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How to Choose the Best Recruiting Model for Your Business 

Has your company ever experienced a vacancy in several positions? When jobs remain unfilled for weeks or even months, it can cause a tremendous amount of organizational stress. That is why companies are constantly looking at ways to improve their recruiting process. Many employers are not aware that outsourced recruiting is not a singular, one-size-fits-all approach. There are several recruiting models that can be beneficial to your hiring process. However, to hire the right people, it is imperative to deploy the right recruiting model to ensure the desirable speed and cost to hire.

A simple evaluation to determine the size and scope of your company’s recruiting and hiring needs is key to identifying the best recruiting approach. Following are a few examples of some of the more common recruiting models. 

1. Executive Search (Retained)

The first recruiting model is a Retained or Executive Search. This means that you are paying a retainer on the estimated search fee, and likely offering exclusivity on the position you seek to fill. Once your retainer is received, then the process of defining your search requirements, crafting an effective sourcing strategy, and developing the proper screening methodology will kick off the process for creating a quality talent pipeline.

Not every agency is the same when it comes to the total fee, retainer, or how the balance is collected at the time the search is concluded. This creates opportunities for you to negotiate what makes sense for both parties. The other negotiating element is the duration of the placement guarantee. Generally, the total amount of the fee, and level of position are factors that will impact the cost of the search.

When is Executive Search the right recruiting model for my company?

The best time to consider or engage in a retained search is when you have issues relating to confidentiality, you need a true expert, your hiring need is urgent, and when you need a recruiter to have and keep your needs foremost in the search process (not typical of contingency search).

2. Contingency Search

This recruiting model has been around for decades and is often seen as the classic no-risk, non-exclusive option. There is no up-front retainer, which makes the fee fully dependent upon successful candidate placement. This is often the preferred choice for key junior and mid-level positions, when supply of talent and/or confidentiality are not an issue. While it seems like a no-lose situation, there are a few things you should know before ignoring the value of a retained search. (In this article, we compare pro’s and con’s of contingency and retained executive search).

When is Contingency Search the right recruiting model for my company?

Contingency search is a great option for getting recruiters to keep an ‘eye’ out for you. There is no cost to you unless they find someone you want to hire. It is nice to have someone keeping their pulse on the talent market for you. Contingency recruiting can be an attractive and seemingly low risk option. Oftentimes, this model can cause your recruiter to elevate their interests above yours or even the candidate. If you want great service and a fully dedicated and accountable recruiter, then this option may not be your best.

3. Outsourced Recruiting (aka Recruitment Process Outsourcing)

Outsourced recruiting has gained in popularity in recent years, particularly among Fortune 500 and high-growth companies. Even with in the RPO line of services there are options depending on the need of the employer.  Here’s an article highlighting some of the various options for outsourced recruiting. This model is commonly adopted by many mature organizations with robust hiring demands. However, this option can seem a bit intimidating for smaller or more stable organizations.  The truth is, outsourcing recruiting is no different than outsourcing your legal, accounting, payroll, or human resources functions. 

When is Outsourced Recruiting (RPO) the right recruiting model for my company?

If you are looking to do any of the following, the RPO model is an ideal solution for your recruiting needs.

  • Lower and stabilize your recruiting spend
  • Limit agency usage and volume
  • Gain access to a flexible solution with on-demand capabilities

Check out another one of our posts to if you want a little more information on when and why you may consider outsourcing your recruiting (full-time or fractionally).


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