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Retained vs Contingency Recruiting


Retained vs contingency recruiting

Contingency recruiting is a type of recruitment process in which a company or an organization hires a third-party recruiting firm on a contingency basis to fill a job opening. In this model, the recruiter is paid only if they successfully place a candidate in the open position. The recruiter does not receive payment for their services unless the hiring company extends an offer and the candidate accepts it. This method is commonly used for filling entry-level, mid-level, or hard-to-fill positions. It provides a cost-effective solution for companies as they only pay for successful placements.


There are several benefits of using contingency recruiting, including:

  • Cost-effective: Companies only pay for successful placements, which can save them money compared to other recruitment methods.

  • Speed: Contingency recruiters are motivated to fill open positions quickly, as they are paid only when they successfully place a candidate.

  • Wide pool of candidates: Contingency recruiters have a large network of potential candidates and access to job boards, social media, and other sourcing tools, which can increase the pool of qualified applicants for a job opening.

  • Reduced internal resources: Companies don't have to allocate internal resources to manage the recruitment process, as the contingency recruiter handles all aspects of the search.

  • Expertise: Contingency recruiters are experts in their field and can provide valuable insights into industry trends, salary ranges, and other key factors that impact the hiring process.

  • Flexibility: Companies can work with multiple contingency recruiters at the same time, providing more options for filling open positions.


Retained recruiting is a type of recruitment process in which a company or organization hires a third-party recruiting firm to fill a key or executive-level position on a retained basis. In this model, the company pays the recruiter a fee upfront, usually a percentage of the total compensation package for the open position, to secure their exclusive services. The recruiter is responsible for managing the entire recruitment process, including sourcing, screening, and presenting a shortlist of qualified candidates to the hiring company. The recruiter is committed to filling the position and is paid regardless of whether the search is successful or not. Retained recruiting is commonly used for filling senior-level positions or for conducting confidential searches, as it provides a higher level of service and a more focused approach to filling the open position.

There are several benefits of using retained recruiting, including:

  • Exclusive focus: The retained recruiter is exclusively focused on filling the open position for the hiring company, providing a more personalized and dedicated approach to the recruitment process.

  • High-quality candidates: Retained recruiters typically have more time and resources to conduct a thorough search and present high-quality, thoroughly vetted candidates to the hiring company.

  • Confidentiality: Retained recruiting can provide a confidential search process, as the recruiter is contracted to fill the open position and can keep the search confidential if desired.

  • Customized approach: Retained recruiters can work closely with the hiring company to understand the specific requirements of the open position and tailor the search process to meet those needs.

  • Increased control: The hiring company has more control over the recruitment process with a retained recruiter, as they are involved in every step and can provide feedback and guidance.

  • Better alignment: Retained recruiters have a vested interest in filling the open position, as they are paid regardless of whether the search is successful or not. This can result in better alignment between the hiring company and the recruiter, as they both work towards the same goal.

CredTALENT is deeply involved in the retained and contingency recruitment processes. You can schedule a conference call with one of our recruiters to learn more about our work.

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