Why do Companies Believe that Contingency Recruiters Proactively Headhunt for them?

We have explored why companies should work with a proactive executive search partner rather than a contingency recruiter

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We have been visiting a lot of companies during the last few weeks and a recurring theme has been a real need to educate them on the differences between retaining a proactive executive search partner and working with a contingency database agency.

There are clearly many benefits to both approaches to recruitment but there are clear differences on what you should expect for the investment you make.

We receive a lot of inbound enquiries from companies who have been left "high and dry" having trusted contingency recruiters to appoint key leadership roles for them. When we dig down to find out the reasons for the failed projects, most involve very hard to find skills, experience, behaviours or hiring in a very challenging geographical location.

In an attempt to save money, hiring leaders are adopting the payment on appointment approach of using contingency recruiters but several weeks or months into the project, they still have a vacancy to fill and an even more urgent or critical situation.

A contingency approach can certainly work for certain roles but rarely when the talent pool that you want to "fish in" is very narrow.

We recently partnered a new aerospace client to recruit a Head of Quality for one of their UK manufacturing sites. They had advertised themselves and then put the vacancy out to a number of contingency recruitment agencies. Both routes had generated interested candidates but, after 3 months, unfortunately none were ultimately suitable. The client came to Collingwood in distress as the vacancy was putting a lot of pressure on their management team.

It was clear that the client required a narrow set of skills and experience alongside an absolute need for candidates to culturally align to a very strong set of values. Online advertising and searching job boards and Linked In was clearly not the answer and we embarked on a proactive, research-led headhunt into the aerospace and automotive industries in pursuit of sought candidates.

Hey presto, 5 weeks in we presented a strong shortlist of 5 candidates that we had proactively headhunted, engaged, enticed into the recruitment process and face to face assessed. In short, the client was absolutely delighted with the calibre of the candidates, the choice they had and the vacancy was successfully filled.

Contingency recruiters use the terms "headhunt" and "search" but realistically, why would they keep investing their time in a really hard project where they will only be paid if the vacancy is filled when they can choose to work on less challenging projects and enjoy quicker and better returns on their invested time?

We wrote this article some time ago which illustrates exactly the differences between the two recruitment services.

Please ensure you ask all the questions you need to before deciding on the right approach for your business. Saving money up front could be the right route for you but it could also create a lot of unnecessary stress in the medium term.

Feel free to call us on 00 44 1829 732374 of you would like to find out more.

About the author
Doug Mackay
5 min read

Having started his career in Executive Search in 1998, Doug set up Collingwood in 2005 alongside his wife, Claire Mackay.

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