Two Types Of Recruiters – Retained and Contingent
IMPACT Hiring Solutions
Undated; downloaded 16 January 2011
Summary of the Article
Recruiters contract to find applicants on behalf of hiring companies. Two major categories dominate: Retained, and Contingent. They may be a convenience, a connection to that job you need so badly, but neither works for you. They work as hired guns for the employer.
Retained recruiters get paid 2/3 of their fee whether or not the company hires the applicant. They only get the final 1/3 if there's a hire. They also offer guarantees to their clients (the employers), so if a new hire doesn't stick around, the recruiter has to return part of the fee and loses a bit of his reputation and future business. An employer won't want to pay multiple fees for each employee, so he will contract only one retained recruiter.
Retained recruiters protect their business by getting to know a company's culture and job requirements and by obsessing over finding the perfect match. Expect a thorough, frustrating screening and then having to repeat the process with the hiring company. They also submit only a few resumes, so the applicant competes against only a few others; but the others have gone through the same screening and match the job well, too.
Contingent recruiters get paid only if you're hired. No matter how many contingent recruiters submit applicants, the company only pays one, so a whole squad of recruiters might go out looking with a single position to fill. If two submit the winning applicant's resume, the first one gets the fee. This put them in competition, so they collect resumes for fast submission and skimp on niceties like pre-screening.
Applicants relying on contingent recruiters compete against the larger number of applicants from multiple recruiters and have lower likelihood of fitting the job; but other applicants are less likely to fit the job, too. Applicants don't go through dual screenings, and their names get in front of the employers sooner, but they experience more of the black hole effect, never hearing back from the recruiters.
Also, once a contingent recruiter has your resume on file, he might submit it to companies without your knowledge. This can complicate your search if employers get tired of seeing your resume submitted for positions for which you don't qualify.
When dealing with a recruiter, ask how his client compensates him and how he will use your resume later.