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Are You Ready to Commit to Your Recruiter?

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3 months ago by Nathan Falconer

​At this time of year, commitment and relationships might be at the forefront of our minds, but have you thought about how commitment (or a lack of it) affects your relationship with your recruiter? Search Consultant Nathan Falconer is here to explain:

Are there really any similarities between romantic relationships and recruitment?

[Laughs] Possibly. There seems to be a parallel with the early stages of dating, when you might have a short-term mindset and date several people simultaneously, as it’s common for clients to engage more than one recruiter on a search campaign. But as happens with this kind of dating, there comes a point where you might decide that this isn’t working in the long term, and that’s when we would recommend talking to your recruiter about other options.

What options do those looking to hire have?

Here at Delve we work with clients on both a retained and a contingent basis, dependant on the circumstances. Contingency recruitment works on a no-win-no-fee basis, in which the recruiter is only paid if they succeed in finding a suitable candidate who the employer is willing to hire. This is the most common arrangement in recruitment, so clients aren’t always aware that there is an alternative. Retained search, on the other hand, involves paying a non-refundable fee for the undertaking of agreed search services. This fee represents a percentage of the overall cost, usually around a third.

What is the impact of these two different models?

In contingency work, the recruiter has no guarantee that they will be paid for the work they carry out on any given project. Recruiting firms which work on this basis therefore often take on more projects than they can expect to successfully complete, which in turn means that their recruiters have less time to work on any given assignment. A recruiter working on a contingent basis will therefore choose to work on roles which will be easier to fill or where they think they can beat the competition, which means they won’t necessarily be prioritising your assignment.

But aren’t two (or more) recruiters better than one?

It will always depend on the situation, but the short answer is not necessarily. Firstly, if recruiters know that they are competing to fill a role, then working quickly will become more important than doing good work, as they are in direct competition with other recruiters to find the first suitable candidate. Secondly, multiple recruiters will discuss the same role with the same candidates, and as a result may even put forward the same candidates for the role. This can lead to candidates having a less than optimal impression of the hiring company

What about the alternative: exclusivity?

It may not be right for every role, but deciding to pay a retainer and work exclusively with a recruiter comes with a number of benefits. Working on a retained basis means that the recruiter can take the time to prioritise your hiring assignment and to focus on the role in question. They will also improve the way in which they present the role to prospective candidates because they are able to work in a more focused manner, and as a result they are more likely to find better candidates.

Retained search results in a more engaged process from both sides: it allows the recruiter to really get to know the employer and their business culture, which means they are more likely to find a candidate who is a good fit, and it means that you, the employer, are more engaged in the process. Working on an agreed basis means that you are kept informed of developments in the search process.

 But isn’t there additional risk in paying a retainer?

Although the upfront cost of retained search is an obvious concern, it’s worth noting that the overall cost remains the same as working on a contingent basis – the only difference is that a percentage of the recruiter’s fee is paid prior to the introduction of the new employee to the employer’s company. Some might also worry about whether the recruiter will take the retained fee without following through on finding a suitable candidate, ‘will they take my money and run?’ The reality is that this would ultimately do more harm to the recruiter in the long run, and that not completing the agreed search would do serious damage to the recruiter’s reputation and their relationship with you, the employer.

If you’re now questioning whether your hiring strategy is really working for you, feel free to get in touch.