With lots of businesses looking at the recruitment strategy for the rest of 2023 and into 2024, our Legal Recruitment expert at Gerrard White, Cam d’Espagnac takes a look at the difference between the two very different approaches to recruitment – Contingent Recruitment and Retained Search (also known as “headhunting”).
Contingent recruitment is where a firm will engage with us (and likely other Recruitment Agencies) to source candidates for a job vacancy they have at their business.
We, along with any other agencies that have been approached, start the hunt. We will use many proven methods for this, in the hope that we’ll find the right person for the client.
We provide the client with candidates that fit the brief and the client will undertake the interview process and decide on a successful candidate from all the applications whatever the source.
Should the candidate we put forward be successful, once they start with the business, we will invoice the client for the agreed fee.
Retained Search is much more of a partnership. It is where a firm will ask us (on an exclusive basis) to identify and secure a new member of staff for them. It could be a specific individual that they would like to approach or a briefing for a specific type of person they are looking for.
As part of our retained search partnership, we will handle all applications relating to this particular hire; effectively acting as our client’s internal recruitment team.
The retained search process is much more involved than a contingent search.
We begin by mapping the market – this involves looking at all of the firm’s competitors; effectively a “who’s who” of the market and involves a heap of time and research being invested by us. This market map is developed from a much more comprehensive brief from our client. Once this document is completed, it is sent to the client for review and to prioritise who they are interested in.
We then start the approaching stage, we go through the prioritised list from the client and make contact with the relevant individuals. It’s a time to gather more information such as salary expectations, what candidates like/dislike about their current employers (potentially our client's competitors), and what would motivate them to consider a move. All of this information is collated and shared with the client, allowing them to potentially make any changes to the role/package in order to attract this type of top talent.
Once the relevant individuals have been contacted, we begin to shortlist candidates. All shortlisted candidates are put through a 1-hour interview with us, where we really drill down on whether they are suitable or not (saving our clients time!). If candidates are deemed suitable we will present them to the client.
Clients will then interview the candidates themselves, ensuring a good fit for the business in terms of skills, attitude, and cultural fit. We will then handle (and negotiate) the offer, notice period, and support with the onboarding process
There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches and what’s right for one business may not be right for another. We are, however, finding that a number of our legal clients will now only work with us on a retained basis, and have used us for multiple projects with much success.
Why is this?
With deep industry knowledge and extensive networks, our clients trust us to find the perfect candidate. We have access to vast networks of active and passive candidates and will pull out all the stops to deliver, regardless of how “tricky” the role is. We will not stop until we successfully fill the role with the perfect candidate.
We take the pressure of recruiting away from the client by handling much of the administrative work associated with the hiring process. Each role will have a dedicated resource working on it, saving our clients time.
The market map and “approach stage” provides clients with intelligent market knowledge, and is a live document that can be quickly updated for future projects. This intel gives insight into what will attract the right person so that they can accurately pitch an offer to the successful candidate.
In a competitive job market, candidates are being approached multiple times a day. We ensure that the approaches we make on a retained basis are much more personal and yield significantly better results.
By building up a trusted partnership, clients will have confidence knowing that they are only sent the very best candidates, who are thoroughly screened, briefed, and have a clear understanding of your business before they even meet.
If you want to take the pressure off your recruitment strategy and are interested in hearing more about how Gerrard White can help you with your legal recruitment either on a retained or contingent basis, please get in touch with Cam by email or call 07850 469000.
Find out more about our expertise in Legal Recruitment.