Corporate Insights: Contingent vs. Retained Recruiting Models


It’s very important to consider which type of relationship you want to have with a search company when you are looking to engage a firm to assist with filling your top level talent openings. Two approaches are fairly common practice, but which one is the right fit for your needs depends on what you want out of your search. Should your company use contingent recruiting or retained recruiting?

The Cost of Competition

According to experts at SHRM, There’s a price for lost candidates. Most smaller businesses are not prepared to move quickly. So they must fight harder to recruit candidates, and then if they don’t offer the job fast enough, the candidates are snapped up by another employer.

Losing a great candidate for the role midway through the interview process due to external competition also has financial ramifications.

Companies need to be empowered so they can be quick. Using specialized recruiters can help expedite the process.

Conditions Where Contingent Recruiting is the Best Option:

  1. Your position doesn’t have a very difficult-to-find skill set. Lower-tier sales positions where skill sets are similar and you would just need to provide training on product specifics.
  2. Your position has a high turnover. Some positions just have a shorter half-life for various reasons. For example, the average stay in a fundraising role is around 18 months.
  3. Volume hiring for similar roles. If you are hiring three sales directors, it might make sense to use this model and see many candidates at once so you can choose the top set.
  4. You’re a household name brand. If you’re hiring at a company that rates as an easily recognized and sought-after brand, that name will bring candidates through your recruiter.

Conditions Where Retained | Committed Recruiting is the Best Option:

  1. You need your search partner committed. Regardless of how difficult your critical hiring need is, a retained firm will be committed and dedicate the necessary amount of time and resources required to source enough qualified candidates to find a match.
  2. You’re hiring need is very specialized. This search is filling one of the most vital positions to your company. You need a dedicated search partner who can work the networks of qualified candidates.
  3. The position has a small pool of potential talent. You need specific skill sets, emerging areas, or many years of experience. The dedicated recruiting that comes with this model will prevent turning off potentials by being contacted from many people trying to fill the same opening.
  4. This position requires a more seasoned professional. The people interested in your opening are discerning and will be negotiating, and the process could take longer than your average position to onboard. You want consistency representing the company while not alienating the talent or tying up your HR department. A dedicated professional search partner will manage that fine balance.

Mutually Beneficial Relationships

Another point to keep in mind is that in a retained search, the firm is invested in the long run. While there is a fee upfront, the firm is dedicated to maintaining your company as a partner for the greater returns as more positions are filled long term. Firms become better acquainted with your needs and distinct corporate culture, and become more successful at filling for retention of talent.

Artemis Consultants, offers a variety of executive search service levels (Contingent, Committed & Retained) meant to accommodate a variety of company needs. Our most popular service guarantees results and offers a 1 year replacement policy.  Contact us and we will help you determine which approach is best suited for you to get the right talent to your door.

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