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Retained search vs contingency recruitment: Which One Should I Use?

Retained search vs contingency recruitment

A common question when looking to hire, is whether you should use a contingency or retained recruitment approach and what the difference is.

What is Contingency Recruitment?

You might not have heard of the term Contingency, but you probably already know what it is. Contingency recruitment is when a recruitment agency will recruit for a role and will be paid once they have filled the position. As a result, typically there will be multiple recruitment companies and the internal HR team working to fill the role. This approach tends to be used for more mainstream roles that need to be filled quickly, as multiple agencies are working at the same time to be the first one to fill the position.

However, it can also be used for more specialist roles when a recruitment agency has dedicated consultants who have expertise and a network within the industry, such as Engineering or Finance.

The main benefit of using Contingency recruitment is you get to see a selection of relevant candidates and work with multiple agencies. The agency will also help you manage the recruitment process, organising interviews, salary negotiation and start dates. This is ideal if you are looking to fill multiple roles quickly.


What is Retained Recruitment?

Unlike contingency, retained recruitment is when you select an agency based on their experience to work with exclusively to fill your positions. The agency is typically paid fully or partially upfront and will work closely with you on an agreed approach to find the most suitable candidate. The search is based on quality and structure rather than speed, so typically you make the right hire the first time.

The agency will set out an agreed strategy, map the talent pool and liaise with you prior to approaching suitable candidates, so only the most relevant candidates in the industry will be made aware of the vacancy. You will also have more control over how your company and brand is represented, ensuring an accurate, high quality and consistent message.

The main benefit of a retained approach is the agency will be fully committed to deliver on an agreed timeline and will often provide a longer candidate guarantee period. It is typically a more a suitable recruitment approach for high level hires but can also benefit multiple hires as an agency providing retained services are able to offer discount packages.


Find out more

To find out more about whether contingency or retained recruitment is right for you, contact our specialist team on enquiries@leap29.com and we will get in contact as soon as possible.

Posted by Leanne Gilson McGrath