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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

Retained or Contingency

Recruitment methodology is simply this.. you are going to work with your recruitment/search partner in one of three ways:

1- Contingency - multi agency. Success only fee payment. They are one of two or more working the same position.

2- Contingency - sole agency. Success only fee payment. An exclusive arrangement.

3- Retained. Structured payment terms. Exclusive arrangement.

Let’s consider these pro's /con's and how each model affects outcomes:

Contingency – multi agency.


No upfront financial commitment

Powerful approach for junior level and volume recruitment.

Freedom to change recruitment partner with ease.


Encourages a focus on speed over quality. This often results in poor selection.

Agencies have around a 20% success rate therefore they are unlikely to invest significant resource.

Managing multiple agencies creates significant extra workload for HR and line managers.

Candidates targeted for the same position by different agencies. Client image and job desirability damaged as a result.

Contingency – sole agency (exclusive)


No upfront financial commitment

Better candidate assessment and testing provided by the recruitment partner

Typically quicker than a Retained approach.


Agencies still only have a 60% success rate on this model.

Without financial/contractual commitment, you’re still not guaranteed delivery.

Face to face interviewing not guaranteed.


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