Why VP Changed (Entire Blog)

Why VP Changed

I started Vetted Placements over three years ago with the desire to help companies succeed by providing them with the best possible employees. I’ve witnessed firsthand how important employees are to a successful company. I’ve seen this at fast paced startups such as Braintree and Sagacious Consultants to large established companies such as Accenture. I learned how to recruit and identify top talent by recruiting completely differently than the industry standard. My vision was to bring this to the market and help other companies succeed.

After launching Vetted Placements, I quickly realized the recruiting industry and the standard recruiting practice was flawed. It wasn’t centered on quality of candidates, understanding your customer’s needs, building deep relationships, or dedicated support. It’s purely a numbers game. If a recruiting firm is to be successful, they needed to work dozens of roles, submit dozens of candidates, and plan on winning a low percentage of the roles. Clients typically work with numerous firms to fill the same role as they understand how the industry operated. It’s contingent. 

In the traditional contingent world, simply put, it’s a numbers game and after a year of doing what everyone else was doing I realized it needed to change. I was sacrificing the values of my company, why I started Vetted Placements, what I promised to my employees, and most important, what I wanted to deliver to my clients. It had to change.

Over the coming days, I will share the lessons I learned about the recruiting industry and what we changed at Vetted Placements. Some of my lessons you may already know, some you may not. As you may be working with a recruiting firm or looking to engage with a recruiting firm for the first time, I hope my journey will help guide you to the best decision.

Instead of contingent, we’ve changed to a retained model that puts skin in the game on both sides, builds a great long-term relationship, and produces top candidates as we know their organization better than anyone.

If your organization has made the decision to use an outside recruiting firm for your hiring needs, you might get lost in the world of thousands of firms, contingent versus retained, and just figuring out where to start. The battle between firms can be intense and hard to decipher the differentiators between many of them in a commoditized and competitive market.

To start, I’d like to clarify the difference between a contingent firm and a retained firm.

·  Contingent- A recruiting firm that earns a fee only when the organization (client) hires the candidate.

·   Retained- A recruiting firm that charges an upfront fee to the organization (client) to begin the search. In this model, the recruiting firm is typically searching for the position in an exclusive basis which means they’re the only firm that will work on and fill the position.

Every organization is looking to attract the best talent and in today’s world, that’s a tough chore. Whether you’re looking to have outside assistance for your recruiting efforts due to an overflow of positions (due to growth), a hard to find position, or your company isn’t setup to recruit internally, there are many things to consider and weigh in your decision.

With talent being scarce and a major shift in the market taking place with millennials, you need to make sure you’re in the best position to attract top talent. With millennials infiltrating the job space, how do you grab their attention in such a chaotic world and job market? What’s most important to them? How do you ensure you have a great process in place to get them excited about your organization?

This post has been created to give you an understanding of how the retained process creates a better experience not only for the candidate, but for you and your organization as well. After all, what matters to you most is getting great results and top talent.

Below, we’ve listed some important lessons we’ve learned throughout the journey.

Multiple Firms are Not Better Than One

In most situations, not just recruiting, it’s natural to think multiple irons in the fire are better than one when it comes to producing better results. For recruiting, it’s just the opposite. Here are a few reasons why that isn’t a successful route:

Ready, set, go!

When you have multiple firms looking, it becomes a rat race and who can get it filled first. This is the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” approach. Speed is the only thing that matters to those recruiting firms as their goal switches from quality, to quantity and as fast as possible. They have a one-track mind: Get more people to you quicker than the other firms.

The quality of candidates decreases substantially and the amount of time you’re going to spend sorting through hundreds of resumes from multiple firms will be overwhelming.

Lack of Knowledge; Role, Culture, Organization, etc.

In order to understand the needs of your organization, a recruiting firm needs to spend time learning about not only the role, but more importantly the culture. This ensures a successful candidate is hired and stays for a long time to come.

With the contingent model, it’s not possible for you to spend enough time with each recruiting firm to make sure they know your organization inside and out. In fact, many aren’t interested. They understand it’s a race to get you people quick and just want to hit the road. Instead, they get a very high-level overview of the company from you (maybe), scrape their database of people who could fit the role, and shoot over 30+ resumes for you to review. You’re essentially doing their job for them. Plain and simple, this just doesn’t produce results, and no one wins. How is a firm supposed to “sell” a candidate on your organization and have them be excited about joining without having true knowledge? It takes a lot of time and teamwork to gain a deep understanding of your opportunity presented, culture, and what leads to success at your organization.

No Relationship

This is a transactional relationship. In the contingent model, recruiting firms are one of many, and on their end, you’re one of many. To recruiting firms, once they get you a solid number of candidates, they move onto their next client. They’re just hoping you select one of their candidates and see success/payment on the backend. There is no real relationship or skin in the game on either side for recruiting firms to go the extra mile. They want to get paid and move on.

This is a bad experience for both the client and candidate. There is no real relationship built on either side. In addition, for future roles, nothing will change—it will always be the same process and transactional feel. You as the client have no control over their workload or effort being put in as you’re not providing them with payment. This is a “free for all” and that’s the effort they’re going to put forth.

In the retained model, you’re building a true partnership, and both have skin in the game. Your retained firm will take the time to learn about your organization, culture, structure, and why people are successful there. This is going to lead to a better relationship with your firm, but also lead to longer-term/successful placements.

Submittals from Multiple Recruiting Firms

The recruiting process is hard enough. If there’s one thing you’re not looking for, it’s to add more confusion and stress to an already tough process. Using multiple firms at once can cause problems quickly. Here are a few ways it can cause problems for you and your organization:

Blind Submittals

Blind submittals are when a firm submits a candidate to an opportunity without the candidate’s knowledge, or even yours as the “client.” I say, “client,” because it could be that you’ve not closed out a past agreement with a firm. Therefore, anything submitted to you is still “live” and a fee would be due to them if hired by you or your organization (even if presented by another firm).

This is unfortunate but can be a common practice which takes place in the recruiting industry. This approach is highly frowned upon, but there are many firms that do this tactic. Firms do this for two reasons. One, they want to keep their “activity” numbers up for their clients to prove they’re working. Two, they want to get numbers over to you and see if they can get lucky with each candidate.

In the retained model, you will not run into this as you have a true relationship built with a recruiting partner and have only one active agreement. Therefore, you’re able to move forward without hesitation and uncertainty.

Unable to Hire

You finally find your dream candidate- they’re perfect! Unfortunately, you soon realize this person has been submitted by another firm as well. It could be you’ve never spoken to the candidate and you didn’t even know the other firm sent them to you, but you’re on the line for them as well. In this situation, you’re forced to pay a fee to both recruiting firms if you choose to bring this person on. This happens more than many think and is bad for both the client and the candidate as they more than likely can’t be brought on.

Confused Candidates

Once a candidate’s interest has been “peaked,” it could cause them to do a search on their own. In this search, they could run across multiple posts that look like similar positions to the one with you and apply. What kind of message does this send to the candidate? Will they be submitted multiple times, leading to the problem addressed above?

In the retained model, you only have one relationship to focus on. You’re able to put more pressure on them to produce greater results, and you’re able to have more meaningful conversations to critique/change their search and allow for the most success to be found.

Recruiter Focus

A recruiter has an optimal number of opportunities they can be successful with working at the same time. As a recruiter takes on more roles, less time is spent on each opportunity and their effectiveness takes a huge hit. In a typical contingent recruiting firm, a recruiter focuses on 7+ opportunities at a time. It’s a pure numbers game and no one wins. This is just too many—period. There is no way the recruiter can truly search, interview, and successfully find top talent working this many opportunities.

In the retained model, the focus is cut in half or more leading to better results due to more time being spent on each opportunity and the firm actually getting to know your organization.

Company Brand

The search process is an extension of your organization. How do you want the recruiting firm to represent your organization’s brand? How do you want potential candidates to perceive your brand? Often times, being contacted by the recruiting firm is the first impression that candidate gets of your organization. How do you ensure it’s the best one?

Contacted Multiple Times

When a candidate is reached out to by multiple firms regarding the same opportunity it causes confusion and lessens the appeal of the opportunity. This can make a search or organization look unorganized and create concern for a candidate.

Long-Term Relationship

Building a long-term relationship with one firm builds confidence for candidates and internal employees. It shows them that your organization is serious about its image and building true relationships to better the company. With the “shotgun approach” of using multiple firms, it takes credibility of your organization and sends a message that the brand and what’s being portrayed out in the market isn’t important. 

As stated above, the retained model allows you to build a strong relationship with one recruiting firm, they will be an extension of your organization, know your brand, and be able to “sell” your organization more effectively.

The Client/Candidate Journey

More than ever, it’s important to create a well-oiled process that runs smoothly. In the contingent model, it has a very transactional feel and the candidate feels like a “product” whereas the client can feel like an afterthought. There can be a lot of loose ends leading to a choppy process.

In the retained approach, you’re going to have a better relationship built. In addition, both sides are going to be able to devote more time to the candidate journey and make it an enjoyable experience. Instead of managing multiple relationships, there will only be one.

With retained, you can expect a “hands on” and step-by-step approach allowing both client and candidate to be “in the know” the entire process. From a kickoff call to understand your opportunity/organization fully, job description review/creation, weekly status reports, personalized candidate profiles, timelines for success, offer presentation, to follow up through guarantee period and beyond, you can rest assure you’re finding top talent and are well-informed at each step of the process.


The goal of recruiting is to hire an employee who is bought into the company culture, adds value to the organization, and stays for the long term. The decision of which recruiting firm your company decides to engage with is important in achieving these goals. Ensure you partner with a strong recruiting firm that truly takes the time to understand your needs, culture, and goals. Good luck on your search.

*For more information, ideas, or questions, please feel free to reach out to Michael Grace (contact info. below).


Michael Grace
Founder/CEO- Vetted Placements