Row of grey doors with one red door

Retained or contingency? The accountants’ recruitment dilemma

You need to recruit.  A vacancy will soon be arising in your accountancy practice.  Finding the right candidate is paramount, but time and cost are key factors.  Here’s the dilemma.  Do you opt for the faster route of contingency recruitment and go for the quick fix?  Or do you play the long game, paying the extra costs incurred by a retained recruiter?

At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd, we’re Accountancy Recruitment Specialists.  As such, we’re skilled at any number of recruiting techniques.  What matters to us is that you adopt the route to successful recruitment that is best for you.

The fastest route may not be the most effective

Take the contingency recruitment route and you may well achieve quick results, but how closely will the candidate measure up to what you’re really looking for?  The process, where we match CVs from a database or an advert against a list of key words from the job description, can be effective.  There’s nothing wrong with this approach.  In fact, it can yield results fast.

However, the outcome tends to rely on an element of good fortune.  At PPR, we are always meticulous and work diligently with the highest integrity, whichever method we use.  But, there are recruiters who may be tempted to cut corners, to get to the end point as soon as possible.  You might be attracted by paying for the relatively low cost of the contingency approach – perhaps paying via a ‘no-result, no-fee’ basis.  The result, however, could be that you don’t finish up with the standard of candidate you’d hoped for.

‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’

Maybe you’d prefer the retained assignment approach.  We work with you collaboratively to create an assignment specification that will attract and engage the right candidates.   The specification will enable you to know exactly what to expect at each stage of the recruitment process.

We work pro-actively, but carefully and meticulously.  There are no magic wands.  The process can be time-consuming.  But, in the end, this painstaking approach invariably comes up trumps, finding you the perfect candidate who will both suit, and remain with, your company.

Save and make money with retained recruitment

Superficially, retained assignment might seem expensive.  In the short-term, you’ll pay more than with the relative quick fix of contingency recruitment.  But, in the long-run, it’s very often a different story.  By finding you a premium candidate who stays with your company, you’ll save on the potential cost of re-recruiting when your original choice doesn’t work out.  Even better, a great candidate, who genuinely ‘delivers’ for your company, increasing the bottom line, will pay for his recruitment costs many times over.

Reduced HR investment

Adopting the contingency recruitment approach can result in you receiving  dozens of CVs.  But, think of the HR time and effort needed to sift through, select and respond.  The targeted, research-based approach of retained assignment may take a little longer to bear fruit.  But, until the interviews begin, your HR involvement is negligible.

A dedicated personal approach

With the contingency approach to recruitment, time and cost pressures are such that, sometimes, the agency doesn’t have the opportunity to meet the clients they represent.  Not so with retained recruitment.  In this case, our consultants will dedicate significant time from the start of the process – calling clients, interviewing them, learning about their successes, their challenges, their goals, both personal and business.  Finding out what drives them.

A contingency consultant will often rely on candidates replying to adverts or being sourced from a database.  The consultant will be working on numerous projects simultaneously and may be relatively inexperienced.

Alternatively, a specialist retained recruitment consultant will be an altogether different animal, possessing numerous qualities.  They will be –

  • well-networked, with a comprehensive knowledge of the accountancy sector, the relevant roles and candidates.
  • experienced, creative, sensitive and tenacious
  • capable of committing themselves full-time for weeks on end, in order to achieve the desired appointment.
  • be prepared to devote the time and technique to engage candidates who may not be actively job-seeking.

The unexpected bonus

We’ve listed here the many benefits of choosing the retained recruiter option.  One terrific, and often unheralded, advantage is the increased chance of the unexpected bonus.  Here at Public Practice Recruitment Ltd, we recently experienced a notable example.  A well-known, Stoke-on-Trent based accountancy practice had engaged us on a retained basis to find a new Partner.  The result?  We didn’t only find them the perfect Partner, but the appointment led to them acquiring the candidate’s original employer.

It’s clear that there are advantages to both recruitment approaches – retained and contingent.  What matters most is that you choose the option that suits your needs at the current time – the role, the time, the cost.  So, don’t take a leap into the unknown.  The depth and breadth of our knowledge of the accountancy sector is unrivalled.  It’s our niche and our passion.  If in any doubt as to the best route to recruitment success, call us.  We’d love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, read more about why  Public Practice Recruitment Ltd could be your perfect partner.

Call us – 0333 577 7787

Email us

Or complete our submission form.


Latest Blogs

Blog Archive


Latest Jobs

Load more listings

Quick CV Upload

Sign Up For Job Alerts

Keep up to date with the latest vacancies by signing up for job alerts via email.