Recruitment Agency Advice

Evaluating the Recruitment Solutions That’s Right for You

Within the recruitment world there are many offerings all aimed at making the fee valuable, palatable and worthwhile and they are all variations on a theme of contingent and retained recruitment. This article attempts to explain how the methods differ and which model to select for a particular role. We will start with contingent recruitment and then move through to retained recruitment, which sets the context for some alternative models. Enjoy the read.

graphic of retained contingent recruitment

This diagram shows you what solution would be suitable depending on the assignment that you have, remember it’s the balance between generic, specific, supply and demand which determines what approach you should use.

You should also check on the experience of the Recruitment Company and consultant before embarking on a retained or contained project as with any kind of head hunting the training and skills are paramount in the outcome.

Contingent Recruitment Solution

For the uninitiated; contingent recruitment could be considered a success based fee, in other words once the successful candidate has started in the role then a fee based on a percentage of the salary is paid to the recruitment consultant, this typically involves a rebate payable should anything happen to the placement during a pre-determined period.

Retained is the other most common approach to providing a recruitment solution and is typically employed when the role is of a high value nature. The recruitment consultant in this case is usually referred to as a head-hunter and the process is known as paid search. There are benefits to this and there are some disadvantages.

In essence there shouldn’t be any disadvantages at all as the process is aimed at ensuring the depth of search will be sufficient to source the candidate and the search company shouldn’t take on an assignment, which they believe is a paid search process unless they are certain that the role will be filled.

If we were to look at the two processes in terms of fee then it would look something like this:

graphic comparing recruitment contingent retained

 

The contingent approach is an effective model, high supply in a balanced demand makes this approach a sensible way to provide a recruitment solution. The client company will typically be working with a number of recruitment companies and the consultant who provides the most suitable candidate in the quickest time wins the race for the placement.

This approach drives quantity and lowers quality over the longer term. You can also expect to have the same CV from a number of the agents as the contingent world is mainly focused on the job seeker in the active market. Fee levels in this market are usually around 10% to 22%, there is little risk to the client in terms of cash outlay but there is risk in terms of time as if the role demands any kind of niche skill or trait then contingent will not resolve the process.

When a role demands a niche skill, culture or trait then contingent recruitment becomes much less effective as the number of candidates is reduced with each and every specific demand. This is in fact the method that head-hunters use to disqualify people, the tighter the search the more definitive the recruiter can be. We now enter the world of the retained search.

Retained Recruitment Solutions

Retained searches have a mixed reputation within the market place; the reason for this is poor delivery of service and management of expectations on the client and candidate sides. To carry out a headhunt takes skill and experience and isn’t something that should be taken on irresponsibly by the recruitment consultant.

The types of challenges the recruiter  faces would be a very narrow market, difficulty in contacting the suitable candidate with PA’s and gatekeepers and high expectations from the client, as promises made to secure the retainer and justify the fee are high.

Significant training should be given before any of the recruitment consultants can embark on a fully retained search and the job role should be analysed in depth to ensure the retained route is the most suitable solution.

One aspect of retained searches, which usually baffles the market, is that retained searches are a much higher fee than contingent despite the fact that the search is much more targeted and the client is working on an exclusive basis. The reality is that the search is very in depth and gaining traction in a particular part of the market is difficult.

For example; I once carried out a retained search for a major FMCG company, the search led me to Italy, as I don’t speak Italian I needed some help with getting past the gate keepers so I employed a local waiter from the Italian restaurant to open the doors for me and get me through to the potential candidate at which point the level of candidate was able to speak English.

So retained searches do take much more time than a contingent CV race hence the higher cost. The fee is structured as 1/3rd on assignment, 1/3rd on short list and 1/3rd on success. The structure of the assignment is such due to the high level of research required to source the candidates and the time required by the consultant to open the market up gently and in a thorough manner.

Contained Recruitment Solutions

Our experience within recruitment led us to develop the contained solution in a demand from our clients to end the CV race, repeat CV’s and low quality that they had been experiencing from their other providers at the time. They wanted a different result and as such they needed to find a different approach in order to change what was happening to them.

graphic contingent contained recruitment

The way in which Contained differs from Contingent is the ‘Contained’ search allows more depth of search than contingent would, this allows the consultant to deal with the more niche elements of the job and person specs which contingent recruitment does not allow.

If you can imagine a pond out in a field, around the pond are a series of fishermen all using their hands to reach into the water to try and catch a fish, the fish they would typically catch would be those fish that swim near the surface, it’s possible that the same fish would be approached by different fishermen and which ever fishermen dipped their hands in the most would probably find the most fish.

Now consider what would happen if another fisherman came to the pond and were to use a fishing rod? This would allow the fisherman to send his line out further and his bait down deeper meaning the fisherman would be working with different fish than those feeding on the top, his approached would be more controlled and the other fishermen wouldn’t bother the fish.

This analogy would try to explain the difference between contingent and contained recruitment. To add Retained to this then the analogy would be a diver and a harpoon, this approach would be expensive and very targeted.

With regard to the fee in a Contained search, the structure is a mix of the two previous solutions, an assignment fee (typically 1/3rd) is applicable to allow for the more in-depth search technique and the balance (2/3rds) is payable on success much the same as a contingent role.

As this type of assignment means exclusivity with the client and consultant the fee level can mitigate this meaning that this method is much more cost effective than retained and usually competitive with contingent. As the balance between candidate and client is specific but not actually niche then the search is more efficient in terms of time which is reflected in the fee charged.

In Summary:

  • The contingent assignment is useful when the role is more generic and the market is balanced well in terms of demand and supply.
  • Contained is very useful when it comes to a candidate driven role when the demand and supply is balanced more toward demand. This method allows more depth of search and some head hunting along with some of the other methods such as DB and boards.
  • Retained is a pure search assignment when the market is totally candidate driven and demand is far greater than supply.

I hope you have found this informative and if you have any questions or if you would like to clarify anything please do not hesitate to call us..

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com

Things We Think And Do Not Say

In the film Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise plays a high-powered sports agent who has so many clients that he doesn’t really care about them. I bet that you can see the recruitment angle already….

Tom Cruise - Jerry Maguire

However, one night he has a panic attack in a lonely hotel room, and writes a memo titled “The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business.”

One of the things he writes is that agents should be less concerned about money and more concerned about their clients. That gets him a standing ovation in the office, but a few days later, when he's fired, he understands why agents do not say those things they think.

He sets up his own agency but loses his entire client base, apart from the wide receiver Rod (Cuba Gooding Junior). Jerry is also joined by just one of his former colleagues (Renee Zellweger), whom he promptly falls in love with, and he builds a fulfilling relationship with Rod, where money is not the only object.

Rod learns to play from the heart and in the final scenes it is clear that their success only came because they cared about each other as people. Rod trusted Jerry with his future.

There are too many parallels with recruitment to mention in this short blog, but in the tradition of Jerry Maguire’s memo, here is one thought from me (that we don’t often say):

Recruitment is transactional because candidates don’t trust recruiters, and recruiters don’t do enough to earn their trust.

Clients in formal meeting

I don’t know where to start, apart from the obvious place…. It is thought that most recruiters are in it for the money. Place a candidate, get a fee, the production line of new “meat” rolls on and that is how it works.

Jerry Maguire felt that he was in the same place. Send a CV, get an interview, manage the negotiation, place the candidate. It is a process – the involved parties either agree on things or they don’t, and you move on. Sounds pretty transactional, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does, but there is always another way. As an industry, we don’t do enough for our candidates to trust us. Clients trust us because we invest time in building a relationship with them, but there are so many candidates coming through our doors that it is seemingly impossible to develop that personal connection with any of them.

Without this relationship with the candidates, it will always be a transaction – recruiters will never be able to foster a true dialogue to find the best possible fit for everyone.

For me, it is all about the small steps. It starts with truly caring about them as human beings. They are coming to a recruiter at a time of great personal upheaval – the least we can do is to make every effort to understand the person behind the CV. If we show them that we care, they will open up that little bit more.

This relationship may not last for longer than the duration of their job search, or even longer than the duration of an initial interview, but if a recruiter tries to care, then the candidate’s trust will be all the easier to earn.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway/ Website: www.procorerec.com/

A Short Example of Managing Larger Scale Recruitment Projects

On many occasions I have been asked to provide teams of employees of various levels in order to facilitate the opening of a new site, on one of these occasions our client was building a new paper and packaging machine based in the North West. We were asked to provide all of the level 1 and level 2 operators along with the engineering teams for the facility. man planning

The added complication was that all the level 1, level 2 and the engineering teams then had to fly out to Spain to carry out 12 months of training.

This resulted in really narrowing the market making it very demanding to find the right skill set in the first place and then to add the availability for to travel to Spain really cut the market tight. However it just two months we were able to supply them with 60 level 1 and 2 operators and nine engineers to fly out to Spain to carry out the training.

Since, the relationship with the client has developed and we have been responsible for placing around 80% of the people on site, we have an ongoing relationship with them which means as and when the company grows we are then asked to provide new different skills to accommodate the new demands that the company faces.

construction workers

This isn't the only occasion on which we've done assignments like this, the Engineering and Maintenance Company that won the maintenance contracts for the paper machine was a very large Finnish Engineering company.

The Engineering company needed a team of 40 people on site to run their contract for the OEM and we provided everybody for the project apart from the site manager who was an internal candidate. From technicians, engineers, administration, planning, reliability, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance we provided the whole team.

I think in recruitment you are only as good as your last job so to have kept these important clients for many years is the perfect testimony for our business.

recruitment picture cv

We're still providing the same company with engineers for different sites and facilities that they win maintenance contracts for.

When looking to complete project work like this the benefit of using one company to provide the whole solution is the ability to see the whole picture and blend culture and skills together. Bringing different levels of experience to bear alongside the type of cultural fit that a client may have a need for can only be achieved with this wholesome view.

Check here our Recruitment Solutions and Client Services.

Written by Lee Narraway

If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments:

Lee Narraway Phone: 01925747712 Email: lnarraway@procorerec.com LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/leenarraway Website: www.procorerec.com