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Why Use Physician Recruiters?

How to Select a Recruiting Firm
How Does a Firm Perform a Search?
Does Physician Search Work?
Retainer or Contingency
How Firms Charge for Assignments
How to Work with a Physician Recruiter
Advice on Interviewing
How To Be A Good Client

Retainer or Contingency?

When 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.

It 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.

When 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 potential candidates.

When to Focus on Retainer Firms:

The position is senior, highly specialized or top management and involves a large salary and compensation.

The position is highly specialized and is a big revenue producer for the client.

The position is a make or break opportunity for the Client and their professional and financial future may be at stake regarding this hire.

The search will be a difficult, customized effort in a narrow universe.

Locating the best candidate is more important than filling the position rapidly.

It is important to maintain strict confidentiality about the search.

The position is new, involving unfamiliar skills.

Beyond 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.