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The Difference Between Retained And Contingency Recruitment

The Difference Between Retained and Contingency Recruitment


If you’re a business owner, you understand that recruiting is one of the most important aspects of your company.

It’s how you find the best people to grow your business and help it thrive. However, there are two different ways to approach this hiring process. You can use retained or contingency recruitment, each with its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs as a business owner or employer.

In this article, we’ll explain what these terms mean and how each works so you can decide what’s best for you and your company.


Retained Recruitment

A retained recruitment process is like having a dedicated recruiter on your account. The recruiter will reach out directly to candidates and pitch them your opportunity, so you’ll get the best candidates in the market.

The recruiter receives a retainer fee for their services in helping the client find their ideal candidate. 

The key features of retained recruitment are:

  • High-level candidates who are already skilled
  • A good understanding of what the client and candidate want
  • Familiarity with the industry
  • Insights on the industry so you can know what your competitors are doing (wage, benefits, schedules, etc)

Contingency Recruitment

Contingency recruitment works a little differently, the employer pays the recruiter a fee once the candidate is hired. In this case, the recruiters will usually have a pool of jobs there are working with and will pitch them to the candidates.

Contingency recruitment is ideal for smaller companies with a high volume of positions to fill, but it can also be helpful when you need to fill positions quickly.

The key features of contingency recruitment are:

  • No upfront fee – you pay when you hire a candidate.
  • Faster candidate turnaround
  • Decrease HR’s workload

In summary, retained recruitment is a method where the employer pays a recruitment agency a fee to exclusively handle the search and selection process for a specific job opening. Contingency recruitment is a method where the agency is only paid a fee if a candidate they present is hired, and is not retained for an extended period of time.

Though each type of recruitment comes with its own pros and cons, Red Seal Recruiting can assist you in identifying the best option for you and help you to hire the right candidate for your company!


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Red Seal Recruiting Solutions has a wide variety of services to help you find the best employees. See how we can help on our Recruiting Solutions page.

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