There seems to be a lot of mystery around what we recruiters do and how we are compensated. I want to pull back the curtain for you.

The truth is that there are two fundamental recruiting approaches, and each one has a place in our orthopedics industry.

The Contingency Search

A contingency search is a non-exclusive service performed by a recruiting firm for no cost until one of the presented candidates is hired. Because your company only has to pay the recruiting fee after a successful hire occurs, your company will often work with several contingency recruiters at once. You have no commitment to the recruiter, when and until you hire one of his candidates. With the contingency approach, your company can maximize the number of resumes you receive from multiple contingency recruiters, as well as the company’s website and job boards. 

Most contingency searches are carried out for lower and mid-level positions.

There is little commitment by the company and the recruiter. Neither party has skin in the game.

Recruiting fees are paid on a percentage of first year’s salary, but only if and when the candidate is hired.

TAKE HOME ADVICE – Best to engage a contingency recruiter for your lower-level positions, especially when you need speed, and a large volume of resumes.

The Retained Search

A retained search is an exclusive service performed by a recruiting firm with an up-front cost, much like a retainer you’d pay to a lawyer. You have skin in the game with an up-front retainer, and the recruiter has skin in the game with their commitment of time and depth of search. Your company will usually work with only one retained recruiter at a time there is a commitment and relationship with the recruiting firm.

Companies select the retained search for senior and executive-level positions.

There is a real commitment by both the company (upfront fee) and the recruiter (significant time). Both have skin in the game.

Fees for a retained search are a percentage of first years total compensation of the hired candidate.  The up-front retainer fee is credited at hire. 

TAKE HOME ADVICE – Best to engage a retained recruiter for for higher -level positions when you need a low volume of high quality candidates. Also, engage a retained recruiter for a Confidential search.

Hope this helps you make the best decision on when to engage in Contingency Search and when to engage in Retained Search.