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Contingency Search

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Understanding Contingency Search

Contingency search is a recruitment strategy that has gained popularity in various industries. It is a method used by companies to find the best talent for their open positions. This article will delve into the concept of contingency search, its benefits, and how it compares to other recruitment strategies.

What is Contingency Search?

Contingency search, also known as contingency recruiting, is a type of recruitment where a recruitment agency is only paid if they successfully fill a job vacancy. The agency is given the ‘contingency’ to find a suitable candidate for the position. If they are successful, they receive a fee. If not, they receive nothing.

This method is different from retained search, where an agency is paid a retainer fee upfront to conduct the search. With contingency search, the risk is on the agency, not the employer, making it a popular choice for many companies.

Benefits of Contingency Search


One of the main advantages of contingency search is that it is cost-effective. Since the agency only gets paid if they fill the position, companies do not have to worry about paying for a service that does not yield results. This can be particularly beneficial for small businesses or startups with limited budgets.

Access to a Wide Talent Pool

Contingency search firms often have access to a wide pool of talent. They have extensive networks and databases of potential candidates, which can be invaluable in finding the right person for the job. This can save companies a significant amount of time and resources in their recruitment process.

Speed and Efficiency

Since contingency search firms are incentivized to fill the position quickly, they often work with speed and efficiency. This can be beneficial for companies that need to fill a position urgently.

Contingency Search vs Other Recruitment Strategies

Contingency Search vs Retained Search

As mentioned earlier, the main difference between contingency search and retained search is the payment structure. In a retained search, the agency is paid a retainer fee upfront, regardless of whether they fill the position or not. This can be beneficial for companies that want to ensure they have a dedicated recruitment team working on their vacancy. However, it can also be more costly and less flexible than contingency search.

Contingency Search vs In-House Recruitment

Contingency search can also be compared to in-house recruitment. With in-house recruitment, the company manages the recruitment process internally. While this can give the company more control over the process, it can also be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Contingency search, on the other hand, allows companies to outsource the recruitment process, saving them time and resources.

Choosing the Right Contingency Search Firm

When choosing a contingency search firm, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, it’s important to look at the firm’s track record. Have they successfully filled similar positions in the past? Do they have positive testimonials from previous clients?

Secondly, consider the firm’s network and resources. Do they have access to a wide pool of talent? Do they have the resources to conduct a thorough search?

Finally, consider the firm’s approach to recruitment. Do they take the time to understand your company and the role you’re hiring for? Do they provide regular updates and communication throughout the process?

The Bottom Line

Contingency search is a popular recruitment strategy that offers several benefits. It is cost-effective, provides access to a wide talent pool, and can be a speedy and efficient way to fill a vacancy. However, like any recruitment strategy, it’s important to choose the right firm and ensure they align with your company’s needs and values.

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