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What is a Sole Supplier Arrangement for a Recruitment Agency?

A sole supplier arrangement is one where a recruitment agency handles all the aspects of recruitment for a specific vacancy or length of time. Firms can benefit from being able to hand over the entire recruitment process from start to finish, with the exception of the interview itself.

Where you see this term in adverts (usually a sole supplier recruitment agency will put “please note that this ad is being handled on an exclusive basis by Blogs and Blogs and all third party applications will be forwarded through to them”) it means that a recruitment agent is handling the post as a sole supplier. Some agencies charge an upfront fee plus a success fee, others charge only on placement but with advertising paid up front.

I once handled a Bermudan job on a sole supplier arrangement and fielded in the region of 200 telephone calls in a week. I had over 40 applications to put forward from about 75 CVs received. Lots of applicants – can’t think why! The workload can be tremendous, depending on what type of vacancy you are advertising, and having a consultant deal with it can also result in extra applications, as approaches can be made anonymously.

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at