Contingency Recruitment vs Exclusive Recruitment vs Retained Recruitment

Which is Right for You?

As the head of Executive Technology and Contract Recruitment at TEC Partners, I've seen firsthand the benefits and drawbacks of different recruitment strategies.

In this blog post, I'll break down the three main types of recruitment – contingency, exclusive, and retained – and help you determine which approach is best for your organisation.

Contingency Recruitment: Speed Over Quality?

Contingency recruitment, also known as non-exclusive recruitment, is a popular choice for many companies. In this model, multiple recruitment agencies compete to fill a role, and the recruiter only gets paid if they successfully place a candidate. While this might seem like a cost-effective option, it often leads to a rushed process where quantity trumps quality.

Recruiters working on a contingency basis are under immense pressure to move quickly. They'll often conduct a rapid database search and send over as many CVs as possible, hoping that one sticks. This "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach rarely produces the best results for the client. The focus is on speed rather than finding the perfect fit.

Exclusive Recruitment: A Step in the Right Direction

Exclusive recruitment offers several advantages over contingency recruitment. In this model, a single recruitment agency is given exclusive rights to fill a role. While the recruiter still only gets paid upon success, they have more time to conduct a thorough search and present a curated shortlist of high-quality candidates.

At TEC Partners, we provide weekly reports to our clients when working on an exclusive basis. These reports detail which companies we're considering and provide an overview of our discussions with candidates. This transparency creates a highly accountable partnership between our agency and the client.

Retained Recruitment: The Gold Standard

In my opinion, retained recruitment is the gold standard for professional recruiters. In this model, the recruiter is paid a fee for their services rather than just for a successful placement. The fee is typically split into three parts: an upfront payment, a payment upon delivery of a shortlist, and a final balance upon a successful hire.

Retained recruitment allows recruiters to invest the time and resources necessary to find the perfect candidate. We can conduct in-depth headhunting, thoroughly search our database, and tap into passive candidate networks. This comprehensive approach yields the highest quality results for our clients. It’s indispensable for C-suite tech recruitment and will give you the edge in hiring for any role.

The benefits of retained recruitment are clear:

  • 100% commitment from the recruiter
  • More time to source appropriate candidates
  • Higher quality shortlists
  • Strengthened partnership between recruiter and client

It's important to note that retained recruitment doesn't cost more than contingency recruitment. You're simply paying for the recruiter's time and expertise rather than a successful placement.

Choosing the Right Approach for Your Organisation

So, which recruitment strategy is right for you? It depends on your priorities and the role you're looking to fill.

If you need to fill a role quickly and are willing to sacrifice some quality for speed, contingency recruitment might suffice. However, if you're looking for the best possible candidate and are willing to invest a bit more time and resources, exclusive or retained recruitment is the way to go.

At TEC Partners, we offer both exclusive and retained recruitment services. Our exclusive search provides a qualified candidate in a shorter timeframe, while our retained "assured delivery" package employs a rigorous search and selection process to find the perfect fit for your company.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. But if you want to build a long-term, successful partnership with a recruitment agency that prioritises quality over quantity, I highly recommend considering exclusive or retained recruitment. At TEC Partners, we pride ourselves on building first-class relationships with our clients and delivering exceptional results every time.

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