selecting a physician recruiter for an assignment,
you can choose to work with a firm that operates
on either a retainer, modified retainer or
a contingency fee basis. The immediate difference
between these three working arrangements is
simply that contingency firms get paid only
if and when they fill a position, a modified
retainer involves the payment of a small up-front
deposit to begin the search and recruitment
process and the balance of the fee paid upon
signing the candidate while retainers require
that the recruiting firm be paid regardless
of the outcome of the particular search. This
distinction is not always clear cut: some
retainer firms occasionally take contingency
assignments, and contingency firms sometimes
obtain retainers from clients. However, most
recruiting firms fall clearly into one camp
or the other.
may seem fundamentally more attractive to
pay for success (contingency), rather than
for the process (retainer). The modified retainer
is a good meeting point as it demonstrates
that the Client is serious about their needs
and is willing to make some effort to prove
it and the firm is able to meet them half
way and subsequently get paid when they deliver
the candidate. Culturally, and in terms of
working methods, the two types are quite different.
Most contingency firms tend to operate like
brokerages, working quickly and uncovering
lots of resumes. Retainer firms typically
assembling a small slate of pre-screened short-list
candidates to present to the client. The right
choice depends on your particular assignment:
fees are comparable.
to Focus on Contingency Firms:
The job is entry level with a relatively
low salary and compensation.
The job needs standardized, clearly-defined
skills and experiences.
Filling the post rapidly is more important
than locating the "ideal" candidate.
It would be valuable to see many resumes
on a continuing basis.
Multiple positions with the same skills
need to be filled.
It is important to fill the position
at minimum cost.
The post can be filled locally, to
save time and relocation costs.
There is a wide pool or universe of
When to Focus on Retainer Firms:
position is senior, highly specialized or
top management and involves a large salary
position is highly specialized and is a big
revenue producer for the client.
position is a make or break opportunity for
the Client and their professional and financial
future may be at stake regarding this hire.
search will be a difficult, customized effort
in a narrow universe.
the best candidate is more important than
filling the position rapidly.
is important to maintain strict confidentiality
about the search.
position is new, involving unfamiliar skills.
these differences, contingency and retainer
firms also tend to specialize in different
industry and functional areas, depending on
salary levels. In a nutshell, retained firms
are specialized and have a vested interested
in coming through for their clients while
contingency firms are usually hit or miss
and through a lot of resumes's and CV's at
their Clients hoping that one will work.