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The Best Recruiting Investment: Retained or Contingency?

The Best Recruiting Investment: Retained or Contingency?

The Best Recruiting Investment:
Retained or Contingency?


We often discuss hiring challenges faced by companies in today’s economy, most notably those presented by the talent gap and the ever-increasing difficulty in finding senior-level talent in the industry.  Here at Schaffer Associates, we are confident in our ability to help organizations overcome such challenges by partnering with them to locate the perfect job candidates in an incredibly competitive market.

But as companies decide to use an external recruiting agency like ours, they must first decide if they should do business with a recruiter on a retained basis or on a contingency basis.  It is our belief that a retained recruiter like Schaffer Associates is not only the best investment for your company, but is also much more likely to result in a long-lasting, successful relationship between your organization and the individual who ultimately fills the position in question.

Our industry is in the middle of a resurgence following the Great Recession.  This is great news, but it has created a huge need for talented senior leadership in most organizations.  A rapidly-changing industry sector like ours can drive companies to look for ways to save cost and time during the recruiting process.  Unfortunately, when these factors lead an organization to use contingency-based recruiting, all-too-often the process results in a less-than-ideal candidate placement with the company.  On a regular basis, we hear from clients who are dissatisfied with a contingency-placed hire.

The reasons behind the failures of a contingency-based recruiting strategy stem primarily from the structure of the agreement.  The contingency recruiter usually focuses on speed rather than on finding the most qualified candidate.  Their goal is to present candidate(s) to the employer before an internal HR department or another recruiter does so in order to ensure they are compensated for the search.  If a job is too difficult to place, a contingent agency will often put more resources toward an easier, more “fillable” client project.  The recruiting process itself is also much less-exhaustive than a retained firm, resulting in less communication, less coordination, and less influence of the employer over the search activities.

By contrast, a retained recruitment effort is a better investment for your company.  Here at Schaffer Associates, we utilize an exhaustive process to find THE MOST qualified candidate for the employer.  And, we have different retained programs to meet the requirements of different search requirements.  The difference, however, is that it enables us to  focus on building a relationship with your organization to better understand the needs of your company and the type of individual your company is seeking.  We understand how important it is for the employer to have a role in every phase of the recruiting process, our comprehensive client-based approach helps us match the right candidate with our client.  And, with our retained and partially retained programs, there’s no such thing as “dropping” a search in favor of an easier assignment.  When you have deposited an engagement fee in our bank account, you have the right to expect quality results.  And for almost 24 years now, that’s what we’ve delivered every time.

Today, our industry is surging back to life, bringing companies to levels not seen in decades.  This is not the time for taking shortcuts when it comes to finding the right talent to lead an organization into the new economy.  When you decide to use external recruiters, use retained professionals like Schaffer Associates.  Let us show you how it benefits you – and how it does so without “breaking the bank.”  We’ll help you HIRE SMART.

Schaffer Associates

Schaffer Associates is an executive search firm specializing in talent acquisition for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As premier executive recruiters with expert focus on your industry, we help you HIRE SMART. Contact us today for help with your officer-level or mid-management level search. 

Call us at (704) 535-9939 or find us at