This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Christine Liang, WH ’24
For the past 2 months, I have been working with RedBeard Talent, a 26-person startup based in Sydney, Australia. I was originally supposed to travel to Sydney for the internship, but due to COVID, I completed it remotely using funding provided by Penn. Although I was disappointed that I couldn’t travel, I still ended up with an amazing internship, and albeit virtually, I still experienced the innovation and individualism of Australia’s startup culture.
As an overview, RedBeard is a recruitment agency, which means they serve as the middleman between companies and job applicants. The startup is different from other recruitment agencies because they focus on more than applicants’ resumes. To match employers with ideal candidates, RedBeard sources and screens applicants with a focus on fit, culture, and personality. Their goal is to offer a unique, affordable approach to recruitment, and they stand behind the idea that recruitment should be similar to marketing- candidates are customers too.
My internship role focused on one fundamental aspect of RedBeard’s business- their pricing model. In the current industry, the majority of recruitment agencies use the contingency model, where the agency is hired by a company to fill a position, but the agency does not get paid until they successfully place a candidate. However, this is a very inefficient pricing model because agencies can put in hours and hours of work with no guarantee of payment. As a result, recruitment agencies have to charge a high fee when they successfully place a candidate with an employer, generally a 25-30% commission based on the persons’ salary paid by the new employer. Thus, my role was to research and design a new pricing model to help RedBeard become a better business and challenge the traditional industry norm.
After multiple drafts, I am really proud of my Pay-for-Performance and Pay-for-Progress business models. These are two extremely unconventional business models for recruitment, and none of us have seen anything like it in the industry. This is exactly what our supervisor was looking for- an innovative, shared-risk model for RedBeard to implement to address the inefficiencies in the recruitment world. With our help, RedBeard has started testing these two new models to find the best fit for the startup.
Because the experience was unpaid, I am really thankful to Penn Career Services for supporting me in my virtual internship by helping me fund living expenses, housing, and a new laptop. Overall, not only did I learn about the recruitment industry, I explored multiple different industries in my search for unique business models: medtech, marketing, law, tech entertainment, and more. I had the opportunity to speak with startup founders and CEOS to investigate their business development experiences and gain insight for my own project.
Although I did not get to travel to Sydney, this internship helped me meet extremely diverse people and expanded my understanding of startup culture in Australia. With the funding, I was able to focus on helping RedBeard and building upon my own skills.