We all like a magic trick, don’t we? From gotcha nose to the ol thumb dethatching gag it’s a delightful suspension of reality. However, I like the new school of magicians. Dynamo, the Bradford whiz kid who combined mystery and celebrity. Darren Brown, a personal hero of mine; manipulates the psyche of the average Joe to both terrifying and fascinating effect. I’ve even got a soft spot for Ol David Blaine, the crazy SOB. They represent the new breed of magician away from the deceptiveness of your Copperfield’s et al. How did David make the Statue of Liberty disappear? He put a sheet in front of it. How did David Blaine eat a lightbulb or swallow a needle? He ate glass and needles. One magician you may not be familiar with, Val Valentino. Better known as the Masked Magician. He was the scourge of the conventional magic world from 1997 – 2002 exposing all from ‘the vanishing woman’ to the ‘floating assistant’ on his hit TV show Breaking the Magicians Code; Magics Biggest Secrets Revealed. Now, I know there’s a certain level of ‘killjoyousness’ about revealing that your thumb has been attached to your hand this whole time. That’s true when you’re a grandpop with a wee bairn on your knee BUT if you’re attempting to extract money from people then I think it’s a different story.
Which brings me to the build-up of this week’s blog topic. Last Friday arvo I was making a rare appearance in Vultures on Vulcan Ln when I got an ominous message from a client “who is THE SOURCERER?” It didn’t help that he originally put “How” instead of ‘Who’ sending me down a paranoid rabbit hole trying to think of the last time I placed a candidate manager? It was only on Monday when the cat was out of 1the bag, or rather rabbit out of the hat.
I’ve never found misdirection conducive to a successful recruitment process but you’ve got to admire the ‘who is El Barto?’ style of marketing, it certainly got my attention. Many new recruitment companies proudly proclaim “we do things a bit differently” only to end up in a conventional 360 dynamic. This I can say is quite different. Firstly, payment terms are strictly 7 days, 30% of the fee is paid on briefing and the remaining 70% is to be paid when the service is delivered. What are the services I hear you ask? Well, the first option is the Big Call which valiantly saves you from “rejection, counter raids on your people or even backlash from a client” YOU SUPPLY the name AND contact details of the person you want to speak to and for only a little over $1000 they will dial up to TEN digits on a phone and see if they have any interest. A Mr or Mrs “A.T.” is credited with the testimonial of dreams! The M&A Specialist quipped they “Used the Big Call. We got the Big Result!” imagine that coming through the inbox as feedback! It’s so perfect!
The aptly named Whodini is the next service, considering the rate your recruitment budget is disappearing. It’s best used when you have a “good recruitment team and methodology” Thankfully someone does! This service includes receiving a candidate’s name and contact details. Specifically, their “phone, email, mobile” that’s going to set you back $950, at least they’re not charging GST or per letter! Finally, The White Rabbit. This is when “you’ve got nothing on the shortlist and you have to deliver next week” aka super desperate. It’s a life jacket when confronted with the reality of drowning under your client’s expectations. How much does this buoyant beacon of hope cost? Well depending if you want one, two, or three candidates; $2,700, $5,200, or $7500. For this small fortune they call the candidate, find out if they’re interested and you get a CV. Directly quoting the website “you get ready for interview candidates, their resume with all contact details just waiting to hear from you” Once my brain healed from reading that sentence it dawned on me, they don’t arrange the interview!?
This might be the grizzled contingency recruiter in me but I’m struggling to see the difference between sleight of hand and pickpocketing here. I mean, the magician usually gives you your watch back once they’ve managed to get it off your wrist! I know there’s a placement under one of these red cups but which one!? It’s a bit Siegfried & Roy; lots of matching sequins with bells and whistles but essentially some highly sedated white tiger is being exploited. I’ve gone a bit Penn, as oppose to Teller, and decided to speak on this. Search firms typically charge a lot of money for a retained service, there’s nothing new there. This ‘unbundled’ model is a pay per process model, clipping the ticket at each stage. The Resourcerer even offers three written references at $2,700 + GST that’s $3,150, a grand per reference. Fair play for trying to do something different, I’ll always take my hat off and wish success to originality and an alternative to the norm. But a Search firm will also typically add value, give transparency, and provide intel and insight into the market at a price point not too dissimilar after three interviews and references conducted. I’m not sure who the target market for this service is but we’re in a world where recruitment budgets are stretched thin and bang for buck needs to be deafening; who’s paying $1000 for a phone call or $7,500 for three interviews? When a placement isn’t even guaranteed?
Now for the reveal, the ‘is this your card?’ moment. Although there are references of “we” throughout the site it would appear that there isn’t a fabulous assistant stealing focus. Although, another rec to rec did heap the highest of praise on the service, giving her own stamp of approval. Considering the clues on the home page and the email registered to the domain, we think we’ve found our man. In the spirit of this new style of recruitment, a name is going to cost ya! I will give you a clue though. He’s given a glowing review of his services, in the testimonials 😄
If you still can’t figure it out feel free to give Sean ‘super sleuth’ Walters a DM, for the low low rate of a hazy IPA, he’ll give you a link.