Hiring good talent is hard. Hiring highly-skilled, highly specialized talent for finance and accounting roles is even harder. That’s pretty much why Clarity exists. The phrase is cliché, but we really aren’t your average recruitment firm.
We built Clarity because we didn’t want to just help clients hire people, but because we wanted to help clients hire amazingly talented people. People who could help unlock growth. We wanted to help our clients understand what type of talent they needed at various stages of growth and how to build and scale a finance function that could support a fast-growing organization. We also wanted to place incredible leaders who really understood how to change the game. And we get to do that work every day. But we’re not the right recruitment partner for every company.
There are tons of different types of recruitment firms suited to different hiring needs. There’s everything from large, global firms that do just about everything, but with little specialization, to tiny boutique firms that focus on one or two roles or functions within a single vertical. There are firms that do executive headhunting and others that focus on teams. One big differentiation for recruitment firms is the terms of service. Most firms fall into two categories: retained or contingent.
Recruitment 101: The Difference between Retained Search Firms and Contingent Search Firms?
Almost all recruitment firms offer either retained or contingent services. Some, like Clarity, offer both. Retained recruitment is when the client pays a fee in exchange for exclusive hiring capabilities and the recruitment firm focuses solely on the position it’s been hired to fill.
Typically a retained search starts with an agreed-upon fee to begin work and additional payments upon service delivery. Retained models are most often used in executive recruitment and usually offer clients additional services like market mapping, compensation analysis and modelling, candidate profiling and assessment services.
Contingent recruitment, on the other hand, usually only requires a client to pay at the completion of services, or when a candidate has been placed. Since there is no upfront fee, companies often engage multiple firms to search for candidates for a single role. Only the firm with the first-placed candidate receives payment, so speed is prioritized over quality. Contingent recruiters will typically send a couple of candidates to a client very quickly, hope for a placement, and then move on to the next role. Most contingent search firms are only able to fill about 30% of the roles they support, so the service offering is very basic.
Another variation of a recruitment service offering is a contingent model with exclusivity. This means that a firm provides a contingent model but the client agrees to work with only one firm for the position within an agreed-upon timeline.
Firms that use this model must provide high-quality service, top candidates and fast delivery. Clients get the benefit of a high-end, retained-style service but with a contingent payment model.
How Exclusivity Drives Better Hiring Outcomes
Exclusive-contingent recruitment models are most often found at agencies that offer highly focused and specialized recruitment services. At Clarity, our exclusive contingent division focuses on providing the best finance and accounting recruitment services, which means we’ve spent over a decade building relationships with accounting and finance professionals, have a deep understanding of the skills and challenges of all the roles within the functions, and even hire and train CPAs to become highly specialized recruiters who are able to build unique, trusted relationships with candidates and provide counselling throughout career growth.
Since we are constantly building relationships with accountants, financial analysts, CFOs, controllers, Directors of FP&A, ERP consultants – you name it – it means that we can help our clients find incredible talent quickly and provide retained-style services like compensation analysis and candidate profiles without upfront fees.
At Clarity, we also use our proprietary technology to build comprehensive job frames and scorecards that help us ensure that we’re only showing you the most qualified candidates for your role.
In short, hiring managers working with Clarity get executive recruitment-style service, but only pay if we find somebody great. Exclusivity drives better hiring outcomes because you get access to deep expertise and dependability every time.
So How Do You Find the Right Recruitment Partner?
Finding the perfect recruitment firm to support your finance and accounting hiring needs can feel like a daunting task. But don’t worry – you only need to keep some key principles in mind! First of all, consider how exclusive the recruitment firm is – try to find one that has expertise in finding and building relationships with experts in your industry. Then, research the reputation of each potential firm and look at their reviews online. Finally, you want a team who truly understands your specific needs as an employer because then they can find you the very best candidates.
Clarity Helps You Hire Better
At the end of the day, we understand that there’s no shortage of tolerable recruitment firms available to support your next hire. But we also know that our hiring process, network, and internal expertise are way better, and that we’re uniquely positioned to help you find incredible talent quickly. Our exclusive contingent recruitment model allows us to dedicate highly skilled, extremely knowledgeable recruiters who are dedicated to helping you hire an amazing person who will help your company grow.
If you’re ready to get started, so are we!
Andrew Seeley is the Vice President of Client Services at Clarity and has over a decade of experience helping fast-growing companies build effective finance and accounting teams.