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The REAL Reason Your Recruiter is Hurting Your Business

Chris Paffett

Chris Paffett

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​Don’t worry, I’ve been a recruiter a long time, so I have a thick skin. I know my profession doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation.

But here’s the thing…

Not every recruiter is cut from the same cloth.


Some of those problems you have with your recruiter are fixable if you recognise WHY the failing is happening.

This is a BAD Idea

One of the worst inventions in the history of recruitment is the “contingency” contract.

This is what we call taking a brief from a client for a role, fully aware that we only get paid if we find a candidate that you hire.

It’s a terrible, terrible idea.

Which is ironic because it might be one of the few things about recruiters you actually like.

I mean, it SOUNDS like a good deal.

You send a recruiter (or even a few of ‘em) off to find you candidates, and you only pay if you get a candidate that you like enough to hire.

And, the vast majority of the time, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.

A candidate that you like JUST enough to hire.

But that’s a whole world… no… a whole UNIVERSE away from a candidate that you love, and that will be a shining asset in your business, and that will stick around for years to come.

It’s almost impossible to get a great candidate through a contingency contract. Not because your recruiter is bad at their job (although that is a possibility), but because this business model sets everyone up for failure.

A Race to the Bottom (of the Barrel)

Imagine for a moment that you’re a recruiter and you know with a fair amount of certainty that it will take you two weeks to find a handful of GOOD candidates.

What will that ability count for if the other recruiters you’re competing with are going to send the employer a bunch of AVERAGE candidates in less than a week?

What’s the point in expending time and effort to find good candidates if, by the time you do, the employer has already chosen a candidate provided by a competing recruiter.

And forget about spending a month on the job to find GREAT candidates.

This is the reality of the situation.

When you hire several recruiters on a contingency basis, you’re creating a race to see who can rustle up some half-decent candidates in the quickest amount of time.

You’re sacrificing a whole lot of quality for the sake of finding candidates in one week instead of two.

Vote of No Confidence

And things aren’t much better if you hire a SINGLE recruiter on a contingency basis.

You give your recruiter some breathing room, but payment is still contingent on placing a candidate.

Again, imagine you’re a recruiter spending a month to find great candidates, only for the client to reject the shortlist, or fill the role internally, or decide to delay making the hire.

That’s a lot of time and effort with no financial reward.

So, as a recruiter, with targets to hit, you have no choice but to limit the amount of time you spend on each role. AND you also have to take on lots of roles simultaneously, so that the jobs that pay will cover the jobs that don’t.

The end result is the same.

A shortlist of average, and probably ill-fitting, candidates.

You pick the best of the bunch, but it’s not a great match. And so, after six months, you let the new hire go – at great expense to your business – and contact your recruiter (or recruiters) again.

Hoping that, this time, they’ll do a better job.

What’s that old adage about doing the same thing over and over and hoping for different results?

Let’s Start Over…

Contingency recruitment is bad for recruiters, bad for candidates and bad for you.

If you want to experience recruitment with high quality results, you’re going to have to try a different approach.

One that involves…

  • Comprehensive job briefs

  • Wide-ranging market searches

  • Deep candidate assessments

  • Highest-quality shortlists

This is how you get a different end result.

One in which your recruiter helps your business grow and prosper

To find out how you can make this switch, call 0203 839 4821 or write to

Alternatively, you can book a free, no-obligation, consultation at Book a call with me

You can also learn more about the perils of the “bad hire” using our FREE bad hire calculator What is the true cost of a bad hire?