I am STUPID! - The Client Must Have Some Skin In The Game!!!!........

....or...."I'm never going to do another search without a Retainer"

OK. I admit it. I can be a softie. Just sometimes.

I'm not sure how I let it happen, but I let a client convince me to take on a job without a retainer. Normally I get a third up front. Sometimes I'll let that slip to 25%. Sometimes, just sometimes, I'll let it slip to 10%. In December, I let one in 'no win, no fee'

I am bloody idiot!

This client has been so slow getting back to me. They've held information back and let deadlines slip. They have no incentive, so don't feel any pain. Candidates are cooling and I'm wasting my time.


I don't know how any of you work without a retainer.

I've never given away exclusivity. I should not have let this happen. I am about a useful as a one-legged man in an arse kicking competition!

Please learn from my stupidity - or tell me how you make sure the client gives you the support you need.


Views: 288

Comment by Julia Briggs on January 21, 2013 at 11:38am

Blimey, I had the same problem with clients when on retained work as a head-hunter, so it might not be no skin in the game.  Time to play hardball given you don't normally work contingently and just pull the plug?

Comment by Jerry Albright on January 21, 2013 at 11:59am

I work on contingency - and love it.  :)  Sorry to hear you're having a rough time of it.  Exercise your right to bail out.

Comment by Amber on January 21, 2013 at 12:04pm

We work contingency and retained - happens with both types of clients! I won't continue to work with them and move on to the ones who want to hire. :)

Comment by Martin Ellis on January 21, 2013 at 12:17pm

Thanks all for your help and comments. I have bailed out. If they're not interested, neither am I. I have to say the support I get from retained clients is almost, without fail, excellent.

Comment by Ellen Clark on January 23, 2013 at 12:05pm

I used to work contingency but stopped one day when a HR person told me I was doing the work of a retained agency. I was not just sending over any CV and seeing if it stuck. It was true. I sent hours, weeks, months on a search. I found when I switched to retained search I was treated with much more respect.  I think I like retainers for this reason the most and not the guaranteed money. But retainers have their downside too. You are trapped until you find that"perfect candidate". And more and more companies just don't want to pay ahead unless the search is at a very high level. The best solution, in this case, is to get a small deposit  (to show skin in the game) and work the rest on contingency. I do this especially for new very small startup clients. They are wary of spending a lot on an unknown quantity. Once we have a relationship I switch to a normal retainer model.


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