Bounty hunting for jobs

Job Bounties is a new site offering to reward you for recommending people you know
January 2013 | By Sue Weekes

Job Bounties is a new site offering to reward you for recommending people you know

A new marketplace that financially rewards those who refer successful candidates for jobs is the latest web-based offering to try to disrupt the traditional recruitment model. Job Bounties, launched by entrepreneur James Uffindell, who is also founder of the members-only careers community, Bright Network, invites people to headhunt their friends and contacts for jobs posted on the site in return for a bounty. 

Despite similar names, Job Bounties should not be confused with BountyJobs. The latter offers bounties to headhunters and recruiters, and is a channel for employers to use headhunters more efficiently and transparently.

Chloë Daniel (pictured above), chief operating officer of Job Bounties, told Recruiter that the site aims to reduce the time and cost associated with traditional recruiting, while maintaining quality of candidate. “Referrals are one of the most effective methods of recruitment,” she said. “We wanted to bring the power and virality of social networks and also bring more transparency to the marketplace.” 

A survey carried out by Job Bounties at the end of last year found that two-fifths (41%) of people have found recent jobs through their personal networks compared with around a third (34%) through job advertisements on job boards and less than a 10th (8%) from an approach from professional recruiters. The research, carried out among 1,700 people across the country, also found that more people secured the job they were happiest in through friends, family and their professional network than through recruitment services and specialists. “It shows your friends know you better than anyone else and so are in an excellent position to spot a suitable job for you,” said Daniel. 

The recruiters and employers who post a job on the Job Bounties site set their own bounty but nothing is paid until a successful placement is made and the individual starts the job. Job Bounties earns its revenue from a 50% cut of the bounty (the referrer gets the full amount that has been advertised on the site as the commission has already been factored in). As well as via email, individuals can make their referrals direct from their Facebook network, and the next version of the site (it is currently still in beta) will allow them to do so from LinkedIn. 

“We’re already seeing people take jobs that have been posted on Job Bounties and putting them on their Facebook timeline and asking if anyone in their network is interested in them,” explained Daniel, who believes people will have different motivations for using the site. “There will be people who use it to recommend their friends for jobs but some people may be more commercially minded and use it as a tool for earning money and become ‘super-referrers’. We are already seeing this start to happen.”

Job Bounties launched at the end of last year. After only a month, 100 candidate referrals had been made and it was reportedly close to making its first placement. The core bounty markets initially are financial services, consulting, FMCG and retail, digital and marketing, and IT and software, with salaries ranging from £25k to £100k. Currently, the total value of bounties available in the marketplace is £175k. While it is focusing on London initially, Job Bounties will broaden out to offer a national service. 

While in theory Job Bounties might cut recruitment agencies out of the equation, Daniel said that agencies are among the early users, alongside direct recruiters, and SMEs in particular. “The exciting aspect for any recruiter or employer is that it is risk-free as they only pay when a candidate is successful,” she said. “And as they set the bounty, they pay what they think that position is worth to their company.” 

The Job Bounties team claims it will ensure recruiters receive a high quality candidate from the service by manually checking CVs and applications, and only putting forward those candidates they think appropriate. Daniel said there was a major focus on candidate quality, and with this in mind one of its initial marketing drives will be aimed at the 14,000-strong Bright Network of students, whose members must have attended either a Times Top 20 or Russell Group university or have achieved at least AAB at A-level. 

To drive up usage during the New Year, Job Bounties is doubling the bounties offered to referrers until the end of January. Out of those surveyed in its research, only 5% of people had received a financial reward for a job referral but a fifth of 18-34-year-olds would refer more people if they knew they would receive such a bounty.

Although it is early days, Job Bounties has generated considerable interest. Among those that sit on its board are the vice chairman and former chairman of accountancy software firm Sage, Michael Jackson and Zach Miles, a former chief executive of recruitment company Vedior.

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