Retained, Exclusive or Contingent Approach?

This article was published in the National Liquor News, Sept 2017 edition

Retained, contingent or exclusive assignments are the three most common ways of working with an external recruitment provider.

Whilst the simple option of a ‘no placement, no fee’ (contingent) may seem appealing to a client, there are a myriad of benefits that come with an assignment that is either a retained or an exclusive process.

A contingent assignment can often result in the issue of ‘being promised a Mercedes and being delivered a Holden’.     A recruiter is under pressure to beat a competitor so isn’t given the necessary amount of time to unearth an outstanding candidate and to ensure their suitability.    A grade candidates who have been approached often take longer to engage in a discussion and may miss out on being presented on a shortlist, even though they are an ideal fit for the role.

However, an assignment which is retained (where part of the placement fee is paid upfront) or exclusive (where the company is working with only one recruitment supplier) creates a partnership between the company, the recruiter and the candidate alike, to ensure a beneficial outcome.

A Retained recruiter can undertake a more thorough search process to identify and attract the most suitable applicants.    This should result in a higher quality shortlist that accurately meets the role requirements.  It also allows the recruiter to reach passive candidates; the ones who are not actively looking for their next career move.  It’s fact that all recruiters give priority to retained assignments.

An exclusive assignment follows a similar path to a retained process.   It’s like being given the ample amount of time to get the best result on an academic assignment.  It’s not necessarily about speed to market and sending over unsuitable candidates.   It’s about being given a little more time to connect with the right suitors and following a rigorous and thorough screening process – ensuring a much higher success rate when it comes to interview stage.

With retained and exclusive assignments, recruiters can provide their clients with a spreadsheet of their “target” candidates (and businesses) and the outcome of those conversations.   It also gives the company time to research the candidate through their own networks and highlight any red flags before a shortlist is sent for review.

Whilst there is a time and place for each service offered, by looking at the cost of “not getting it right”, working in a retained and/or exclusive manner with your recruitment provider, may not seem like such a big investment….