Executive search vs. contingency recruitment – these are two similar yet very different fields.

If you’re new to recruiting, it can be confusing.

In short, the main difference is the positions each fill.

Executive search firms focus on executives and senior level roles.

Contingency recruiters work on all other roles.

However, there are other differences. Let’s break it down!

The Differences in Approach – Executive Search vs. Contingency Recruitment

The search process for executive search vs. contingency recruitment is whole a different ball game. It’s much more challenging to find the right fit for candidates and companies. Additionally, the stakes are much higher.

Each executive position is of critical importance to an organization. And no two executive positions are the same.

Furthermore, there’s a much smaller pool of candidates.

It’s simply supply and demand.

Naturally, the approach in executive search vs. contingency recruitment differs too.

Organizations looking to fill executive roles need a focus on quality over quantity. They also need a true consultant, not just a search recruiter. That’s where executive search consulting comes in.

Executive search consultants do more than play matchmaker. They help the existing executive level clarify their needs. A search firm will ask open-ended questions to deeply understand your business. It also helps make sure you’re developing the best possible candidate profile.

Consultants also offer guidance on how they can achieve their goals through a new hire. They offer suggestions and feedback on which skill sets to look for, industries to target for candidates, and so forth.

With executive search firms, it’s a long-term partnership. Searches can easily take several months.

In contrast, recruiters can find qualified candidates much easier. There are large numbers of viable candidates for lower level roles. In addition, they can fill many roles with candidates who are actively seeking employment.

Executive search firms often have to target passive candidates. In other words, they have to find candidates who are gainfully employed.

The Differences in Models – Executive Search vs. Contingency Recruitment

Since search firms and recruiting firms focus on totally different roles, their models and approaches also differ. Let’s break down the models in executive search vs. contingency recruitment.

Retained executive search firms are kind of like a lawyer on retainer.

You pay a fee up front to retain their services.

Later, you pay additional fees when a search is halfway done. Lastly, you typically pay a fee when a candidate is placed.

However, contingency search firms are different. Contingent recruiters only charge a fee when they’ve made a placement.

The benefit of the contingent model is you don’t pay unless the recruiter makes a placement.

The downside?

The recruiter is incentivized to rush placements.

With retained recruitment, the focus shifts from quality…to quantity.

Meanwhile, retained search can get expensive.

You could easily pay tens of thousands. And that’s BEFORE the search is started!

A New Model for Executive Search and Recruiting: Hourly

At Qualigence, we believe there’s a better way. It doesn’t have to be executive search vs. contingency recruitment.

We don’t think you get the best value from the typical search and contingent models.

Of all the recruitment models, we believe hourly is best.

We charge hourly for our executive search and recruiting services.

You pay for our time and expertise. No more, no less.

There are no expensive upfront fees or hefty retainers.

And it puts the emphasis on quality over quantity.

Lastly, we don’t lose money if it takes longer than usual to find the right fit for your team.

Executive Search vs. Contingency Recruitment – Which Do You Need?

So which is the right service for you? How should you pick between firms?

Executive search vs. contingency recruitment is easy. If you’re filling a senior or executive level role, you need an executive search firm.

Next, you have to look at models.

Do you really want to pay an upfront fee or retainer? And are you getting real value with their model? Does it incentivize quality or quantity?

Picking a talent acquisition partner is not always easy. However, we hope this article helps you understand the pros and cons of each. Your next great hire starts with picking the right partner!