This article will highlight the differences between working with an industry specialist recruitment company on a retained or contingency basis. In a highly competitive market one can give you a distinct advantage. Read on to discover why.
To demonstrate the differences between retained and contingency recruitment, let’s imagine your company needs to appoint a General Manager. This position is a very senior one within the company and it is important that the best person is found.
If you decided to recruit for this position on a contingency basis you would agree a fee with the recruitment company and only pay that fee if a candidate is appointed. On the surface, this looks attractive – no placement, no fee. However, it’s not as simple as that and it’s unusual to appoint to senior positions using a contingency model. This is because there is likely to be a lack of depth to the recruitment process as the recruiter has no real commitment from the employer and this lack of depth can potentially not reflect well on your company.
It is far more beneficial to recruit to this senior position on a retained basis. This means that the employer will pay an upfront fee to a search firm to start the search process and to gain their complete focus on recruiting to your role. Further fees are payable at later stages; (1) usually on the submission of a shortlist of qualified and interested candidates, and (2) when a candidate is appointed to the position.
With a retained search, you can expect the following additional aspects:
- A clear and consistent approach to market, with all candidates being treated equally
- Preparation of a comprehensive candidate briefing pack to be distributed to potentially suitable candidates, professionally showcasing your business and all it has to offer
- A focused ‘whole of market’ campaign that will target companies where potential candidates can be found (often your competitors)
- A thorough candidate vetting process based on an agreed timeline, avoiding a race to present candidates and ensuring only suitable and serious candidates are presented
- An undertaking from the search firm to selectively and proactively approach passive candidates on your behalf (even if they are not officially ‘on the market’). This is a key element of a retained search as often the best candidates haven’t thought about moving from their current roles unless they are approached about a genuinely interesting role
- Production of a report at the submission of a short list of potentially suitable candidates. This report should outline feedback from the process and can be a very effective means of gathering market intelligence about talent pools as well as providing feedback on your brand
- A consistent and streamlined interviewing process that can include psychometric testing and other additional elements
- A clear message to the market that you are serious about appointing the best person to your General Manager role and that the vacancy is genuinely available
- With a fixed fee being agreed in advance, this will often alleviate any uncertainly in financial forecasting and avoids fee increases should the successful candidate negotiate on the remuneration package
Next time you need to recruit for a senior position in our highly competitive sector, please contact us for a confidential discussion about the skills, attributes and experience you are looking for. We will help you understand the current state of the market and whether a retained search is the right approach to achieve your desired outcome.
Parkhouse Bell. Parkhouse Bell is an executive search and recruitment company specialising in the employment services, vocational education, community and disability services sectors. Reach out to Samantha Smith on Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org for your senior recruitment needs.