• Nicky Webster-Hart

Contingency v Retained Recruitment Models


Retained Recruitment - offers peace of mind - but does it drive the best?

Retained recruitment has often been seen to be the Holy Grail for recruiters - an upfront fee which allows them to focus on their search and cover ‘research costs’ and that peace of mind knowing they will be paid. But is this really the best option for clients and for the recruiter? Retained search is often sold that the recruiter will be ‘retained’ to focus fully on the retained work and putting it ahead of their other searches. But if all their work is retained then surely that no longer applies? Additionally, in retained recruitment, there is usually a higher level of process and work behind it to show market mapping, desktop research and sourcing. All of this has to be represented in reports for the client. The reality is that for a senior role this research will be done no matter if retained or contingent and if your recruiter is a specialist in their sector or function they will already have the market mapped.


Recruiter in a retained search agency


If you are a recruiter in a retained agency this usually means that you have a very heavy workload which is extremely over-processed. You are likely being told to give the clients a promise of delivering vast reports and updates and often given searches which are not within your speciality area. As it is retained you can take your time and get your researchers to market map and do the ground work. This means that often your clients are paying too much unnecessarily and too early. The contingent recruiter (not to be confused with ‘contingency planning’ - the term ‘contingent’ just means they get paid but only if they deliver the placed candidate) is often represented to be the more mass-market of the two approaches and be the domain of the generalist.


Sector Specialists v Generalists

However, if you had sector specialists (and some generalists too) who were contingent then you would have a winning formula. With Auxeris our Specialist Consultants with sector or functional specialty will already have the market mapped and because they are contingent are putting ‘their money where their mouth is’. This means they will do all the research they need but without the unnecessary over-process and because they are contingent, their timeline will be much shorter. They know they only get paid if they deliver and that is where they are much better value for a client looking to make key hires.


With specialism and knowledge comes a deep understanding of a sector or function - your Auxeris specialist recruiter will know who is available in the market as well as where and what to look for to increase that scope. They will have come from that particular area themselves or have experience recruiting into it for years and already be dialed into the market. Without the constraints and high pressure that comes with retained search they are able to work quickly and efficiently and get results.


Improve your Time to Hire KPIs without compromising on quality

This is a win-win for businesses looking to hire - they get fast work, without endless update meetings and reports to show that the team is working (when reality the retained agency recruiter will have little input due to extremely high work loads and will have researchers do the majority of the candidate sifting). At Auxeris, our clients will also get to partner with a Specialist Recruitment Consultant who knows that particular area or sector well and will only pay a fee if the contingent recruiter delivers - the best of both worlds.


This is how recruitment with Auxeris works - we deliver better recruitment with a difference. Better expertise. Lower cost. All our Partner Consultants are specialists in their area, they work on a contingent basis meaning that you only pay if they deliver (and they will). Our permanent fees are a fixed 15% with no hidden extras and (this is the really good bit) we offer all our clients a split payment option over 3 months, to help with cash flow. All our terms and payments are automated so no need for extra work for your finance staff. Our experienced recruiter network are hand picked for their years' of experience in the industry. We are focussed on identifying the right candidates for our client’s roles. Find out more about us and get in touch today to see how we can help.



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