contingency search by definition means that the search firm will only collect a fee if they find and place a suitable candidate for the open position.  This type of search may or may not be structured contractually with the client company, and it is 100% “back end” loaded.  Therefore, regardless of the number of qualified candidates presented, if none are ultimately hired, the search firm earns nothing.  A strict contingency search means that there is no exclusivity to the arrangement and therefore the client company is free to use other search firms or source other candidates on their own.  Both the candidate and client experience can be challenging if not structured well.  Candidates apply for posted positions and receive calls from multiple agencies (free-for-all, race-for-the-resume, leaves a bad impression on candidates) for the identical role, and at times are given inconsistent information.  The clients can get overloaded in communications with multiple firms.  And resumes are submitted at times without fully qualifying the candidates or meeting candidates face to face. This arrangement begs the question for the candidate as to whether the search firm actually has such a “client” given the absence of any stated or written commitments for exclusivity.  It also explains why contingency searches are often given less energy by recruiting professionals because of the increased risk of no return on invested energy and resources.

In a contingency search, the process is usually less structured and less about a precise candidate “fit” and more about getting potentially qualified candidates in front of the client so that the client can make his or her own final assessment.  Often candidates in such searches are drawn from a search firm’s existing database or from public job boards.  While these methods can certainly uncover good candidates, such approaches leave a vast pool of talented passive candidates untapped.  Due to less time spent on securing a clear job scope and the sourcing methods often employed in a contingency search, the chances of a candidate/client mismatch are significantly increased.  Fees for contingency searches usually average around 25%, although this varies widely depending on geographic location being sourced, the industry, specific talent being recruited, and the number of positions being filled.

Call Fitzgerald Recruiting today to discuss what search approach is best for your critical hire.