What is Retained Recruiter?

By Abhishek Kathpal | Updated 21 July, 2022

There are jobs, job seekers/qualified personnel, and recruiters between the two. For most people, the hiring path is that simple but, in truth, there are two primary types of recruiters companies outsource the role to. Furthermore, your chances of landing a job depend on which of them you’re dealing with. One of the two is the retained recruiter.

What is Retained Recruiter

Retained Recruiter meaning and definition

A retained recruiter is an individual or agency hired by a company to headhunt potential candidates for a position. They are not part of the organization and charge an upfront fee (usually split in three places) for their services. The difference between retained recruiters and other types of recruiters is they operate on an exclusive basis. In other words, when a company hires a retained recruiter, the position(s) are only fillable by that recruiter.The nature of the contract is such that the recruiter works closely with the company to understand their requirements and find an ideal candidate. However, retained recruiters are thorough at their job and rarely submit just one candidate. Instead, the recruiter usually submits a list of suitable candidates and leaves the final choice to the hiring company.

Advantages of using a retained recruiter

  1. Secrecy. The exclusiveness of using a retained recruiter lends certain secrecy to the headhunting process, as all discussions for the job opening are between the company and one individual/agency. As such, retained recruiters are mainly employed to fill senior positions within a company.

  2. Surety. When hired, they are required to complete the job hence the upfront fee. In most cases, the recruiter receives one-third of the payment when hired, another third when the list of candidates is submitted, and the final third when the company employs a candidate. Compared to other types of recruiters, there is the surety that the company would get a list of qualified candidates.

  3. Sustainability. Retained recruiters with a track record of quality hiring recommendations can be valuable partners in building a great team and excellent workplace culture. As such, a retained recruiter can represent a good guarantee for sustainable hiring practices.

About the Author

Abhishek Kathpal

Abhi is the co-founder at Longlist.io. Funded by US based OnDeck, Longlist is currently enabling 50+ businesses to increase their candidate and client reach outs, automating the workflow across stages.