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7 Reasons You Want to Pay a Retainer

Zak Brocchini

  • 12-14-2023
  • Blog articles

When companies have engineering and product roles to fill, they’ll often reach out to recruitment firms for help.  Typically, this means a contingent search where the recruitment firm is only paid a fee when a candidate is hired.  Many think giving the same search out to 5 or more contingent firms will get them the best candidate faster, but in fact it provides fewer options and a superficial search. 

Why you Don’t want multiple recruiting firms competing on the same position:

  • If 5 firms have a position and only one will fill it, that means each firm has a 4 in 5 chance of working for free. With these odds, nobody will prioritize your search.
  • Each firm will look to the current candidates they have and introduce them, then move on to the next client. You’ll get available quantity over quality.
  • Recruiters won’t invest the time in a proactive search for passive candidates because statistically they probably won’t fill the role. Typically, the best engineers are passive candidates.

A better strategy is to partner exclusively with one firm that will prioritize your search by paying a retainer.  2Bridge Partners Contained Search is a hybrid Retained and Contingent model.  We charge a small upfront retainer fee which is then applied to the full fee earned at the completion of the search.

The Benefits of Contained Search:

       1. Higher Priority

When a client pays a retainer upfront, we know they’re serious about working with us to fill a position, and we know they’re looking to us exclusively to fill that position.  We will prioritize that search, dedicating more resources and conducting a more thorough search.

       2. Lower Risk of a Bad Hire

With exclusivity, we can take the time to focus on sourcing the highest quality passive candidates and deliver the best customer experience.  The best recruiters with the highest success rate engage on exclusive searches.

        3. The Best is NOT Always the Fastest

In a contingent search it’s all about speed.  Recruiters know they’re racing against the clock and if they don’t have a candidate immediately, they probably won’t get paid for their effort.  As a result, they’ll introduce anyone they can as quickly as possible and then move on to the next search.

When we have exclusivity more time can be taken to conduct a search for the most qualified passive candidates.  This greatly benefits your company.

      4. Hard to Find Skillsets

Engineering and Product are niche skill sets, and sectors that always have full employment.  In our Contained Search, 2Bridge Partners will conduct an in-depth search for passive candidates using our AI tooling, providing our clients with the best resources.  It will take a little longer, and will give you more higher caliber options than just candidates answering job posts.

       5. Access to Resources You Don’t Have

Even companies who have dedicated tech recruiting teams don’t have the time and resources needed to find passive candidates on their own.  Internal recruiting teams don’t have the depth of experience, industry knowledge, or proprietary tools that 2Bridge Partners brings to a search.  This includes AI enabled search and engagement, automated outreach campaigns, a research team, and an expansive database with over 10 million engineers in the US.

      6. Customized Search

Accepting a retainer means 2Bridge Partners will conduct a customized search.  We will take the time to understand the position, we can proactively recruit from competitors or steer clear of partners.  We can publicize our clients name or conduct a confidential search.  A customized search will be more effective uncovering the passive candidates your company seeks.

       7. Contained Search Costs the Same as Contingent.

In a Contained search we charge a retainer when the search commences.  The retainer is then applied to the full fee which is a percentage of the first year cash compensation.  The total fee is exactly the same as a Contingent search, though the customer experience and result are significantly better


The war for engineering talent is fierce.  Engaging multiple competitors may seem like a good strategy, though in fact it makes your search less effective by disincentivizing recruiters from conducting an in-depth search for the best talent.  Consider a retainer to ensure the best results!

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