Thursday, April 24, 2008

RPO, Retained Search or Contingency?

Ere.net had a great article last week... Let's Revolutionize the Standard Recruiting Model. The author, Mark Bielecki, posed some interesting solutions to recruiting in a down turned economy. One possible solution was to have the client's pay the contingency recruiters a lesser fee for the qualified resumes that are submitted or interviews scheduled rather than a larger fee only when a candidate is hired. This solution would allow the recruiter to be compensated for their knowledge and efforts even if circumstances beyond their control prevent a hire from being made. What a concept... I like it!

Having come from a contingency agency background, working for RPO's the past few years has been an absolute breath of fresh air. While contingency searches bring in more money in fees, the percentage of hires per job order is much lower. After all, who hasn't had that contingency search where you worked for weeks to find that purple squirrel the client demanded only to have the hiring manager decide to put the position on hold during the offer stage or decide not to fill it at all?

Here at HumCap, we typically fill every RPO order we receive. Is that because the customer is paying for our services on a time and materials basis and they have more invested in the process? Working within this more consultative model, we are truly partners in the process and are better able to advise, counsel and educate the hiring managers to ensure the success of the hire. I can remember the last time I did contingency searches, coming up with a "contained search" model... part retained and part contingency. This was way before the RPO concept and required the client to pay a partial fee upon initiation of the search and the remainder of the fee when the hire was made. This win/win approach gave me as the recruiter an incentive to fill the position quickly and the client a vested interest in working with me to accomplish our goals.

I still prefer the true partnership of an RPO project or retained search and believe this is the future of the industry but I'm all about being creative and making money... what about you?
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