How To Reduce Cost Per Hire:  Contingent vs Retained Staffing Models

Looking for ways to control overhead, increase your company’s flexibility and access better talent – right when you need it? There are two primary staffing models that can achieve your objective.


Historically, workforce management has been decentralized – with staffing decisions being made ad-hoc and reactively. Recently, however, a number of factors: COVID 19, HR regulations, the mass exodus of baby boomers from our workforce, the increasing rate of change in technology, the globalization of our economy, and widening skills gaps…have dramatically changed the way organizations acquire and engage employees.

Successful companies now take a much more strategic, proactive approach to workforce management by adopting a contingent staffing model. What’s a contingent staffing model? It’s a strategy for: achieving business objectives and optimizing workforce ROI (in areas like cost, efficiency, quality and risk)by engaging contingent workers (i.e., temporary, contract and freelance employees);from a variety of sources, such as staffing companies and managed services providers. And it offers several important benefits for your business including reducing personnel costs!


With a strategic contingency approach to staffing, you expand and contract your workforce to match changes in your business. This allows you to convert fixed costs to variable – reducing overtime, benefits costs and administrative expenses.

Managing growth; If your business grows rapidly, hiring needs may become urgent. “Panic hiring,” however, rarely yields the best candidates. Partnering with a staffing agency like Bridgepoint Search gives you access to A-level talent – right when you need it – while freeing you to focus on running your business and completing projects on time.

When you implement a contingent staffing model, your providers already understand your business environment and the types of talent you need. As a result, they’re better able to quickly supply the skilled, qualified people you need to ramp-up for big projects and meet tight deadlines.

Maximizing performance. An effective contingent staffing model allows you to seamlessly flex your workforce in response to your organization’s changing needs: Access specialized experts to train your core employees, speed adoption of new technologies or business practices, or complete special projects.

In comparison retained staffing arrangements are the absolute best way to drastically reduce individual cost per hire over time.  Under retained staffing models, the employer receives unlimited hiring capacity for a set amount of time at by hiring objectives.

Retained staffing arrangements provide deeply discounted rates on the basis that recruiting investments are made at the beginning of the recruiting process vs after the role has been filled.  This type of arrangement is best suited for organizations with ongoing hiring needs looking to avoid the costs associated with a full time internal recruiter.


Honestly, the potential benefits of contingent and retained staffing for your organization are too numerous to cover in a single post – we’ve only scratched the surface here! 


So if you’re ready to explore your options, you need sound advice from an experienced staffing expert, or you’re evaluating new suppliers for your existing staffing program, let’s talk.

With national reach and a range of flexible professional staffing and search options, Bridgepoint Search can help you take a strategic approach to staffing – and drastically reduce your cost per hire.


Contact me today to schedule a complimentary workforce analysis.


Dave Drohan

Bridgepoint Search