explore the essentials of a recruitment contract

Recruiting Contracts: Why You Need One (Plus 3 Free Templates)

Access our free recruiting contract templates, explore the essentials of a recruitment contract, and learn why you need one.

Recruiting Contracts: Why You Need One (Plus 3 Free Templates)

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Contracts play a crucial role in the context of business operations. These legal agreements define relationships with external parties, including recruitment agencies.

If your talent acquisition strategy involves working with a recruitment agency, a written recruitment contract becomes essential. It outlines the terms and conditions of your collaboration, ensuring a smooth and productive business relationship.

In this article, we will explore what a recruiting contract is, why it is important, and what it should include. We will also provide a valuable resource: three sample recruiting contract templates you can use.

What Is a Recruiting Contract?

A recruiting contract is a legal agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the relationship between a recruiter and a client (i.e., your company). The recruiter may be a recruiting agency or an independent recruiter (an independent contractor).

The recruitment contract outlines vital aspects for a smooth relationship. It covers the scope of services, fees, hiring process, termination, confidentiality, non-solicitation, and dispute resolution, ensuring a solid foundation for successful collaboration between recruiter and client.

Remote worker ready to sign a recruiting contract at home

Why Should You Use a Recruiting Contract?

A recruiting contract is crucial for multiple reasons. 

It protects your interests by defining the scope of services, fees, and termination provisions.

It also ensures a smooth hiring process by outlining the recruiter's steps and your decision-making authority. 

With a well-defined contract in place, both parties can collaborate transparently and effectively, fostering a strong working relationship.

In other words, by signing a recruitment agreement, you can:

  • Establish clear expectations and responsibilities
  • Provide a legal framework for the working relationship
  • Define the scope of services and deliverables
  • Outline the payment terms and fee structure
  • Ensure confidentiality and protection of sensitive information
  • Set provisions for termination and dispute resolution
  • Promote transparency and accountability

What Should a Recruiting Contract Include?

Aim to include relevant information while keeping your document clear and concise. A recent survey revealed that 43% of participants admitted to only skim-reading contracts before signing. By having an easy-to-read contract, you increase the chance of it being read thoroughly, thereby decreasing the likelihood of breaches. 

Ensure you prioritize timely and essential details and avoid complex language and unnecessary fluff to ensure clarity and informed decision-making.

Your contract should include:

Scope of services

When drafting a recruiting contract, it is essential to clearly define the range of services that the recruiter will provide. These services may include candidate sourcing, resume screening, and interview coordination all the way to help with onboarding and retention. By specifying these key aspects, both the recruiter and the client can establish clear expectations and ensure a streamlined hiring process.

Fees

Specify the fees and calculation methods. The most common type of fee is a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the candidate's salary that is paid to the recruiter if the candidate is hired. 

Hiring process

It's important to outline the key steps involved in the hiring process. This includes how the agency will present suitable candidates to you, how candidates will be evaluated, and who has the authority to make final decisions. Clearly defining these steps ensures a structured and organized approach to hiring, whether we are talking about remote, hybrid, or in-person work settings.

Not sure what a good hiring process should look like? Read our article The Remote Hiring Process: Steps, Tips, and Strategies for Success to learn more.

Term of contract

Clearly specify the period of time the agreement will remain in effect. By specifying deadlines and expectations, the contract helps ensure the recruitment agency meets the agreed-upon timeline, promoting efficiency and timely candidate placements. This clause will also ensure you don’t enter into a long-term commitment unless you agree.

Keep in mind, though, that there may need to be some flexibility in the amount of time stipulated for finding hires, as the average time to hire can fluctuate by 1–2 weeks depending on the job role. 

Termination provisions

Include provisions that outline the circumstances under which the contract can be terminated. These provisions may cover situations such as breach of contract terms or failure to hire the candidate found. By including clear termination provisions, both parties are protected and have a predefined course of action in case the need to end the contract arises.

Confidentiality

A confidentiality clause prevents unauthorized disclosure of candidate details, business strategies, and financial information. By including a strong confidentiality clause, both parties can trust their proprietary data will remain protected throughout their working relationship and after.

Non-solicitation

Recruiting contracts usually have a non-solicitation clause to protect the recruitment agency’s interests. This clause prohibits you from hiring or soliciting candidates presented by the agency or recruiter with their consent. This clause ensures fairness, protects the recruiter's investment, and fosters a mutually beneficial relationship.

Dispute resolution

Include provisions in the recruiting contract for dispute resolution, specifying methods like mediation or arbitration. Clearly defining the process helps avoid costly litigation, promoting efficient and amicable solutions for potential conflicts between the parties involved.

Employer holding a tablet, shaking hands with his remote employee

FAQs

What are the different types of recruiting contracts?

Contingency contracts and retainer contracts are the two most common types.

  • Contingency contracts: The recruiter is only paid if the candidate is hired; the fee is typically based on a percentage of the candidate’s salary. 
  • Retainer contracts: The recruiter earns a monthly fee regardless of the hiring outcome.

What are the fees for recruiting contracts?

Recruiting fees are generally a percentage of the candidate’s annual salary, ranging from 15% to 33%. The average fee is around 25%. Fees can be negotiated—some agencies may be willing to lower their percentage for companies hiring for multiple positions. Hard-to-fill positions may result in fees at the higher end of the scale.

How do you terminate a recruiting contract?

Termination terms will be stated in the recruiting contract. Typically, both parties can terminate the contract with a notice period, subject to specific conditions. This ensures flexibility in adjusting the recruitment strategy and allows contract recruiters and agency recruiters to adapt to changing circumstances.

What are the legal considerations for recruiting contracts?

Before signing a recruiting agreement, it's essential to seek legal review. Legal considerations include non-discrimination, payment terms, confidentiality, termination conditions, liability, and background checks. Thorough consideration of all legal aspects is crucial for both the client and the recruiting firm to ensure compliance and protect interests.

Choose Your Free Recruitment Contract Template

Below are three sample templates* of recruiting contracts that can serve as a starting point for your contract. Remember to consult with a lawyer or other legal professional to customize them according to your specific needs and legal requirements.

Sample Template #1

Recruiting Contract

This Recruiting Contract ("Contract") is entered into between [Client Company], hereinafter referred to as the "Client," and [Recruiting Agency], hereinafter referred to as the "Agency," collectively referred to as the "Parties."

1. Scope of Services

The Agency agrees to provide recruiting and staffing services to the Client. The services include, but are not limited to, sourcing, screening, and presenting potential candidates for employment opportunities specified by the Client.

2. Fees

The Client shall compensate the Agency for its services as follows:

The Agency's fees for successful placements will be a percentage of the candidate's annual salary, as agreed upon by both Parties.

The Client shall also reimburse the Agency for reasonable and documented expenses incurred in the recruitment process, subject to prior approval by the Client.

3. Hiring Process

The Agency will present candidates to the Client for consideration. The Client will evaluate the candidates and make the final hiring decisions. The Client shall promptly inform the Agency of its hiring decisions and provide feedback on each candidate presented.

4. Term of Contract

This Contract shall commence on [Contract Start Date] and shall remain in effect until [Contract End Date] unless terminated earlier as per the provisions outlined in Section 5.

5. Termination Provisions

Either Party may terminate this Contract in the following circumstances:

Either Party may terminate this Contract with written notice of [X] days to the other Party for any reason.

In the event of a material breach by either Party, the non-breaching Party may terminate this Contract with immediate effect upon written notice.

6. Confidentiality

Both Parties agree to maintain the confidentiality of any proprietary or confidential information shared during the course of this Contract. This includes, but is not limited to, candidate details, business strategies, and financial information. The Parties shall not disclose such information to any third party without prior written consent unless required by law.

7. Non-Solicitation

During the term of this Contract and for a period of [X] months thereafter, the Client agrees not to directly or indirectly solicit, hire, or engage the services of any candidates presented by the Agency without the Agency's prior written consent.

8. Dispute Resolution

In the event of any dispute arising from or relating to this Contract, the Parties shall attempt to resolve it amicably through good-faith negotiations. If the dispute cannot be resolved within [X] days, either Party may initiate mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods before pursuing any legal remedies.

By signing below, the Parties acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions set forth in this Recruiting Contract.

[Client Company]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

[Recruiting Agency]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

Employee signing a recruitment contract in the office

Sample Template #2

Recruiting Contract

This Recruiting Contract ("Contract") is entered into between [Client Company], hereinafter referred to as the "Client," and [Recruiting Agency], hereinafter referred to as the "Agency," collectively referred to as the "Parties."

1. Services Provided

The Agency agrees to provide recruitment and staffing services to the Client. The specific services and deliverables will be outlined in separate agreements or work orders as needed.

2. Payment and Fees

The Client agrees to pay the Agency for its services based on the mutually agreed-upon fee structure. Payment terms and fee structure shall be specified in the separate agreement or work order.

3. Term and Termination

This Contract shall commence on [Contract Start Date] and will remain in effect until terminated by either Party. Either Party may terminate this Contract by providing [X] days' written notice to the other Party.

4. Confidentiality

Both Parties agree to treat all information exchanged during the course of this Contract as confidential. This includes, but is not limited to, candidate information, business strategies, and trade secrets. The Parties shall take reasonable measures to safeguard the confidentiality of such information.

5. Non-Solicitation

During the term of this Contract and for a period of [X] months thereafter, the Client agrees not to directly or indirectly solicit, hire, or engage the services of any candidates presented by the Agency without the Agency's prior written consent.

6. Independent Contractor Relationship

The Agency shall perform its services as an independent contractor and not as an employee or agent of the Client. This Contract does not create an employer–employee relationship between the Parties.

7. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

This Contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of [Jurisdiction]. Any disputes arising from or relating to this Contract shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [Jurisdiction].

8. Entire Agreement

This Contract constitutes the entire agreement between the Parties and supersedes any prior understandings or agreements, whether written or verbal, relating to the subject matter herein.

By signing below, the Parties acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions set forth in this Recruiting Contract.

[Client Company]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

[Recruiting Agency]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

Sample Template #3

Recruiting Contract

This Recruiting Contract ("Contract") is entered into between [Client Company], hereinafter referred to as the "Client," and [Recruiting Agency], hereinafter referred to as the "Agency," collectively referred to as the "Parties."

1. Engagement and Scope of Services

The Agency agrees to provide recruiting and staffing services to the Client. The specific scope of services—including the positions to be filled, candidate qualifications, and any additional requirements—will be detailed in separate agreements or work orders.

2. Fees and Payment Terms

The Client agrees to compensate the Agency for its services as outlined in the separate fee schedule or agreement. Payment terms, including invoicing and payment due dates, shall be mutually agreed upon between the Parties.

3. Term and Termination

This Contract shall be effective as of [Contract Start Date] and shall continue until the completion of the services or until terminated by either Party. Either Party may terminate this Contract by providing written notice of [X] days to the other Party.

4. Confidentiality and Nondisclosure

Both Parties agree to maintain the confidentiality of any proprietary or sensitive information disclosed during the course of this Contract. The Parties shall not disclose such information to any third party without prior written consent, except as required by law.

5. Intellectual Property

Any intellectual property created or developed by the Agency in the course of providing services under this Contract shall be the property of the Client. The Agency agrees to assign all rights, title, and interest in such intellectual property to the Client.

6. Dispute Resolution

In the event of any dispute arising out of or relating to this Contract, the Parties shall first attempt to resolve the dispute through good-faith negotiations. If the dispute cannot be resolved amicably, the Parties agree to pursue mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods before resorting to litigation.

7. Limitation of Liability

To the maximum extent permitted by law, neither Party shall be liable to the other for any indirect, incidental, consequential, or punitive damages arising out of or related to this Contract, regardless of the cause of action.

8. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

This Contract shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of [Jurisdiction]. Any legal actions or proceedings arising out of or in connection with this Contract shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of [Jurisdiction].

By signing below, the Parties acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions set forth in this Recruiting Contract.

[Client Company]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

[Recruiting Agency]

Authorized Signature: ______________________

Date: ______________________

*These templates are only samples and should not be considered legal advice. We recommend you consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with your local laws and regulations.

Remote contractor smiling at the camera after signing a recruiting contract

Final Thoughts

Creating a comprehensive recruitment agreement is vital for successful hiring and protecting the interests of both recruiters and your company. An efficient contract promotes transparency and cultivates a friendly, mutually beneficial relationship throughout the hiring process.

So what have we learned?

  • The contract should clearly cover the scope of services, fees, hiring process, termination provisions, confidentiality, non-solicitation, and dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • By using a well-drafted recruiting contract, both parties can protect their interests and ensure transparency in the hiring and recruitment process.
  • It is important to seek legal services when drafting or signing a recruiting contract to protect your interests and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

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