A Contingency Search by definition indicates that the search firm will only collect a fee if a suitable candidate is successfully hired for a particular position. This type of search is 100% “back-end” loaded. Contingency search generally indicates no exclusivity for the recruiting firm, which may communicate marginal commitment by the hiring company.
Contingency searches operate like brokerages, working hurriedly in an attempt to uncover lots of viable candidates quickly. To the client company this arrangement appears to be useful because unless the contingency firm introduces a viable candidate that gets hired for the position, there are no associated costs.
However, because the contingency model does not guarantee the recruiting firm compensation for real time and effort expended, the resources and time invested may be marginal. The resources cut out for contingency searches are limited due to the high volume of contingency positions.
Contingency recruiters will typically work with a large number of job openings, and focus on the openings with the largest pool of candidates or the largest fees. The contingency recruiter will move on to the requisition in which they believe they can get a straightforward win. With contingency it is not uncommon to get great communication early, and a couple of candidates quickly.
However, if the initial candidates do not pan out, it is not uncommon for the contingency recruiter to go unresponsive, as they have moved on to positions that are easier to fill.