As a recruiter that does both retained and contingent searches, I'm curious how those that have worked on both sides of the business handle the pre-interview candidate prep call.  As a retained recruiter, you are "on the payroll" so to say and are more likely to be acting in a consultative capacity with your client.  I like to think that I'm always acting in consultative way with my contingent clients, however they aren't always as willing to treat our relationship the same way and may not want the kind of feedback a retained relationship allows.  On a contingent search, you are motivated to bring the best candidates to the table but also to ensure that they are dialed-in for the interview so a bad interview doesn't totally derail a deal.  So my question is do you handle those pre-interview candidate prep calls any differently than you would if you were retained?

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At what Edwin.  There is nothing crazier than a throughbred race horse.  I own a grandson of Seattle Slew and he couldn't beat a fat man down hill.  If i had a nickle for every body who ever thought they were going to pay a big stud fee and have a horse in the money i would never have to work again.  That's why they get paid upfront the only thing that sucker has to do is jump out of the gate with one eye rolling one way and one eye rolling the other and try to not to kill himself before somebody can stop him.  Bring the thousands of also rans off the track and most of them end up as dog food because nobody can ride them unless they have a death wish.  But if you think they perform better go to any track somebody will pay you to take one home.

Edwin Ostrand said:


All the thoroughbred breeders of racehorse that I know get paid up front, and their fees are up there too. Then again we are talking thoroughbred and they generally perform better.

Sorry Bill, Edwin and i seem to have derailed this a bit.  However i agree with you that it makes no dif how anybody gets paid.  If i am one of the morons you are referring to, i don't take it personally.  I think you are kinda cute even if you are a curmugeon like i can be sometimes.  :)


A grandson is too far from the generic core, no wonder you so disappointed, bless your heart. Next time try for a first crop. Take a look at the top 4 and what they command.


1. Unusual Heat ($20,000 Harris Farms, CA) - Can't recall a sire ever achieving so much after being bred to so many ordinary mares. Progeny regularly lead the way home in graded events against six figure Kentucky blue bloods. Arguably the best sire to ever stand in California.


2. Afleet Alex ($25,000 Gainesway, KY) - Shareholders have been rewarded handsomely for not giving up on him last year. Currently hitting on all cylinders with big numbers across the board. Particularly adept at getting graded stakes-caliber individuals.


3. Exchange Rate ($25,000 Three Chimneys, KY) - Continues to do everything right, even with progeny from 3rd and 4th Florida crops pulling most of the load in recent years. Much anticipated first crop of KY-conceived foals debut this year and should solidify his legacy as one of Danzig's better sons.


4. Bernstein ($20,000 Castleton Lyons, KY) - Other than getting 9-10 furlong dirt horses, this guy pretty much does it all at a very consistent rate. Extremely versatile in terms of getting stakes horses in all parts of the world. Foals can be hard to look at, but even harder to catch.


Like recruiting, you can bring the best talent to the table, but if you have a weak manger they are not going to hit homeruns. I started in contingency as most all of us have, and I worked just as hard then as I do now to bring the best to the table. But, I just felt that I could offer my client better service retained, as I am able to spend more time finding purple squires, which I am best known for in my industry.

Yes, retained work is hard from the standpoint of getting new clients who have never used or had a bad experience with a retained recruiter. I research the talent market before I accept a search, as if I do not think I can fill in a reasonable time (<90 days) I either will not take it, or tell the client the risk. Generally, those searches are not the best use of my time, and only will take them if I feel l can find the perfect candidate. But they are fun as I like the challenge. I did one where their where a half dozen or less in the U.S. that fit the bill and did it in under 90 days (I was lucky).

So the bottomline is we are all in this stinking boat together, loving what we do, or we would not be doing it, and working are asses off for some clients who do not appreciate how hard we work for them, and think we are over charging. But the ones that do get it, make it all worth it.


So, to ALL the recruiters I say Great Job you are worth every cent of your fee and then some! 

Dear Ed,

I bought this boy because he wasn't crazy enough to run.  I hate race horses.  He is a grand prix dressage kind of guy, no speed but a lot of class.  My horses like my clients and my candidates get the same attention no matter what their blood lines may be.  One of the best horses i ever had was out of Oklahoma by truck.  He didn't cost much but he could do it all in the show pen, you could work cows on him the next day and put a little kid on him the next.  He was smart and he had heart and whatever you asked him to do he did it and acted like he was glad to be there. 

 I know a lot of recruiters like that.  It' my take they are the heartbeat of this industry.  Maybe not so flashy but they deliver and they do it consistently.  Their clients love them, never bitch about the fee and keep coming back for more.  It doesn't get any better than that.

I'm just a little girl from West Texas doin the best she can to get by in the harsh, cruel world..  So far it's worked out just dandy. 



I'm a proud, card carrying member of the Curmgeon Club Sandra! That was on point! Geez....I need a beer.

Sandra McCartt said:
Sorry Bill, Edwin and i seem to have derailed this a bit.  However i agree with you that it makes no dif how anybody gets paid.  If i am one of the morons you are referring to, i don't take it personally.  I think you are kinda cute even if you are a curmugeon like i can be sometimes.  :)
Make mine an ice cold Shinre Bock!
@Bill would you please send me a new card. Mine is so old I can't read the date on it. Curmudgeons unite!

@Edwin you and Bill can pour that stuff right back in the horse. I am going to go have an island rum martini and play golf with Paul while you two old farts do whatever you do best. Poor ole Jeff can wonder how he asked a simple question that evolved into whores , booze, and horses.

My motto, Faster horses, older champagne and younger men. Enough jobs to keep all flavors of recruiters busy and put everybody back to work so everybody can quit bitching about how wonderful they used to be and go do it.

A Curmgeon Club view of retained and contingence recruiters...

"He had the uneasy manner of a man who is not among his own kind, and who has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are in some sense his own kind." ~ Willa Cather

I'll jump in.  I've never worked on retainer - so I'm not sure what all would be expected.


What I can surmise though - is that the retained clients do indeed give the recruiter far greater access to the "behind the scenes" stuff that we, the contingent crowd, struggle to uncover.


While I can say without a doubt I do my very best to provide as much info as I can - I'm quite certain that in many cases I'm left guessing as to what some of the detailed issues are "inside the gate" so to speak.

So do retained recruiters spend more time prepping candidates?  Maybe.  But perhaps that is due to having more relevant insight to share.....not due to providing a higher level of service or not feeling rushed to close the deal.

I think you nailed it Jerry, when a client has skin in the game they want to insure they take the search more serious, opposed to someone who doesn't. I am just saying.


Regardless of the nature of the client / recruiter relationship, any recruiter who won't take or make the time to ask prep questions of the client before an interview is a chickens**t who should be in another line of work.


Same with getting the candidate ready..if we're not putting him or her in the best position to win by spending time telling them what's what and how to position themselves, we are failing them, and perpetuating the notion that recruiters are just salespeople or resume forwarders.


I can't see how being "contingency" means we get to take shortcuts.  "rushed" my ass, the most important conversation is the one I'm having at that moment..better conversations lead to uncovering the things that lead to going forward, or separating the serious from the non serious.








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