Contingency VS Retained: Picking the Right Physician Recruitment Firm

It’s no secret that most health care organizations utilize physician recruitment firms at one point or another – some even use multiple firms simultaneously. The reason why is clear: by using firms, in-house recruiters can get access to everything from passive job seekers to assistance with contract negations. But in order to get the full benefit of using a physician recruitment firm, in-house recruiters need to know first which kind of firm to use.

Depending on your resources, needs, and the specific challenges of any given search, the type of firm you use can be either contingency, retained, or occasionally a hybrid. So which questions should you ask yourself when deciding which type of firm you need? Below are the three biggest questions you will need to ask yourself and how they effect which kind of firm you will benefit from the most.

How big is your in-house recruitment team?

Some organizations have a full in-house recruitment team, some have one or two recruiters, and some have no formal recruitment team whatsoever. For large to medium sized recruitment teams, a contingency firm could be just the right fit, providing extra sourcing capabilities but little else. On the other hand, organizations with small or non-existent recruitment teams would greatly benefit from the increased sourcing, screening, scheduling, and support services offered by a retained firm.

How much involvement do you want?

Some organizations just want their partner firm to provide them with CVs, without in-depth preliminary screenings or assistance throughout the physician recruitment process. Others prefer having a firm do the preliminary screening and research on a candidate before having them sent over. And still others want their partner firm to assist with everything from scheduling interviews to drafting and negotiating offers. If you’d prefer less involvement, a contingency might be the best fit. But if you would like additional assistance, a hybrid or retained firm might be right for you.

Just how difficult is the search?

No two searches are the same. Whether it’s a difficult location, an unfavorable call schedule, or a specialty that is notoriously difficult to recruit for, some searches are just harder to recruit for than others. In this case, the difficulty of the search should be directly proportional to the involvement of a firm. Harder searches will require more manpower and marketing spend than less difficult searches, meaning they would benefit the most from the involvement of a retained firm that specializes in problem searches.

Key Take Aways:

  • Each organization and search will have unique needs as to how much involvement is needed on the part of the physician recruitment firm
  • The smaller your recruitment team, the more involvement you’re likely to need from your partner firm to ensure that the recruitment process progresses smoothly
  • The harder the search, the more manpower you’ll need – meaning a retained firm might be the way to go
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