Understanding Contingent Recruiting and Working with a Contingency Recruiter

Contingency recruiting helps you contract out the recruitment responsibilities for a job; recruiters are paid a fee for what they do. Though it’s similar to a staffing firm, it’s not quite the same.

When deciding if you need a contingency recruiting firm, it’s wise to understand what it is and how to work with a contingency recruiter. You’ll learn about all of this today.


Benefits of Contingency Recruiting

Contingency-based recruitment offers many unique advantages, so it’s a valuable tool in various circumstances. Here are the benefits to determine if contingency recruitment services are right for you:

Access to the Network

How does a contingent recruitment agency work? Typically, contingency recruiters tend to brand themselves as having large networks. When you work with them, you’re gaining access to that information.

If the hiring company isn’t a household name yet, opens a new location, and doesn’t have a wide marketing presence, it’s wise to use the talent networks that contingency recruiters offer. Plus, they know the recruitment process and will find qualified candidates with ease.

Industry Knowledge

Usually, contingency recruiters build a reputation and career by placing hires quickly and using high-quality standards. It’s important that you understand your team and limitations to determine if you need someone to help you fill a job position.

Access to Resources and Tools

A contingency recruitment agency has the resources you might not be able to afford. Overall, a good indicator that contingency recruiting is right for you is to know the resources and tools currently available in-house. If your HR professionals don’t have the right things to get the talent you want, it might be wise to consider contingency recruiting.


With retained recruitment, you will work with a retained recruiter and pay an upfront fee. Typically, retained recruiters get paid regardless of what they do.

In comparison to retained recruiters, contingency recruiters are paid on commission once they successfully hire for a contracted role. They often present the same candidates over and over to ensure things get done quickly. There are many other differences between the two, as well.


The Drawbacks of Hiring a Recruitment Agency

Drawbacks of Hiring a Recruitment Agency

There are a few disadvantages of contingency recruiting; it might not be the right fit to work with contingency recruiting firms. Here are the drawbacks:

No Personal Familiarity

The contingency recruiter is an unknown. You won’t know their personality or culture until you’ve contracted them. While they bring in a strong network, it might not always work out.

Not Always Dedicated to Your Role

How does contingency recruiting work? These recruiters make their money by placing hires in organizations quickly. Most of them have various campaigns, and you might not be at the top of the list.

Limited Knowledge of the Company Culture

A contingency recruiter doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the characteristics and traits you’re searching for in a qualified candidate. Overall, contingency recruiting firms might not always be ideal.


What to Look for in Contingency Recruiters

Contingency Recruiters

You have a unique organization, so it’s crucial to find the best contingency recruiting agency for the job. Here are some things to consider:

The Industries and Roles Contingency Recruiters Specialize In

A contract recruiter might work across various roles, or they might specialize in specific industries. Before choosing the right contingency recruiter, talk about which positions you wish to fill.

Tools Used in the Search

Contingency recruiting agencies won’t divulge all their information, but when you ask this question, you’ll learn more about the process. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • How does the firm keep networking warm?
  • What percentage of the network is in my industry?
  • What percentage of the network is ready to start in a new role right now?

The Vetting Process

Again, the agency might not share its full vetting process, but you should be aware of the touchpoints they have with a suitable candidate before they send them.

Likewise, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the most suitable candidates possible.


Tips for Working with Contingency Recruiters

Working with Contingency Recruiters

Once you’ve found a recruiter to work with, it’s crucial to use these tips to establish a working relationship with them:

1. Set Your Expectations

Clear expectations will help the contingency recruiting process. The recruiter will know what you expect, and vice versa. This is often time-consuming, but it will improve your results.

Though you’ll discuss the job description and focus on communication styles and frequencies, there’s more to it than that.

2. Set Your Tone

You set the tone of how contingency recruiting firms work. If you’re urgent and clear, the recruiter will be the same way. However, if you act too busy to talk, you won’t get the information needed.

3. Communicate Effectively

Contingency recruiting is tricky because the recruiter isn’t familiar with your company. You must communicate well to get appropriate feedback.

4. Follow Up

Make sure you follow up with the recruiter’s progress. It’s tempting to assume they will stay on deadline, but you must ensure that.

5. Stay Updated on Changes

The information the contingency recruiting firm has is what you give them. You’re the only one they’ll communicate with, so keep them updated on any changes.

6. Limit the Number of Recruiters Used

Having many contingency recruiters might seem like a good idea, but they will start tripping over the candidates and might have to work harder to get the position filled.


Things You Shouldn’t Do When Hiring Contingency Recruiters

When working with a contingency recruiting agency, don’t:

  • Hire multiple recruiters for similar positions. Contingency-based firms often produce three to four candidates.
  • Beat around about pricing. You want it to be fair, but negotiations might affect prioritization.
  • Hire poor-quality recruiters; they don’t care.
  • Leave anything hanging because it wastes time.


Final Thoughts on Contingent Recruiting and How to Work with a Recruiter

It makes sense to hire a contingency recruiting agency in many situations. Today, you learned how to deal with recruiters and work with them to create lasting relationships.

If you’re ready to start working with a recruiting agency, The Quest Organization is an ideal option that can help you find the talent you need at a fair price.

For a free consultation on your recruitment hiring strategy, contact us at info@questorg.com or 212-971-0033.

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