What is Retained Recruitment?


In the world of recruitment, there are two types of hiring; contingent, whereby a recruiter is only paid once the role has been filled, and retained, where recruiters are engaged on an exclusive basis to source a key hire.

Positions that are recruited on a contingent basis are typically for entry-level to mid-management roles and are often found on job boards, networks and social media posts. For more senior, strategic or highly skilled hires where the candidate pool is much smaller, we have to adapt the way in which we recruit to find the right talent. This is where retained recruitment comes in.


What is retained recruitment and how does it work?

Retained recruitment is typically undertaken for senior roles, ie. Director level and above. Advertising on job boards, social media or via candidate referral schemes rarely attract or reach the right people. Therefore recruiters need to find alternative ways to identify talented prospects together with the expertise to manage the process of hiring.

Where temporary and permanent roles are recruited, the hiring company might work with multiple recruiters, however, when recruiting on a retained basis, the recruiter has exclusivity on the role and is ‘typically’ paid upon each key milestone.

Normally, the fee will be agreed as a percentage of the target salary and payment is split into 3 stages:

  • 30% Upon engaging the recruitment company
  • 30% When a shortlist of candidates is provided 
  • 40% When a candidate is placed.



Our solution is different! 


At Mattinson Partnership, we do retained search differently. We recognised that a lot of companies were getting charged significant amounts of money for the first two stages,  but not guaranteed the appointment at the end of the process. Recruiters were taking 60% of the fee without producing the results and this did not seem right to us.   Our Executive Search offering is unique in the marketplace, giving our clients a pricing structure that is focused on delivery and offers complete transparency on our efforts at every stage of the process.

Instead of using the normal payment process for retained recruitment, whereby fees are split, we work in only two phases; engagement and delivery.  Upon engagement, we charge a £1,500 retainer, the balance of the fee is only paid on a successful appointment.  

Throughout the process, we provide regular updates on progress, a list of fully screened and briefed candidates and guide both yourself and the candidate every step of the way.   This mitigates a lot of the financial risks and we are focussed exclusively on hiring the right person.

Why do retained recruitment?


By working with Mattinson Partnership, you work with experts who specialise in your industry with an extensive network of contacts. With years of experience, we understand the need for confidentiality and work incredibly hard to ensure we get the right people on time and to budget.  

From our initial research, we map the market to identify talented prospects which also provides invaluable competitor insights and salary benchmarking. Working exclusively means we have the opportunity to best represent your business without multiple agencies chasing senior prospects. Our retained solution means you get full visibility of potential prospects, whilst working closely with a team of professional recruiters who understand the need for discretion. We pre-interview all shortlisted candidates and provide feedback before any formal stages which saves you a huge amount of time and effort. Having one recruiter to manage the sourcing and screening process ensures you can get on with your day job without having to go through hundreds of profiles or CVs. 



Contact one of our specialist recruitment consultants today to discuss your hiring requirements and how we can source the right talent for you. Alternatively, email us at info@mattinsonpartnership.com with your details and we will get back to you. 

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, visit our jobs page for the latest opportunities across engineering, architecture, town planning and ecology. 

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London Wildlife Trust.

We are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level in Wild Workdays by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! We also run multiple interactive workshops, providing their conservation trainees with invaluable career advice and insights into the environmental sector to prepare them for employment. Most recently, we worked with young people taking part in their Keeping it Wild programme, which engages young people from backgrounds currently under-represented in nature conservation.

Royal Town Planning Institute.

The RTPI represents planning professionals in the UK and Ireland and aims to encourage the development of vibrant and prosperous places and communities. Our Senior Consultant Freddie enthusiastically attends the annual Planning Convention, and we host several events throughout the year to show our support, including drinks networking and a literal pub quiz. We also keep in close contact with our friends down under, at the Planning Institute Australia and New Zealand Planning Institute. In addition, we sponsor the London Planning Summit, an event designed to address the biggest challenges facing the industry. This is our opportunity to stay on top of the latest changes in town planning by meeting with other key professionals in the sector, while celebrating our achievements.

Land Securities Group Plc.

One of our clients, LandSec, are the clever people behind Girls Can Do It Too, an initiative designed to encourage girls to consider a career in construction. Currently, only 11% of the construction workforce are female, and LandSec are attempting to increase this number by providing education and engagement projects and workshops for girls aged 11-13. Featuring workshops on demolition and tower building, as well as challenging the girls to design a planning project of their own (with a focus on budgeting and environmental considerations), LandSec have proven their dedication to addressing the need for diversity in this very male dominated industry. Ruth assists the project by sharing her fascinating insights into the industry and is even on the project judging panel!

Urban Land Institute.

In partnership with Urban Land Institute we are able to play an imperative role in creating a larger and more diverse pool of candidates within the planning & property professions. Working in schools we take part in the Urban Plan Educational workshops programme, which has now reached more than 2,500 pupils in 100 schools since its launch. Alongside more than 200 industry volunteers engaged across the country, we provide invaluable industry & careers advice to students while guiding them through their workshops and helping judge their presentations.

Carbon Footprint.

Carbon FootprintTM works to help organisations offset their CO2 through tree planting and community projects worldwide. By partnering with Carbon FootprintTM, we have planted native trees and shrubs such as Whitebeam, Hazel, Field Maple, Silver Birch, Rowan, Beech, Blackthorn, Holly and Dog Rose to create a Mattinson Forest that spreads across South East England. Carbon FootprintTM work in conjunction with the Florestal Santa Maria Project (FSM-Redd Project), designed to reduce deforestation in the Amazonian Rainforest. So, for every tree we plant in the UK we guarantee a tonne of CO₂ offset in Brazil too. Carbon FootprintTM have allowed us to not only do our bit for the environment but also commemorate moments of growth for our clients and candidates.