When to Use a Retained Search Versus a Contingent Search

By Catherine Lang-Cline

If you are in a position to hire a person and feel that you need to engage a recruiting company, there are a couple of things you will want to know when you are connecting with that recruiting team. Based on the type of company you are using and the level of search, you could be offered the option of a retained search or a contingent search. If you are not sure about the definitions of either, you can catch up by reading my post, “What is the Difference Between Retained Search and Contingent Search?

Since you know the difference between the two, let’s talk about when it is the best time to use each of these options. Let’s start with a retained search.

Since a retained search is a money-down and typically exclusive to one company agreement, it will work best when:

  1. The search is for a higher-level, executive role.

  2. The search is for a hard to find skill set. 

  3. Your search is highly specialized and you need a firm that really understands your role and/or your company’s needs and culture.  

Contingent search is a better fit when:

  1. The role is not an executive or director level. 

  2. You have exhausted all of your options and personal resources.

  3. You need to tap into as many other resources as possible, i.e: job boards, HR specialists, a various number of staffing and recruiting firms.

One reason you would choose a retained search is to get a more focused, rigorous search. The recruiter is going to reach far beyond even their own database to get you a perfect fit. It will be a search that may include people that are not currently looking for work. These candidates are great and they already have a job and a fantastic recruiter can convince them to at least consider your opportunity. You will be presented with fewer candidates because they have been thoroughly vetted, all are perfect in skill set, location, and salary, and they are very interested in the role if it were to be offered to them. Since this is an exclusive arrangement, the process is simpler and much more personalized to your and your company.

Contingent search works if the search is not going to be as difficult or as specialized. It may be a more common role, but one that you have had a difficult time filling. A contingent search gives you access to other companies databases without a money-up-front commitment. Bear in mind, you will receive an invoice if someone is hired, but if it is the right candidate, the time you save in getting that person is completely worth it. Your arrangement gives you access and with luck, they have the exact person you need.

Hiring: Plan Ahead, Ideal Fit Takes Time

By Kristen Harris

“Never make a decision until you have to.” – Randy Pausch

As hiring managers and job candidates, we’re all looking for an Ideal Fit. Whatever term you use to describe it, we all want to find someone who is a good fit for our team, or a work opportunity that feels “just right”. If you’re not sure how to assess an Ideal Fit, check out our article Hiring: What’s an “Ideal Fit”?

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time. It’s not something you can rush through, yet we’re often pressured to make quick decisions. Hiring managers need to quickly assess whether a candidate is the right fit for their team and realize that candidate is probably talking to other companies too. When you find the right person, you feel pressured to make an offer before someone else does.

On the other side, with all of the options and opportunities, candidates are getting offered roles more quickly and feel pressured to accept. They may get multiple offers and need to make the right choice for themselves and their career.

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time, but with all the pressure to make a quick decision, we don’t have time. How to resolve this seemingly impossible conundrum? By putting in our time beforehand, so we’re prepared to make a quick decision when the clock is ticking.

Never make a decision until you have to, but be prepared to make a decision when you need to. When you’ve spent time getting clear on what the Ideal Fit is for you, then it’s much easier to make that quick decision when the pressure is on.

For hiring managers, it’s important to be very clear on what matters to you, your company, and your team. Identify the must-haves vs nice-to-haves for any role you’re trying to fill. What is required for success in this role? What skills, experience or background are necessary? What type of personality traits or soft skills are you looking for? What’s important to your company? What is your culture like? Make a list of everything you’re looking for, ranked from most important to least.

For individuals seeking a new role, project, or work opportunity, you need to know what matters the most to you (and what doesn’t). Are you looking for higher pay? More interesting projects? The opportunity to learn new skills or grow the breadth of your work? To work with a particular person or for a certain company? Is flexibility or a specific work schedule important to you? Stability and predictability, or new exciting challenges every day? What kind of culture do you thrive in? Write it all down, in order of priority.

A prioritized list of what matters the most gives you a base to compare against when making decisions. Let’s be honest, no person or job is completely, 100% perfect. There will always be compromises. You need to know what matters most, your deal-breakers vs nice-to-haves.

When you’re clear on what’s most important, making decisions becomes easier, even under pressure. Compare every candidate or opportunity to your list. How does the person or role measure up against your must-haves? If all those boxes are checked, then look at the nice-to-haves. Those probably won’t all be covered, so decide where you’re willing to compromise. You’ve already set your priorities; you decided that the items lower on your list are less important to you. Now, take a breath, listen to your gut, and make your decision.

Finding the Ideal Fit takes time that we don’t have in the heat of the moment. By spending time beforehand to identify what’s most important, we can quickly make a better decision when the pressure is on.

Hire People That Believe In What You Do

By Catherine Lang-Cline

If you have ever had to hire anyone in the past, you know that there are many people that will apply. You need to find the right fit. The easy way to find a good candidate is to find someone that matches the skill set that you want. Look at the resume and check off each skill from the list. But that rarely results in a great candidate.

Humans are an intelligent species and typically a person can be taught a skill. It may vary as to how good they can become in that skill, but if they know similar software, for example, they can be taught a new one. What can’t be taught is culture. What can’t be taught is a belief in what you do.

Believe it or not, you can interview for that.

Many companies hire people that fit their job description. The excellent few companies hire people that believe in what the companies believes in. If you company exists because you wanted to make a change, hire others that believe in that change. Here at Portfolio Creative, we believe in providing our clients with the best candidates, the candidates that we would have selected to perform a task when we worked in advertising and marketing. We believe that the people we place should earn fair pay and have access to healthcare plans as well as be eligible for PTO. We believe that artists and the artists that hire them should be treated differently because they are different.

We hire people internally that also believe in our mission. Your mission might be selling fair-trade goods, local goods, organic goods, and providing a really specialized service. What better way to build on that then to hire people that can be evangelists for what you do. The people that really believe in your mission.

So while we could hire people that are merely driven, instead we hire driven people that believe in all that we do. Because a placement is a person and not just a butt in a seat. What are some of the things that your company stands for and believes in, or what do YOU believe in? Find a candidate that is a match and you will have an engaged, involved, and driven employee that is doing more then completing a job.