The Biggest Problem with Contingency Recruitment

When I first started my career in recruitment I held the enthusiasm and naivety (in equal measure) to believe I would successfully fill every position I worked on. Some of these positions were handled on a sole agency or retained basis, but the vast majority were by way of a contingency approach i.e. working simultaneously alongside multiple suppliers.

But as the years have rolled by, it’s become increasingly clear that the contingency model for recruitment is not effective, nor is it efficient.

In the first post on this topic I want to talk about commitment and how it’s a key part of any successful recruitment process.

In my formative recruitment years with I admit to having spent many hours working with businesses that were not fully committed to hiring. Put quite simply, they were window shopping. One particular company conducted over forty interviews to eventually hire one candidate — is that a record?! It later came to light that significant changes to the client’s business model had created uncertainty, and not the opportunity that existed on the surface. Lesson learned.

The inefficiency in contingency recruitment is generally born out of a lack of commitment by both the client and the agency. Some believe that engaging with multiple agencies at the same time will increase the odds of identifying the right candidate. In reality however, this will only lead to a number of agencies doing the wrong thing simultaneously i.e. minimising their risk by not fully committing to the position. The outcome here is a search that may find the right candidate within reasonable timescales, but it certainly does not guarantee it.

How do we fix the problem? It’s simple.

Emphasise commitment to the process by retaining an agency that holds a demonstrable track record, the necessary domain knowledge and a sound understanding of your business. The retained agency should also provide a delivery guarantee to minimise any perceived risk from paying a fee upfront. The initial retainer fee does not have to be a large amount — just enough to keep both parties honest.

Businesses that retain demonstrate a clear commitment to filling any given position. In return, the agency will partner with you through the right retained methodology backed up by a delivery guarantee. Here we find the right platform for a fully committed search where recruiters compete on quality and service, not on the basis of speed.

Joshua K. Jackson is the Co-Founder of Zappudo, a digital recruitment marketplace that simplifies the way you find and work with quality recruiters.

Views: 1191

Comment by Tsen Wharton on April 20, 2016 at 4:18am

Great article Joshua, well articulated and I fully agree.

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