When to use a Retained Search versus a Contingency Search. |

When to use a Retained Search versus a Contingency Search.

2 questions 2

2 Questions about choosing the right recruiting method

After writing  Hiring is better with a Retained Recruiter, I received a lot of questions on when to use a Contingency recruiter and when to use a Retained recruiter for a specific open position at your company.  So, based on 30 years of hiring and placing talent in Ortho and Spine companies, I believe that you can chose the right approach by answering these two questions.

Two Questions 

1. Is this a high impact position at our company?

2. Do we need to fill this position immediately?


The Retained recruiting model is designed to find a few “A Players” for your company. Use a Retained recruiter when getting the right person on board is critical to the future of the company.  Go Retained when you are adding a transformational person to the team. These high-impact hires are typically at the Director, V or C level.   But in startups, a high-impact position can be an individual contributor, such as the first QA/QC hire, who will have a large impact.  You will get very few resumes of passive candidates who are not looking for a new job, but these are the A-Players who are doing a great job at your competitor and who are getting promoted quickly.  So, if you need an A-Player for a critical position, go with a Retained recruiter.

The Contingency recruiting model is designed to find many many “B and C Players”.   The Contingency model is rigged against your company for finding “A Players”.  Use a Contingency recruiter when the position is not critical to your company.  Go Contingency when you are just trying to fill a chair.  You will get many resumes quickly of people who tend to be looking for jobs.  The resumes you get will come from the active job seekers who are unemployed or under-employed.   These are the B and C-Players.  You will get a bunch of these resumes that will let you start to interview quickly.  So, if you need speed for a lower level position, go with a Contingency recruiter.

Further Reading…  The fundamental Flaw with the Contingency Recruiting model