The Case for Exclusivity in Recruitment


19 Feb 2018

The Case for Exclusivity in Recruitment

As recruiters at Penna, we generally ask for and frequently achieve exclusivity when we go into the market to identify and secure interims for our clients. We only work permanent assignments on a retained and exclusive basis. This article seeks to demonstrate the benefits of exclusivity to all parties – clients, candidates AND consultants!

Client’s perspective

Exclusivity means investment and commitment. It means regular contact with the recruiter and it also encourages deep thought into the key deliverables of the role and the business case surround the vacancy or skills gap. It means economy of time and by default an economy of scale, a better quality relationship by using one provider to fill a gap. It means trust and confidence in the ability of the recruiter to whom you are entrusting your brand identity and it demonstrates commitment from the client. 

The emphasis of the relationship is on delivery. If you don't really think a recruiter can deliver why would you entrust them with your vacancy in the first instance?

If the role is confidential (which frequently happens for various reasons), then by working exclusively with a recruiter, the client will ensure that a very limited number of suitable candidates are explored, which is the only way to contain confidential information and keep it away from your competitors, especially when you are approaching their key staff.

Recruiter’s perspective

Exclusivity demonstrates that the recruiter gained commitment and investment from the client. Often this is earned via the recruiter’s hard work and dedicated approach to delivery. It means the client will invest time providing the recruiter with a well thought out brief and a platform for challenge and discussion, creating the opportunity to ensure that the brief is robust enough to stand up in the market and attract the right candidates.

It means that the client acknowledges that this is a commercial relationship and appreciates the partnership element involved. It means that the recruiter has been entrusted with representing the client's brand and that the client appreciates that good candidate care and experience impacts greatly on their brand identity. Most of all, it means that the consultant has to deliver, especially if you wish to secure further work. It is easier to encourage a candidate into a process if a client has demonstrated commitment to the market.

Candidate’s perspective

Exclusivity means you are working with the business’s recruiter of choice. The recruiter is knowledgeable and informed about their client’s business and they are motivated to provide you with a high quality candidate experience. The recruiter will be familiar with the business and be able to answer most questions or get access to the client really quickly if they cannot.     

It means you will be communicated with carefully at every step of the process. It also means you have been singled out, rather than being just one of many hopefuls in a queue!  It may mean that even if you are unsuccessful, the client may remember you for future work as your CV will stand out as someone that was carefully selected as having a good fit with the client, both skills and personality wise. It means that if successful, you will have a good recruiter behind you to ensure you have the smoothest landing into your new role and that you are introduced to ready-made networks that can support you.

Exclusivity is a traditional and powerful way of working. It’s a way of harmonising the dynamic between client, recruiter and candidate making the relationship solid and steadfast from every angle. Exclusivity is a way of building on solid foundations that will last and confirming to the candidate a real commitment from the client.  

For all your interim needs, please contact me at

Karen Camilleri
Lead Consultant Commerce and Industry, Executive Interim