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Retained Recruitment - Save time and money (really)

Daylight Savings
over 2 years ago by Gareth Foden

 There is a constant battle between recruiters, hiring companies, people who have dealt with recruiters etc as to if the retained model actually benefits the customers or is just a way for the recruiter to make a quick buck. My view is, it can be both. With the right recruiter, it can save you a tonne of time, effort and money. With the wrong recruiter it can be a costly exercise that ultimately yields zero results (I’m not just talking about a person to hire).


Retained recruitment is essentially based around a hiring company paying an agreed amount upfront and then either staged payments through to completion or a final completion fee, depending on how both parties chose to work. In theory, this model is designed to guarantee the time of the recruiter. Simply put, rather than working on a no win no fee assignment, they are now focused with a client who is committed to the result. This should provide companies with a better opportunity of hiring the right person, but actually it should provide so much more.

Retaining a recruiter should give organisations assurances around deadlines. When will they have a shortlist completed, when will they have suitable options for discussion, what date is it likely that an offer can be aimed for?   

It should give them assurances around quality. Do the applicants meet the brief but also the cultural alignment of your business? Has the recruiter actually met these people face to face and have they understood and communicated your value proposition correctly?


It should give them assurances around the market and what is actually available. Ultimately with what you are offering (not just salary and package), but literally the whole thing bundled in to one, how attractive is that to every single candidate approached. You should have this information when retaining a recruiter.


It should give them time. The real bit employers miss. When you throw a job out to 8 recruiters there is a huge assumption that 8 people working the roles = 8 times the results. Wrong. Usually what happens is that recruiters work on the roles that they find easiest to fill and that’s that. So, if your job isn’t easy to fill then it’s bottom of the list. When it’s retained, that job is number 1 priority and should have dedicated time against it.


It should give candidates a better experience. They should understand your brand better. Understand your challenges and understand if they aren’t a fit, why not. The right retained recruiter should leave a positive experience for anyone who comes in to contact with your brand.


Most importantly it should give you insights as to how to solve your problems. A really simple example (& one I don’t personally like) is salary, if you need to pay more that’s all well and good. But when you have retained a recruiter they should provide evidence, “if you pay X then you can instantly start talking to Y number of candidates”.


I hear lots of horror stories and get resistance from companies who are struggling to hire but don’t want to retain me simply because of bad experiences with other recruiters. Above is just a snap shot of what you should expect, but I honestly believe that working with the right recruiter in the right way will  save you lots of pain, effort, time & money. It’s not just about the right hire, people are people and recruitment can be imperfect, but it is about solving problems and not throwing enough at a wall hoping some will stick.


If you want to have a call on how to work in a better way, contact Gareth on and we can talk about if retained is even the right option for you.