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When it comes to navigating the world of recruitment, clients often like to visualise a comparison between working on a success-only basis and conducting a retained search. Understanding the differences and essentially, the benefits of working in a retained, up-front payment manner could make all the difference to your hiring process.

We’re all aware of the changes ongoing in the employment market now, which could impact your approach to seeking new team members. To assist in your hiring process, you could consider working with a recruiter so you can focus on what’s important. Most recruiters and the companies that they work within are not the same, meaning that their recruitment process also differs greatly. However, there is a commonality that they share when it comes to the payment side of things.
Success Only (Contingent) vs Retained Search (Eye-Intro Assignments)
Let’s digest it further to explain what they mean and the pro’s and con’s behind both approaches to recruitment.
Contingent Search
A contingent search involves payment on success, meaning that your recruitment partner will only get paid for their time and efforts if the candidate joins the organisation. This is a common form of recruitment, however, does have its limitations and allows us to dedicate only a small amount of time to finding someone to fit the role.
Retained Search (Eye-Intro Assignments)
A retained search means that an exclusive partnership is formed between the client and the recruiter, conditioned by an upfront payment/deposit to secure their exclusivity and commitment to the search.
Working on a retained basis allows us to designate our time, energy, and resources into finding the best candidates for the role and to suit the organisation – we essentially act as an extension of your brand. This dedicated way of working allows us to comprehensively map out the market, provide rigorous screening and interviewing prior to presenting our shortlist of best candidates to clients. Our retained search differs hugely from other recruitment companies (we all say this – but it genuinely does) – scroll down to find out why.
Working Contingently – the benefits
Success only payment
One of the key benefits of working contingently is that no upfront payment is involved, which can be attractive to a few organisations. This method means you’re only paying for the service once the candidate begins their first day.
Access to great candidates
It’s not the case that contingent searches only bring in mediocre candidates, some can be exceptional. Our eyecare market expertise and the core values of our recruitment process still allows us to seek out high quality candidates and present them to your organisation. Again, however, it reverts back to timing and commitment from both sides to seek out candidates not available directly on the job market.   
Working contingently – the drawbacks
There’s no guarantee
Unlike working retained, there’s nothing to guarantee that the role will be filled. We’re often working on several assignments and without a guarantee on your side, it’s difficult to dedicate the time and effort into finding the best individuals.
Lack of exclusivity
Working retained guarantees exclusivity on both parts, meaning you’re the only client who will receive the profile of our selected candidates. Although the contingent method means that profiles can also be shared with other organisations who are seeking similar candidates, much like you could use other recruitment agencies to find your ideal candidate.
Not as rigorous
Although we do our very best to approach every assignment in the most dedicated manner, when we have several retained projects ongoing, our service only goes so far when it comes to contingent searches. Potentially controversial, but you wouldn’t try something in a shop, without paying for it and just give it back without any money exchanged?
Working Retained (Eye-Intro) – the benefits
It’s reliable
As a consultancy, we would never agree to work on a retained assignment that we are unable to fulfil, our expertise in the eyecare market means that we can commit to projects we know we will complete.
Proven 96% retention rates
Our industry leading retention rates are a huge benefit to working on a retained basis, we’re so confident in that we will find the right candidate to suit the role and organisation that we offer a 12-month FREE replacement period. This is huge compared with most recruitment companies offering 3 months. Our overwhelming success rates are based on our thorough searching and assessment criteria. (More details coming on this in our next article)
Guaranteed completion
When working retained, we can almost 100% guarantee to our clients that the role will be filled. Our in-depth market analysis and ophthalmology expertise allows us to understand the intricacies of the roles, organisation and skills required from the candidates. Working closely with your organisation means we can promote your brand in an appropriate (and exciting!) manner to candidates.
Save upwards of £100K per hire
With our industry-leading retention rates, you won’t have the hassle of individuals leaving your organisation after joining, leaving you back in the same boat as before we came on board. Our guarantees mean that you’ll have significantly reduced commercial downtime. There’s huge time and money cost-savings here since we’re finding you the best possible talent in a timely manner. (More details coming on this in our next article)
Reduced time to hire
We only seek out the most suitable talent, steering away from wasting our own time and yours sending over “maybe” candidates. Our through candidate assessment and interview process means we’re only presenting you with candidates who are genuinely seeking out a new position. This is bound to significantly improve your interview-to-hire ratio and speeds up your recruitment process.
Dedicated management
Your commitment to us is shown through your payment of a deposit, so our commitment in returned is our dedicated management of your hiring process, taking the weight off your teams. We’ll organise interviews for well-matched candidates and allow you to conduct post-interview scoring and we’ll even feedback to the candidates on your behalf. Letting you focus on what’s important is our main priority.
Why do we take an upfront payment?

We request a deposit/up-front payment for the search prior to it going ahead. Think of it this way – working contingently would be like taking something from a shop to try it without paying for it first – is that normal?
When it comes to the recruitment process, finding the way that works best for your organisation is paramount. However, explaining the benefits behind working retained in a thorough manner can help to instil confidence in the commitment from our side when it comes to filling roles.
We’re working on a series of articles, with our next one being shared in the coming weeks “Introducing Eye-Intro” which we hope shed’s light on even further benefits of our recruitment process. Follow and turn on your notifications for the next article in this series!
For more information on our recruitment process, please drop me a DM or email!