An Exclusive Search is almost the same as a contingency search, the difference being in an exclusive search assignment the employer is not using multiple recruitment firms, they are just using one, sometimes for a stated period of time. The fee arrangement remains contingent upon a successful hire.
Beyond a retained search, the exclusive search will often have better results. With this arrangement, the recruitment firm has a much greater commitment from the employer so it makes sense for the recruitment firm to devote the time and resources to a search when they have a greater chance of filling it.
Perception is Reality
When an employer has multiple recruitment firms conducting the same search there will be cross-over. Potential candidates often will be contacted by more than one recruiter. This gives a potential candidate the thought that perhaps it’s a bad opportunity or employer because so many recruiters are trying to fill it. We have experienced this often enough, we’ve had candidates say “what’s wrong with this company, I’ve had three recruiters call me about this”. The company could be an awesome employer but when multiple recruiters are reaching out to potential candidates it can appear that no one wants to work for the company and that’s why they have enlisted so many recruiters.