why do we have to charge anything?

  • We create company profiles showcasing your culture – these take time to create.
  • We post all your jobs and send them to your followers – this takes even more time and sending thousands of emails costs money.
  • We find and promote your company culture content to your followers – this takes time.
  • We build cool features to find, follow and connect with great talent in your market – this takes time, money and effort.
  • We attract the best talent for you to hire directly – this takes time, money and effort. (I’m actually writing this from the back of a careers fair; I’ve been here all day and individually pitched nearly 500 candidates on the virtues of finding a company culture they love…)

Our original pricing plan

When it came to launching our pricing plan in November 2015 we were stuck on a problem. How do we charge companies who are hiring lots of people more than companies who aren’t hiring much? We looked at various different options including:

The user licence model

This model means that companies with more active recruiters would pay more with ones with less. But having used licence model products before (LinkedIn, Monster etc) I found that companies usually just opt for one licence and share the email and password around to save on costs. People move jobs quickly and limiting company users especially for larger companies doesn’t encourage collaboration with the product.

The pay per job post model

We are so much more than a job board. TalentRocket is about building a relationship with talent over time not just a volume-driven job board. We’re about culture and attracting missionaries to your cause. Job boards only attract candidates who are actively looking to move. This was an obvious no go.

The pay per hire model

Recruiters charge huge fees. Even “productised services” (recruiters that don’t want to be known as recruiters) like, Risehigh, etc charge between 10-15% of salary per hire. That’s not innovative, that’s just re-branding of an agency model that already exists.

The pay up front model

There’s a lot of legwork in getting a company profile live on TalentRocket, one option would be to charge companies upfront or for a yearly subscription to the platform. We thought companies would see this as risky as they had to invest a lot upfront and not give them much flexibility if they weren’t getting value.

The model we chose

So, instead, we decided to on a hybrid model. A subscription to the platform with unlimited job listings for all companies, plus a small hiring fee of £500 for each successful hire. This seemed, at the time, to be the best of both worlds, everyone paid the same whether you listed 1 or 100 jobs a month (some companies actually listed 100+) and companies just pay more when they make a hire – but still a lot less than recruitment agencies.

The problem with charging hiring fees

Candidates hate the fact recruiters charge fees. What if they’re interviewing against someone who doesn’t have a fee? They are undeniably disadvantaged. Let me give you a scenario to elaborate the point:

You’re hiring for a role and you’ve got two great candidates you literally can’t choose between. One comes with no hiring fee. The other one does. Which one are you going to offer the job to?

Working in recruitment I’d seen this before and it totally sucked knowing that your fee was probably the reason the candidate wasn’t getting a job offer. We always look to put the candidate experience first, so one day, I came into work and said “let’s ditch hiring fees”. The office went quiet…

Our new pricing plan

We know that waiving hiring fees is best outcome for the candidate, so once we we’re all in agreement, we got really excited about creating a pricing plan that every company felt like they were getting value. We knew we needed a fairer way to segment the startups that were just posting 1 or 2 jobs a month and the scale-ups who are posting 5, 10 even 20+. So we thought, what the heck, let’s just offer people subscription tiers.

We decided on 3 plans, Asteroid, Star and Galactic (there’s a space theme at TalentRocket Towers). These tiers represent 3 different buyer personas; early stage startup, funded startup and scale-up. All plans come with the usual benefits including company culture promotion, follower/follow back functionality, messaging, access to talent, job postings, job alert emails.

The Asteroid plan

Our smallest plan is meant for startups looking to grow. Mainly used by Founders and Hiring Managers, this plan gives you 3 live listings per month and access to thousands of great candidates, but only 1 team member account to manage it all.

The Star plan

Our middle plan is meant for well-funded startups looking to list more jobs (up to 10 live per month) and get unlimited access to the talent pool and 3 team member accounts.

The Galactic plan

This badass plan is for pro Recruiters or HR Managers in scale-ups and SMEs who want to promote their culture and attract the best and use more advanced talent sourcing tools. With unlimited jobs and team members.

If you want to sign your company up for TalentRocket, then you can read more about us here.

Chris and Team TalentRocket