J Patrick + Associates Blog

Is the Hybrid Recruiting Model right for your Business?

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Feb 01, 2016 @ 11:00 AM
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You contract with an executive recruiting firm for their expertise and the benefit of their relationships. They know how to find the top talent and how to save valuable time when vetting candidates for you. But, just as there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all hiring practices, there also isn’t one engagement model that works for all companies all the time.

Knowing the difference between contingency search, retained search and the new, innovative option known as the Hybrid Recruiting Model can mean the difference between putting the right hire in the right desk and losing productivity to a long drawn-out search.


Let’s explore the upside and drawbacks of all three. 



Your no risk option. Signing a letter of agreement for a contingency search is binding only IF the search results in a hire. Yes, you’ll have agreed to a percentage of the closing salary, but if the recruiters don’t bring you the A-level talent you’re seeking, then the search won’t cost you anything. You’re not bound by an exclusivity agreement and can work with multiple search firms at once. And most firms offer a guarantee period, anywhere from 30-90 days. The recruiters carry all the risk- if they don’t deliver, you don’t pay.

But nothing is truly free. Contingency searches can often be costlier, carrying higher percentage fees. And what you might not get is fully-dedicated resources, or the full-force of the search team’s focus to fill your positions. With no guarantee of payment, firms can only dedicate so much time and resources to your search.



We’re there for you. There are some hires, like your C-level suite and Marketing managers, that are just too important to leave to chance. You need a focused search dedicated to building out your team. When you engage a recruiter in a retained search, they’ll be looking not only for the candidates with the right resumes, but also  mining hidden talent- candidates who are primed to take on new challenges but may fly under the radar. This is where the recruiter’s reach and relationships come into play. You want all their time and attention focused on you, and you’re willing to pay them an exclusive, pre-determined percentage of the final salary. Usually payable in three installments (1/3 at the time of engagement, 1/3 at an agreed upon point in the middle of the process, and the last installment which is then rounded out based on the actual salary), you know your money is hard at work for you.

 What will it cost you. Retained searches are structured to mitigate the risk for both you and the recruiter. However, in the event that the search does not end in a successful hire for either internal or external reasons, that first 1/3 of the fee is non-recoverable- though many firms will apply it to a future search. This is the time to work with a search firm who you trust and who has a solid, long standing reputation in your business sector.



Quality service at a discount. You need quality talent, and you need it fast, but you’re not looking to pay premium recruiting fees. You may be a start-up needing to fill out staff, or an established firm looking to test the waters with a new recruiter. Either way, the Hybrid model may be the perfect solution for your staffing needs. You’ll pay an engagement fee, but in exchange for a small out-lay at the beginning you’ll get treated like a retained client AND you’ll pay a discounted rate. The upfront fee is deductible from final percentage based on starting salary. Think of it as a down payment. Recruiters like it because they get a targeted search that’s more than likely to end in a hire, and you get exclusive service at a discount.

Is there a downside? Sure there is, but it’s pretty slim for you. The only way your engagement fee won’t go to work for you is if the recruiting firm can’t fill any of your staffing needs within the agreed upon specified time, and even then the fee can be applied to a future search.

Relationships are everything. There are, of course, other models for engagement, solutions that are tailored to specialty needs, such as filling out a new branch or for contracting short-term hires. Whatever your needs, talk to your recruiter and explore what works best for you.

Does the Hybrid-Recruiting Model sound right for your company, or are you looking to build a relationship with a trusted firm? J.Patrick & Associates is an Executive Search firm specializing in Information Technologies. Let us help you explore which type of search is the best fit for your company.


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Tags: HR and Hiring