Exactly what I was thinking, but of course as I'm not experienced with this I thought there could be some glaring issues with it.
I would love to see some data (even if anecdotal) from someone that tried something similar. Imagine that you can even treat some of your older, most successful employees as "passive income"; as a recruiter you made a really really good effort locating, training and making the best fit for someone, and then that someone is netting you, say, 1% of their salary every 6 months or something, for the next 5 years (haven't worked through the numbers so that might not even make sense), but replace 1% and 5 years with X and Y.
In general terms, I would like to have a recruiter in more "closer" terms. So maybe this recruiter got me a job at company A, then 3 or 4 years from now, since they really did their job and know me well, they can put me in a much better job, for say the next 3 or 4 years again, and so forth. That would mean both he and I could have continued income due to the effort we both made. He made his effort picking a really good candidate and so did I, doing my job.
Kind of like an investor. Successful traders are usually the ones that make their due diligence and thus are rewarded with the most handsome payouts. Isn't that what a recruiter should do? invest in a particular candidate and find the best place where his "investment" can payback handsomely?
Would you pay say 2-5% of your annual salary to a recruiter/agent every year? Even in years that you aren't actively looking for a job?
These are interesting questions if you think the recruiter can find you good jobs that you might not find on your own, can provide solid career advice, and negotiate salaries that are higher than what you might receive otherwise. If I can negotiate a 5% higher salary than you every time, paying me 2% every year is a pretty easy decision. Most technologists probably trust that they are as good at (or even better) negotiators than most recruiters, and in many cases they may be correct.
Great to see I'm not alone with this crazy idea. When writing the previous comment I actually started thinking if I would pay someone to actively look for the best job I can get at any given moment, and that I would probably pay for that happily. Of course, you make a serious point about considering that same payment after X years in a stable job (e.g. I've been with Google for the past 3 years... I'm not planning on changing jobs.. why should I pay this guy every year?) very interesting things to ponder over.
Again, thanks for sharing!