Articles From the Team

Legal recruitment jargon explained – what is contingency recruitment?

As an experienced legal recruitment consultant who has only ever specialised in contingency based recruitment methods working for private practice law firms in the Midlands region, being described as a ‘headhunter’ is as incorrect as describing a tiger as a lion.  By definition the word contingency means something dependent on a possible future event.  The future event for us is the candidate approaching BCL Legal, not the other way round thus our whole recruitment process is dependent on chance and a high degree of uncertainty because we cannot guarantee that the best candidate will approach us.

Contingency recruiters and headhunter recruiters are very different beasts, we may look similar but there are very stark differences that are not always obvious to the naked eye!  Each has the same end goal (to find the best candidate for their client) however, each has a very different process of attracting relevant candidates.  Let me try and explain.

A contingency recruitment agency, such as BCL Legal, does not approach any candidate without first having been approached by them.  We do not decide who approaches us.  Candidates will use different methods of approaching BCL Legal but BCL Legal will never make the first move.  BCL Legal has a database of candidates, which has been built up over a period of time through accepting CV’s from candidates who register with us to help them find a suitable position.  Active job seekers on our database (remember all of these have approached us, not the other way round) receive vacancy notifications about relevant positions from BCL Legal either by phone or e-mail.  All candidates have the option to opt-in or opt out of any correspondence.

If a candidate on our database notifies us of a change in their situation or we find that out through approaching them about an opportunity that they are no longer looking, their details are then de-activated and the file becomes inactive until such a time when they request it be altered.  BCL Legal does not make this decision and we cannot predict when this will be.

A headhunter on the other hand does proactively approach candidates without consent, their approach is based on 100% certainty that their market knowledge of who the candidate works for and what their skill set is means they are a match for their client.  Good headhunters will be skilled in the art of mapping out a department and accumulating a list of candidates for their client who meet the desired specification of requisite skills and experience.  A specialist headhunter will have agreed who they are working with and who they are not and as such will be retained by who they are working for which allows them to target the ones where there is no such agreement.

Because of BCL Legal’s strict no headhunting policy (we do not rob Peter to pay Paul), a specialist contingency recruiter like BCL Legal can act for any client as we are not aligned with any particular client by way of a monetary retainer.  What this means for you the candidate is that we are perfectly placed to provide any active job seeker with a perfect picture of the market and present you with the best opportunities available with a wide variety law firms.  We can never be certain of attracting the right candidates, but a candidate registered with BCL Legal can be certain that we know who is recruiting and who is not!

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