The Top 5 Reasons Why "Contingency Based Headhunting" is Still the Best Way to Recruit Exceptional Talent

Mike Pak | PHM Search | Engineering Recruiters | We Get Engineers
August 13 4 years ago

When companies need to recruit, typically they only have a few options. First, they can choose to recruit on their own through various avenues such as a career page, job boards, social media, industry events or emerging technologies, like AI. More often than not, internal recruiters will handle the recruitment function for their employer, which can be cost-prohibitive for some organizations. Secondly, some companies will choose to use a Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) firm, to outsource specific aspects of the recruitment cycle, like sourcing, interviewing, or conducting background checks. The third option is to engage either a contingency or retained search firm to manage and execute the entire recruitment cycle for an employer.

A retained search firm requires an employer to pay a front-loaded fee that can vary from a staggered arrangement, based on the stage of the recruitment cycle completed, to an entire lump sum ahead of executing the search assignment. The value with retained search is that they "guarantee" that they will successfully recruit the best candidate for the requisition assigned by their client. They are commonly known as "headhunters" in the industry, but as you will come to know, this handle is more widely adopted beyond the world of just retained or executive search.

1. Contingency search is risk and cost-free.

"Freedom is the recognition of contingency." Richard Rorty

When a contingency search agency is used, the client pays a fee only when a candidate is hired. Their fit and performance for the company are guaranteed by the firm for some time to assess whether the candidate can represent the value that an employer expects with the hire. Contingency firms enable employers to adopt a flexible fee-for-performance cost structure but incentivize the search agency to successfully recruit the right talent for them. Both parties mutually desire the same outcome. The success depends on the skills and efforts of the agency to collaborate and foster a partnership with the customer.

With an ever-growing demand for technical, engineering, construction and technology candidates, companies are adopting a multi-pronged approach to assure that they are recruiting the best and most valuable people. Based on our experience, contingency-based headhunting could be a compelling value proposition for your company.

2. Specialist contingency firms know the talent you are seeking.

"Less is more." Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

When a contingency firm can also effectively headhunt in specialized verticals, clients can reap tremendous benefit from both a cost and value perspective. Domain specialized agencies dedicate themselves solely to recruiting in specific areas and know the unique types of qualifications and traits that make for a good hire. In the world of technical search, where the

demand continues to outstrip the supply for such people as Engineers, Construction, Manufacturing and Technology talent, using a specialist brings more value to recruitment.

3. Great contingency recruiters are passionate about people.

"Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time." Susan RoAne

Another prong to the contingency headhunting paradigm is the value proposition that they network and nurture relationships. Headhunters strive to learn both career and personal aspirations of candidates that will best align them with the needs of their clients. Headhunting is the ability to manage and influence people through their journey and ultimate destination of a better opportunity. The best contingency recruiters, who headhunt, are guided by authentic compassion for people and the impact that changing jobs or careers may have on them and those in their lives.

4. Contingency headhunters recruit passive talent.

"One of the best ways to persuade others is by listening to them." Dean Rusk

Contingency headhunters focus on targeting and engaging in conversations with passive candidates that are gainfully employed but are also open to the possibility of change. These are the 90% that are qualified-but-not-looking. Initially engaging in conversation can be a delicate and sensitive process, but highly skilled and experienced contingency headhunters know that the best candidates are never looking, so with the right approach they can open a conversation where many are unable. This is achieved through rigorous training, peppered with grit and a genuine interest in getting to know a candidate as a real person first—as opposed to just another commission. Our career management services and coaching facilitate a connection akin to that of a trusted advisor and confidant.

5. Contingency headhunters not only open doors, but they close deals.

"Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate." John F. Kennedy

Once qualified candidates have been identified, time-consuming and sensitive issues of negotiation come into play. Headhunters know their passive candidates better than anyone else. It's how they earn their living. The best recruiters take a long term and candidate-first approach. They must patiently nurture excellent rapport to then leverage this to help both the candidate and client see mutually beneficial results. This becomes invaluable with passive candidates when it comes to agreeing on salaries, navigating offer details and mitigating counteroffers. Perhaps this scenario sounds familiar: an offer is turned down in the 11th hour as a candidate was unprepared for this critical step in the recruitment journey.

Whether your needs are large or small, a specialist, contingency-based headhunting firm could be the best of both worlds to consider when your recruitment encounters either a slow, missed or impossible-to-fill situation. For nearly two decades, PHM Search | Simply Technical has been providing targeted contingency-based recruitment services to valued clients in the Engineering, Construction, Manufacturing and Technology industries.

Contact us to see if our direct outreach strategies could be a fit for your recruitment needs!




Mike Pak | PHM Search | Engineering Recruiters | We Get Engineers