each and offer my counter-point below:
1. Delivering a single consistent attraction strategy across all potential candidates which eliminates any potential ambiguity in how the job is perceived by those candidates. Removing that ambiguity at the outset has a positive impact on how long candidates stay in a job.
Multiple “attractions strategies” delivered by multiple quality recruiters (in conjunction with clear client guidance, market research and the tenets of honesty) allow candidates multiple perspectives which is a positive not a negative. It’s the reason we ask for multiple “opinions” whenever making important decisions.
Candidate retention has far deeper qualifiers than that of “ambiguity” during initial presentation, and done properly (with the guidance of a good recruiter) gets flushed out during the candidates due diligence, business model aside.
2. Benchmarking all candidates through a consistent assessment and interviewing methodology. Clients like it when candidates have been interviewed and undergone some kind of meaningful assessment before they meet them. The retained recruiter doesn't need to sell candidates because he/she owns the process.
Consistent assessment is by no means exclusive retained firms. Your implication that it is, is just silly.
I’m lost regarding how “owning the process” equates to not “selling the job”. Quality passive candidates (the only candidates I work with) always need to be sold on procession each step of the way, until comparative analysis (due diligence) reveals the deal the recruiter is presenting to be “better “than the prospects current / future condition.
High integrity recruiters counsel prospects honestly refusing to engage if the candidate’s condition will not be significantly improved, while also ensuring the best possible fit for their clients. This is not a retained vs. contingency model issue, it’s about the recruiters integrity and skill-set.
3. Not wasting any of the client's time client through them not having to weed-out any ineffectual recruiters. Companies generally much prefer only having to deal with one supplier, for obvious reasons.
Infers ALL retained firms bring high quality, implying clients don’t have any “weeding” to do. Of course they do under both models and when they find quality in suppliers, they prefer doing business with them. Under contingency however, they get to move on a dime if they feel the need.
4. Owning the job means the retained recruiter is far less likely to cut any corners in a race to get candidates in front of the client ahead of other recruiters doing the same thing.
Again, implies contingency recruiters somehow “get a pass” and can send garbage to their clients. Cutting corners under either model ensures loosing clients (and candidates) and a client’s ability to switch suppliers to improve quality exists under contingency offering a built in incentive for contingency firms to perform, not so easily stated under retained firms with “money in the hand”.
5. Like others on this thread have mentioned, the client is perceived as taking recruitment more seriously by taking a more focused approach rather than the rather ad-hoc nature of giving the job to several recruiters in the hope that they might come-up with suitable candidates. Candidates prefer this.
I agree clients may take the process more seriously when they have skin in the game and certainly its preferred by all recruiters regardless the business model, that clients are engaged. But you are veering off the point. This does not support your premise of higher quality production through retained agreements and which model ensures it.
Quality recruiters know their space, and judging quality is not exclusive the subjective measure of any “single” employer, engaged or not. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) is not exclusive retained or contingency engagements, and quality recruiters of either stripe know the difference, and do not (should not) work with a client who’s not fully engaged regardless the business model. Respect for ones TIME spent working a project and Candidate opinion (how candidates are treated by uninterested clients) should be as important to a recruiter as is the client relationship, or cashing their "up-front" check.
6. The client pays roughly the same fee as they would have paid to the contingency recruiter that happened to come-up with the successful candidate. Only difference is they pay a third upfront and the balance on completion. In some cases, having that exclusivity can enable the retained recruiter to actually undercut the contingency recruiter, again, for obvious reasons.
Again, you’re veering off the point regarding quality. Not sure how potentially “cutting fees” improves quality but contingency recruiters have options for cutting fees also, but should be the fodder for another discussion.
Overall, because the retained recruiter has eliminated the competition, that frees him/her to invest a lot more time and money in getting the attraction pieces right, developing greater intimacy of the client's business and ensuring that a large enough cross-section of the target candidates are sourced, assessed and presented to that client.
Quality contingency recruiters enjoy similar exclusivity due to client’s preference to deal with one provider; however, the decision is made not through contractual agreement, but through free will. Mastering the attraction piece, intimacy and search diligence MUST occur, or under both models the recruiter goes out of business. These qualities are not exclusive retained firms (your inference).
In the retained approach, what the client is ultimately buying is not a single candidate. They are buying a process that gives them greater confidence that they have hired one of the best people currently available because that retained recruiter has worked that particular candidate niche well and as a minimum has replicated the amount and quality of candidates that the multiple contingency recruiters might have produced.
Doubletalk… and frankly conjecture. Your inference that contingency recruiters are just selling a “single candidate” is misguided. Business’s need “partners” to survive and contingency recruiters are no exception.
Inferring the retained search process offers greater [client] confidence bla bla bla, is all speculative hype. You just saying these things doesn’t make it so.
One last thing, Nick. I'd like to raise your point about free market ideology and how you see the retained approach as somehow being contrary to that.
One of the popular aims of businesses operating in a free market is to win as much market share as possible. Agree with this, Nick? OK, good.
Yes Mitch, I agree that gaining market share is a popular aim in a free market business model!
So, if lets say that I, along with 4 other recruiters, have the opportunity to pitch for a piece of recruitment work and that I am able to convince that company that it's in their best interests to only use me to perform the work and to formalise that arrangement through the provision of a retained fee (part of which will be used to spend on identification and attraction tools). Then what I am doing here is winning market share.
Eliminating the competition is what all companies want and on a micro level, this is what I am doing by selling the retained option.
When you have competition, you also have winners.
Agree here also Mitch!
So Nick, your argument really carries no weight, either in the wider context of the free market system or on the micro level of the multiple contingency approach producing better quality results. More often that not, it won't.
Lol… your final conclusion is as convoluted as I’ve come to expect from this volley.
At the macro-economic level, eliminating competition whether it be in the automobile industry, the food industry, widget sales or recruiting, is about delivering a better product and winning market share through loyal customers, not contracted agreement.
Consumers want the freedom to select product based on merit (to include process where applicable). The telecommunications industry has seen the fall of term agreements that “locked” customers into one provider and out of “free choice”, as has Cable TV and other media outlets, which once their monopolies broken down, had no choice but to COMPETE for the loyalty of their customers.
Pick any industry in any part of the free world that limits its customers to wholly exclusive engagements through contractual agreement (usually after a slick salesmen locks them in), and I’ll show you a business model on its way out!
At the micro-economic level when considering both business models, as painful for many as this is to come to terms with (me too, believe me), the retained model has become obsolete in most corners because the premise I mentioned early in this thread of the mystique a recruiters “guarded, little black book” (metaphorically recruiters monopoly) equaling “superior quality access” has become a “misnomer” with the advent of social media and mass media communication platforms accessible globally, and the perception (if not reality) they perpetrate.
Your attempt to justify the retained search model’s continued importance in spite of this “reality” based on a “quality” delivery or process argument is sheer nonsense. Further arguing its beneficial for your customers (and not espoused to serve your business model) and believing any unbiased observer (much less recruiters “in the biz”) would buy into such subterfuge is pure folly.
Basic fact in a Global Economy: Eliminating choice for customers through contractual agreement by “deluding” them into believing its “better for them” (through a slick sales pitch given before any product (process) delivery)), is the main flaw in your argument, and only works on consumers lacking access to unbiased market / product information, which is a rapidly shrinking pool thankfully due to mass communication platforms like the internet!
Perhaps you can prove me “all wet”, by providing unbiased statistical evidence from a reputable industry source showing the growth of Retained Search Firm Market Share outstripping that of Contingency Search Firms.