​One of the biggest challenges that organisations come across these days relates to recruitment. Not that there is dearth of talent but finding the right fit is easier said than done. When projecting growth and managing the business headcount required, amongst natural employee turnover, companies today have different options available in comparison to the conventional contingency recruitment model.

Promoting job vacancies through referrals and using internal recruiters to manage the process is sometimes less feasible, as you might not be able to fill the roles fast enough or hire the person with right skill set. Hiring a specialised recruitment organisation comes ahead as one of the most practical option for finding perfect candidates in a short space of time.

While working with these organisations, there is a choice between using the contingency and the retained recruitment model. The contingency recruitment model is paid only on closure of a position, while the retained recruitment model is based on an upfront cost to conduct the search. There is a myth that retained recruitment model is more expensive when actually it is the same cost. The difference is that it’s a fully committed process run on a project basis.

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Cost of recruitment isn’t everything

If you are committed to recruiting the talent you require the only reason you may not commit to retaining a recruitment partner to undertake the project for you is if you:

1. Have a doubt over their ability to deliver

2. Are hoping that you may find someone from your network or via referral for free

3. Believe you need to use multiple suppliers to have a wide range of candidates.

Taking those, in turn, you should never retain a recruiter unless you have full confidence that they can deliver, that they have taken time to meet and consult with you and have references you can check to know they can do what they say they can do.

Of course, if you can find the ideal candidate for free, then what a great solution. Put a timeline on how long you leave it as every vacancy has a value to the business and as every week passes the opportunity cost of that vacancy mounts up.

Using multiple recruiters throws up a string of issues you may not have considered:

1. You are asking them to commit resources with a limited chance of a return on that investment

2. The same candidates may be contacted by more than one recruiter which cheapens your employer brand. What is more, is that they may have inconsistent messages regarding the role

3. Recruiters will focus their attention on their most committed clients.

4. You are not paying for the service so you have no leverage over resources to be deployed on your search

By retaining a recruiter, you are putting them under pressure to perform. They have to understand your business, the role and all about the person you desire. They should agree to a timetable you both work towards. They go to market with one consistent message. They don’t just seek the ‘active’ candidates but have the time and your support to approach the passive candidates that those working on a contingency basis won’t search for. You get regular updates on progress. Candidates are more engaged as they know the client, you, are committed. A retained process doesn’t cost more it just takes commitment.

Director Sales Development & Operations, Sarah Counts at Wazoku. “From past experience – I have spent too much time on candidates that haven’t been properly qualified for the role. Abbie came to my office and spent two hours learning about me personally, how I like to manage people, what works, what hasn’t worked. After two hours being qualified by Abbie I realised I could trust that she understood or should understand what I was looking for.”

Committed relationships translate into better understanding

A retained recruitment company works as a committed partner for a business. Imagine having a wedding planner you can trust to make the event a raving success. Obviously, you would prefer to work with someone who knows you and your expectations inside out. This works in the same way when it comes to getting the best possible fit for important roles in your organisation. Using a retained solution helps build a long term partnership with on-going benefits as the recruiters become embedded in your culture and understanding of your business. With such in-depth knowledge, they are able to deliver the best organisational and cultural fit through extensive research designed to identify the potential candidates. They would also be confident enough to approach and appoint them on the organisation’s behalf.

Exclusive services that go the extra mile

Unlike regular recruitment companies, the retained partners serve the client company on priority as they know the business is committed to working with them. For this reason, they go the extra mile to recruit the best candidates for the clients. They connect with both “active” and “passive” candidates, which means that the hiring company has access to a broader pool of candidates. Furthermore, committed search consultants can help clients look beyond the obvious and consider unconventional choices that may really work.

Working with a retained recruitment company, therefore, can be the best decision for any business. The relationship is based completely on trust and understanding; so, the client can depend on the recruiter to bring them the best talent.

Retainers are not right for every role as the resources required to deliver require a reasonable return on investment. But if you want to recruit successfully it’s best to have someone under pressure to perform. In a contingency environment, that is you, the hiring manager. Ina retained environment it is the recruiter.

A few examples of clients who work with us on a retained basis include IFF Research, Pets 4 Homes and Push Group.