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The Ugly Truth of Contingency Search

Utilizing a professional staffing agency to fill open positions can prove fruitful for your organization. After all, staffing agencies know the best and brightest individuals available, so their connections can lead to profitable business models.

The downfall of some recruitment firms (and therefore their clients) is their reliance on the contingency fee approach. That means that the staffing agency will only collect a fee from their client after they find and place a candidate. While that sounds like an ideal arrangement on the surface, contingency searches lead to overall negative experiences for hiring managers.


Here’s the ugly truth of Contingency Search:


Truth #1: Your Contingency Recruiter doesn’t care about you.

Contingency recruiters do not take the time to get to know your organization or the details of the open position. You will notice your search begins with a massive influx of new candidates. As you weed through the low-quality candidates, which there will be a lot of, you may notice your recruiters send you less leads every week. That is because your recruiter realizes that the longer the deal stays open, the less likely the job is to be filled, so they stop trying. Contingency recruiters will shift their attention to new clients with easier-to-fill positions, which are more likely to reach a payout.


Truth #2: Prepare to be flooded with low-quality candidates.

Contingency recruiting is a race to fill the position, no matter the candidate’s qualifications. Your recruiting agent did not take the time to understand the needs of your organization, so they flood you with hundreds of candidates who sort of fit the job description. They then leave it to you to sort through them, interviewing people who seem okay, but aren’t the perfect fit you deserve.

It is not uncommon for contingency recruiting agencies to hide “decoy” candidates among serious applicants. They hope that the unqualified decoy candidate will make other somewhat-qualified candidates look better in comparison.


Truth#3: It is not as “free” as you think.

One pull of contingency search is that you do not owe the recruiter anything until they fill the position, making the search time “free.” Sure, you may not owe the recruiter anything, but think about the long-term costs associated with keeping that job open for an extended period. Will you stretch your staff too thin, creating undue stress? Will your customers be disappointed due to the lack of individualized attention? Nothing is free.


Truth #4: There is no long-term relationship.

We all want professional relationships built on service values and respect. That is not something that can be acquired through contingency recruitment. Contingency recruitment agents prioritize short-term goals, not relationships. They only want to fill a vacancy while getting to know your organization as little as possible.


Truth #5: Every position deserves a high-quality search.

If you think you should only use high-quality retained search for staffing top executive positions, you’re mistaken. Your organization deserves to have the best-fitting talent across all posts. Begin by prioritizing job openings and let that decide if you require a dedicated recruitment firm.


Recruitment agents at Mission Search utilize a retained search approach. They take the time to understand your organization’s needs and long-term goals. Retained search agents also take the time to get to know their candidates so that they can find the best person for your organization the first time. Fostering relationships is a priority for retained search firms, saving your organization time and money for the future. 


To begin working with one of Mission Search’s recruitment specialists today, call (800)-410-2009.

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