Retained Search vs. Contingency: How to Find Your Ideal Candidate

Let’s face it, finding the perfect hire can be challenging, but that’s why many companies work with search firms to ensure they find the right person for the job. But when working with a staffing firm, you’ll need to decide what type of search best fits your needs: a retained or contingent search.

As experts in both search types with over two decades of experience in the industry, we’re here to simplify it for you! This article will detail the key differences between retained search vs. contingency search and the benefits of each approach, so that way, you can make the best decision when it comes time to hire.

What Is Retained Search?

A retained search approach involves engaging a staffing firm on an exclusive basis to handle the recruitment process end-to-end for your open position. Since the arrangement typically involves paying a retainer fee upfront, you can trust that your chosen firm will be committed to finding you best talent through a strategic and targeted candidate hunt.

Retained search is best used when organizations need to fill leadership or executive roles or other highly specialized positions.

Hire an Executive. Save your time, skip the search. We make hiring easy. Hire today.

Benefits of Retained Search

  • You’ll have the time and attention of the search firm dedicated to filling your role.
  • Retained search firms know your company and its culture well, which leads to a higher chance of a successful placement.
  • They are experts in executive staffing and can therefore identify the strongest candidates.
  • They will work with you on creating the job description creation and determining compensation.
  • Retained search firms have more connections to quality candidates, even passive ones.
  • Their industry knowledge means they know who would—and wouldn’t—be a good hire.
  • The firm will work with the candidate throughout the entire process until they begin work.
  • Because you pay in advance, you can rest assured knowing they’ll be with you throughout the entire search process, lending expert insight and guidance.

What Is Contingency Search?

On the other hand, a contingency search approach means that you only pay the search firm if they make a placement. This approach has numerous benefits, as described below. Contingency search is best used when you want to hire for multiple jobs, or if you have a smaller budget for your search.

Benefits of Contingency Search

  • You take on less financial risk since you only must pay if a placement is made.
  • The placement fee typically costs less than a retained search fee.
  • You have access to a wider talent pool because you can work with multiple contingency search firms at the same time.
  • The firm will work with the candidate throughout the entire process until they accept the offer.

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Work with a Staffing Agency

 Retained Search vs. Contingency Search: Which Is Right for You?

Now that you know the key differences between retained search vs. contingency search, you can make the right decision for your hiring needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you decide:

  • What level are you hiring for?
  • How many open roles are you looking to fill?
  • Do you plan to work with a search firm for additional roles in the future?
  • What’s your hiring budget?

For example, if you are hiring for an executive or leadership-level role, you should choose a retained search firm because they are experts and have excellent insight into the best candidates. On the other hand, if you are looking to fill multiple positions, a contingency search might make more sense due to the lower cost.

Hire with Insight Global

Now that you know the key differences between retained search and contingency search, you can make the best hire for your needs every time. And when it comes time to hire, consider choosing Insight Global as your trusted staffing partner. Whether you want to hire an executive or fill an entry-level position, we can get it done.

Need to Hire?

Contact one of our staffing experts today.