When you engage a Recruiter, you have a choice of how. Do you want them to a) definitely, b) maybe or c) possibly find you the candidate you ultimately hire?
When you retain a recruiter (option a) you give them the confidence to do their best work and the drive to exceed your expectations. You rely on them, believe in them and commit to them (and them to you).
When you work exclusively with a recruiter (b), you give them a chance to compete with your internal teams and methods and to do strong work. You’ve chosen them alone to help but kept options open.
When you instruct multiple agencies (c), you give them poor odds in a race and won’t have the time to give them all a level playing field. You ask them to work fast and in hope rather than with conviction.
Guess which one everyone involved seems happy with?
I was shocked the first time a client opted to retain me. It was 2005, I was new to recruitment and was told by colleagues that it never happened. None of them had retained clients. We didn’t do it like that. Clients didn’t do it like that.
At this meeting, after a swift glance at terms, this new client read the terms quietly (felt a bit awkward, quite a lengthy document back then) raised his eyebrows and signed up for the retained option on the spot.
Expecting him to be mistaken, I asked if he’d understood that he’d be relying 100% on me for his next multilingual hires and that he’d be paying a portion of the fee that day. The reply was “Why would I want to work with more than one recruiter? You’re here because I don’t have time. I don’t want to be called by five or six people. You specialise in languages and know what I want”. He nailed it. Multiple hires followed. He wanted someone to get the job done with minimum fuss.
Many retained clients later, I’m certain that if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d always retain a recruiter to get my job filled. I’d make sure they understood what I needed and where I could be flexible. I’d trust that if there was a short stint or a career pivot on the CV that they’d checked it out. They’d know the lines of communication were always open. I’d help them market my job brilliantly. We’d both take responsibility to deliver.
When you’re hiring and know you need support, what would stop you committing?
If you’re a recruiter, what stops you asking for a genuine partnership?
Talk to me if you like definitely more than maybe; always happy to talk about the advantages of retaining your Recruiter.
Ben Brogden is an Associate Director at Euro London and a veteran of many retained searches (and plenty of contingency too)