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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Contingency Recruiting

What Is Contingency Recruiting?

Contingency recruiting is when an organization hires a recruiting agency or contract recruiter to find candidates for an open position. The recruitment agency or contractor only gets paid if a candidate they find gets hired by the organization. The agency or contractor’s fee is a percentage of the salary of the position, typically around 20 percent. 

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Contingency Recruiting?

Contingency recruiting can be an advantageous recruiting strategy, especially if:

  • An organization doesn’t have an in-house staff of recruiters

  • An organization needs to quickly fill a position

  • The position doesn’t require rare or specialized skills

  • It’s not a senior-level or executive-level position

The disadvantages of contingency recruiting include:

  • There isn’t a guarantee that the recruiting agency or contractor will find a suitable candidate.

  • Because contingency recruiting is based on a “no hire, no pay” fee structure, they’re incentivized to source large quantities of candidates, not necessarily all of high quality.

  • Contingency recruiting doesn’t mean outsourcing the entire hiring process: organizations still have to do the time-consuming work of reviewing resumes, determining who to interview, and performing the interviews.

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