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6 Reasons Why Retained Recruitment Is Best (Client Blog)

Six reasons why retained recruitment is best.

Extension Recruitment has been built and grown on a retained model. As a recruiter with 20 years’ experience placing candidates into middle to senior level positions within businesses large and small; it’s usually a given that our regular clients trust us exclusively to deliver a strong shortlist and pay a proportion of the recruitment fee upfront to allow us to invest the time to successfully do this.

As a recruiter placing professional, managerial, technical and engineering personnel I am talking to Hiring Managers daily and admittedly I sometimes encounter resistance with new clients when suggesting the retained route.  Comments include “I don’t want to put all my eggs into one basket” or “I’ve been burned before, when they couldn’t fill the role” are common place and I can certainly appreciate and understand these concerns, given the vast number of recruiters and varying degrees of experience and professionalism out there.  

Here are my thoughts on why I genuinely feel the retained approach is a winning one for both the Hiring Manager and recruiter.


1. Both parties are committed

Commitment goes both ways doesn’t it. Like most things in life you get out what you put in.  It stands to reason that a recruiter who knows that they have the client’s full commitment to filling a role and working together to appoint the right candidate will feel comfortable investing the required time and resources to identify candidates and, once identified, fully engage with those individuals personally.

In a candidate driven market, and let’s face it most are, most recruitment assignments should involve “going to market”, which may include, delving into a network of known professionals, approaching passive candidates or placing online recruitment advertising. Once those candidates have been identified, everyone should be taken through a thorough screening process, ideally involving a face to face meeting or at very least skype or FaceTime discussion where the role and company are presented and the candidate is in turn questioned and challenged regarding their experience and given the opportunity to present their experience and achievements. This is very different to a quick registration chat and should be specific to the role they are applying for. Time is money and by investing upfront with the right recruiter you can be sure that the assignment will be handled professionally and carefully and that the people presented are suitable, engaged and genuinely seeking a move.

2. Your eggs are safer in one basket (if it’s the right basket)

A scatter gun approach is rarely the right method in my opinion and word travels fast within recruitment markets. A race to the finish line can often become messy and awkward when various recruiters approach the same candidate. As a Hiring Manager the last thing you want is consultants squabbling over who contacted/sent a candidate first or your precious candidate feeling caught between a rock and a hard place and worrying that they will be rejected to avoid the debate.  It doesn’t present the organisation in the best light and can give an impression of desperation if every agency in town has been engaged.

I personally have a rule never to submit a candidates details until we have spoken to them to gain permission but with the pressure to get CV’s over and be first in queue for some recruiters something must give, and corners will invariably be cut. Ultimately, this can make life for the you, the Hiring Manager harder as consultants hedge their bets by sending a high number of CVs which you then must sift through again. You may ask yourself who is doing the work here?! By working exclusively with one recruitment partner you eliminate this rat race and allow your recruiter to explore the full market, taking the time to consider and compile the perfect shortlist before involving you in the process. Unless your idea of fun is sifting though online applications and coordinating interview slots, why not leave it to a professional?

3. Faster isn’t always better

Who can forget the wonderful tale of the tortoise and the hare. Perfection takes time, miracles a little longer- right? Whilst I never promise miracles or indeed perfection, allowing your recruiter to take the time to deliver a shortlist is always worthwhile. Employment markets tend to be very small, especially regionally. As mentioned above, a contingency search placed with several recruiters puts them under pressure to deliver the shortlist asap and first to the post isn’t always best.

Often a shortlist can evolve during the recruitment process as word of mouth spreads, candidates often take the time to reply to adverts or consider an approach. With a dedicated recruitment partner, you can agree on a suitable time scale for the role and know that at the end of the process you will have the best the market can offer.


4. Let your recruiter get to know you

We’ve all had that feeling, 5 minutes into an interview you know that the candidate isn’t right for the role or vice versa but you sit there for the next 40 minutes going through the motions. As a Hiring Manager, recruitment is just one of the things you are expected to deliver, and time is money after all. When you use a recruiter consistently, you can allow them to get to know you and your business. This is invaluable when it comes to finding the right candidate for your team as culture and personality can be just as important as skill set. When finalising a shortlist, your recruiter should be able to select the most appropriate candidates. Often, they may not always be the most highly educated or experienced but those who can offer you long term commitment and impact. Building this understanding can takes years and a good recruiter should ideally act as an extension of your organisation when making key decisions on which candidates to submit.


5. Keep it on the down low

Candidates talk and that “highly confidential” assignment may soon become common knowledge once a few recruiters start working on it. People talk, and awkward and potentially litigious situations can ensue when hiring manages take the decision to replace a current incumbent or recently departed employee. A good recruiter will be well versed in the importance of discretion and need for confidentiality and will manage the recruitment process effectively on a non-disclosure basis until it is safe to reveal company names.

6. Pick a wild card

I’ve often heard it said by a Hiring Manager “We wouldn’t have chosen them on paper without your input”. A good recruiter should be comfortable respectfully challenging a hiring Manager on their person specification and pre-conceived criteria. Do they really need to have attended a red brick university? Is industry experience imperative? Diversity is key and often a candidate may not initially stand out until the interview or presentation stage when they reveal something which adds to the organisation or team’s diversity or skill set. Variety is the spice of life after all and that is what a retained recruiter should always deliver.



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