The economy is on a rise; banks are looking for new employees. Headhunters are liking their fingers, but a new competition has emerged: You! The Swiss start-up hirschfactor.com makes you to a headhunter and offers you high commissions.
According to the Swiss Financial News Site Finews.ch, banks in Switzerland are looking for 1’457 new employees, which is almost double the amount as in July 2009. With high commissions and salaries in this sector, a job as headhunter can be very lucrative.
The Swiss start-up hirschfactor.com has launched a new social media headhunting model: You can register as “freelance” headhunter and post interesting job offers to your Facebook friends or even apply on your own. If one of your friends successfully applies to a job you’ve recommended, you as the “headhunter” receive the headhunting bonus. Currently the average bonus lies are around 4’000 CHF (3’773$) , ranging from 2’000 CHF to 8’000 CHF. According to hirschfactor, the bonuses could go up to 20’000 CHF.
This new usage of social media and private relationships, could be a new revolution in job searching. Especially for graduating students this might be a good opportunity to earn some extra cash, as students are mostly well connected and highly educated. Additionally the start-up has included some interesting features, boosting the incentive to “forward” a job offering to other friends: If a line of “forwarding” accrues, everyone in the line receives a part of the bonus. The last one to “forward” the job gets the whole bonus, the next one gets half of the bonus, the next half of the half and so forth an so on. This systems avoids, that people don’t receive a bonus they are liable for. You will not receive more if you try to cut the line. This makes it even more attractive to browse the job platform and find friends to help with the job search.
The Swiss magazine 20minuten posted an interview with the hirschfactor.com crew (German):
20min: Why do you only consider jobs from the financial sector?
Kai Eberhardt: For one, we already have good existing contacts to this sector. Additionally headhunters are very active in this sector – even searching for employees that are comparatively young. Our main target group are people with three years of work experience. In the beginning we concentrate on Zurich and London. Geneva and Milano would be attractive as well. If we are successful with our project, we will also post job offerings in other sectors.
20min: In which income category are you offering jobs?
Eberhardt: It stars with jobs beginning at 100’000 CHF. The most jobs are around 130’000 CHF.
20min:How much money does a “freelance” headhunter receive if he successfully “forwards” a job?
Eberhardt: The bonus lies around a one month salary of the job. Our system can assure, that everyone in the line receives a part of the bonus whereas the last one to “forward” the job will not receive more or less if he tries to cut the line. Therefore it’s very attractive for everyone to participate and even help your friends make money.
20min: But this would mean that it would be most profitable for hirschfactor.com if the job forwarding line was as small as possible?
Eberhardt: That’s right. We are assuming that this will be the case mostly. As hunter you are also able to apply to a job directly of course. The application goes to us and we forward it to the employer. The important factor is: If someone forwarded a job to an other user, he will not be able to see if that user actually applied to the job.
20min: How much does it cost to post a job on hirschfactor.com?
Eberhardt: Posting a job is for free. Only the successful finding of a candidate threw our platform costs. This is around 10% of the yearly salary of the job. Normally headhunters take around 20% in the financial sector.
20min: How do the users receive their bonus?
Eberhardt: Normally you will receive it after 10 days after the employee has been offered the job. The recruiting process can take up to three months tough, so users shouldn’t expect cash immediately. Also you will have to pay taxes on your bonus.
20min: How many jobs will you have to arrange that your business will be profitable?
Eberhardt: At least 200 – we are currently expecting 50 jobs to be arranged in the first year. We are looking forward to break-even in 2011. The yearly turnover of Swiss headhunters in the financial sector is about 40 million CHF, which is the equivalent of around 1’000 jobs. The market in London is about 10-times as large as in Switzerland. hirschfactor.com is financed solely from our side. We have three founders and three freelance employees. We hope we can convince the users to participate and find some business angels.
20min: Do you see other job search engines as a competition to your business model?
Eberhardt: No. Other platforms don’t offer any bonus if you successfully “forwarded” a job to a friend. Those websites are solely for people who are actively looking for jobs. With our model we also can reach people who are not searching for a job, and usually those are the employees hardest to get to. We were inspired by the US website Notchup, which offers you money if you hand in your resume and actually go to a job interview. This might sound a bit off, butt it serves the purpose that people who are not actively looking for a job can be convinced to work in a different place.
20min:How do you prohibit people to register with several fake accounts?
Eberhardt: Users have to register a phone number and we send them a registration code.
20min: Are you looking at any other business areas?
Eberhardt: We will probably help candidates creating and translating their resumes. Advertising is not an option, since we might scare people off.
20min: How do you want to recruit new hunters?
Eberhardt: We hope that the word of mouth will do the trick. Also we award users that recruit new hunters 10% of the hunters bonus, which he earns in the first year. It is not subtracted from the bonus but offered by us.
20min: The “hirschfactor” is the number of how strongly the publications of a scientist is valued. Why did you choose this name?
Eberhardt: Every users gets a “hirschfactor”, which shows how many people he hunted down. Every one can be a winner here.