5 Reasons an Exclusive Recruiting Search is the Way to Go

5 Reasons an Exclusive Recruiting Search is the Way to Go

If you’re reading this blog, you probably aren’t a stranger to all the obstacles to recruiting and retaining long-term hires in today’s talent market. With more Fortune 500 companies going fully remote and considering candidates in new geographies since the mass cubicle exodus started last year, the competition is everywhere. Meanwhile, the American workforce has shifted throughout the pandemic to create a talent gap. Pew Research Center found that 2.4M women and 1.8M men left the labor force from February 2020 to February 2021. 

With the pressures of the current hiring landscape, it’s more critical than ever to understand your strategy in partnering with recruiting firms. Because what not everyone realizes is that there are two approaches to recruiting engagements—hiring recruiters on either a “retained” or exclusive agreement or a contingency basis. 

When you retain a recruiting agency exclusively—you use one firm. It’s a partnership dedicated to finding the perfect professional fit, generally with a deposit upfront to put towards your final investment that’s refunded in the worst-case scenario event that you don’t proceed with hiring. 

In contrast, when you hire a firm (or firms) on a contingency basis, they only get paid if they bring in your final candidate. You can try leveraging multiple recruiting agencies, and it’s a case of “the best-firm-wins”, so you only pay one of them. While contingency engagements are a popular option based on the lack of commitment and the seeming abundance of convenience (think online dating with recruiting agencies), this approach can make recruiting more challenging in a disruptive job market.

In this blog, we explore how exclusive searches can give your business a competitive edge while helping you identify and make offers to the right hires—sooner. 

1. More accountability.

Back to the online dating analogy about contingency searches. While not being tied down to one recruiting agency might sound like greater options and autonomy, the lack of commitment works both ways. Any recruiting firm you hire for a contingency search is looking to make the best possible ROI also. That means if they hit a wall sending InMail on LinkedIn and emails or making calls, they won’t waste any time in moving onto the next contingency position. Time is money.

And if you’re leveraging firms that do both contingency searches and exclusive ones, you can count on the ladder being prioritized with more invested by both parties. 

2. No mixed messaging.

When you’re working with multiple recruiting firms, it’s harder to rely on the same consistency across candidate engagements to accurately represent both the role you’re hiring for and your company. Consistency and deliberate messaging are imperative when company culture plays such a huge role in a millennial-dominated workforce. With a few recruiting agencies in the mix, it’s tougher to nail down these specifics with recruiters.

If you’re looking for recruiters to be employment brand ambassadors, then an exclusive search is a no-brainer. Instead of playing telephone keeping in touch with different agencies as the hiring process continues and the open role potentially evolves, you have one point of contact. And with an exclusive or retained recruiting firm, they will be fully invested in representing your company and highlighting aspects of the company culture and employee benefits in a way that’s more meaningful and competitive.

Ample resources.

With an exclusive recruiting search your agency of choice is laser-focused on finding and recruiting your next hire. That means all the hiring agency’s collective resources—from contacts; to referrals from existing and past candidates; to multiple team members collaborating and sharing resources—are invested in pinning down the right candidate for your talent search. An exclusive search also empowers recruiters to invest more time diving into the current talent pool and demographics. The result is generally a smarter investment with a better shortlist of candidates primed for the opportunity to interview.

4. Greater partnership.

When it comes to business, relationships matter. When you have an exclusive search with a recruiting agency versus a contingency search with a potential sea of recruiters, you build a rapport. Building meaningful relationships with your recruiting firm of choice can empower a powerful partnership where something magical happens. The recruiters at your hiring agency become an extension of your team, they care about your business and people outcomes as much as you do. 

5. Stronger guarantee.

Recruiting and hiring are complicated and tough to navigate. Quickly scoping out and bringing in a quality candidate is challenging with the number of flexible and remote roles popping up nationally. Job candidates have more options, and passive candidates may be more reluctant to jump ship from their current role during these more uncertain times. Finding the perfect hire is never a guarantee, but the odds are tilted in your favor with an exclusive search. When you use the contingency search approach, recruiters are scrambling across outreach efforts for different positions. If yours isn’t the easiest, it can quickly end up being under prioritized or abandoned altogether.

However, with an exclusive recruiting agency search, you know that your agency is fully dedicated and invested in filling your open position strategically and methodically. That means you have a much stronger chance of identifying and onboarding a quality, long-term hire.

Ready to lock down an exclusive search?

At Staffing Strong, our robust talent network and proven recruiting best practices are two decades in the making. Our talent experts understand the current hiring landscape challenges and how to use them to your organization’s advantage. Let’s connect to discuss your next hire.

Meet the Author

Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!

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