Retained Search

5 Reasons Why Retained Search Has the Premier Status Among All Other Searches


When recruiting next-level talent to take your company to new levels of success, there are so many places to look it can feel overwhelming. In addition to leaning on your professional network to start your search, you can call on headhunting agencies, your internal HR team, and recruitment firms.


Retained Search

However, one method goes above and beyond the rest: retained search. It offers advantages that can be used in partnership to enhance your current recruitment processes. . Let’s explore some key reasons why retained search is your best bet for finding the perfect candidate.



Retained Search vs. Contingent Search


When it comes to recruitment firms, there are two main types of searches available:


  • Retained search
  • Contingent search

Retained search is best for sourcing both top-level executive and highly niche positions. 


Contingent search is typically used for sourcing employees in less specific roles. This type of search is best used in competitive markets where recruiters can look for a wide variety of candidates who may not be the exact fit but still loosely meet the job description’s criteria.


The main difference between these two types of searches is how the recruiter’s fee is collected. 


  • In a contingent search, the recruiter is not paid until the candidate is hired. 
  • With a retained search, you pay a percentage of the fee upfront and the other portion when you extend the candidate a job offer.

Contingent searches are typically quicker because they rely on technology to fill your open job positions. These can be more cost-effective for entry-level positions but riskier for executive positions. There is usually a set timeframe an agency is willing to work on a role when a payment isn’t guaranteed, which is the case in a contingent search. 


A retained search firm will work with you over a more extended timeframe to find the perfect fit. These types of searches  will have more — and higher-level — resources. And these recruiters typically have established relationships with the caliber of talent you’re looking to hire. 



Why Retained Search Is Revered


Retained searches can be the difference between finding a great match paired with a seamless recruiting process  or a potentially drawn out process added onto the usual workload and maintaining your day to day.   Candidates must be skilled, and they also need to be a good fit overall for your organization. Let’s examine how and why retained search is considered the premier search type for sourcing every talent level.



The Benefits Far Outweigh the Costs


Your retained search will require an upfront fee. This is usually a percentage of the hired individual’s salary, half paid upon retention and the other half once an offer is extended.


The final terms of the contract can vary. For example, an executive search for a mid-level manager for a small office might have different terms than a CFO for a large state university.


This contract puts the hiring firm’s reputation on the line, meaning recruiters are highly motivated to deliver quality results. Although it may take some time to vet the candidates, the opportunity cost will be much lower than other search methods.


The network of top talent the hiring firm can call on should be unparalleled. Although your in-house HR team most likely has a firm understanding of company culture, they may not have the reach you would get from using a recruiter for a retained search. In cases like these, your internal team can work in close partnership with a retained search firm to bridge the gap in talent and find the best person for your role. 


Most retained search firms have a background of successfully placing candidates. This means they have already put in the groundwork to build relationships with many of the top executives in your field. Hiring a firm with a solid network of professionals in your industry will dramatically reduce hiring time and cost. The firm can bring the best talent directly to your in-house HR team to evaluate further.



You’ll Have a Partner With Your Best Interests in Mind


Contingent searches focus on time to fill, while retained searches focus on time to fill and quality of match.


A retained search is more of a 50/50 partnership than a transactional service. There’s buy in from the hiring team and the search firm. And because they have already placed many of the most niche job types in your industry, you can gain further insight from them on how to develop strategic planning for your company in a way that’s attractive to the top 1% of talent.


With retained search, your company’s goals become the hiring firm’s goals. This is a win/win partnership that’s more like an extension of your HR department than a quick post to a job board.


Additionally, having a trusted partner helps you communicate your needs more effectively. And because this is an exclusive relationship, you won’t have to worry about your recruiter referring talent to your competition.



Quality Takes Time


Searching through a sea of seemingly eligible candidates can be a long and arduous task. Without a recruiter on retainer with the resources, industry knowledge, and relationship with your company to bridge the gap with potential talent, you could be taking time away from building your business to instead sift through resumes. 


A recruiter can build a rapport with multiple candidates full-time and assess whether they’ll be the right fit. This is especially important when you need to fill a highly niche role.A retained recruiter sorts through the initial talent for you, bringing you only the best fit saving you time and allowing you to focus your attention on mission critical items.


Executive-level searches should receive their due. Executive search firms work closely with your hiring team to understand the unique details of the position. Instead of posting the job online and hoping the perfect candidate stumbles across it, the firm will call upon its resources to narrow down the field of candidates to send for interviews. This means you will be interviewing only the highest-quality applicants. And your chosen hire can hit the ground running. You end up shortening the hiring process because you aren’t waiting for someone to come along. Instead, the search firm goes out and finds candidates who may have never come across your posting. 


If you have to hire four executives before you find the right one, it will lower morale within your organization and require even more time and money. Sourcing quality talent the first time will save you many headaches. It also gives you time to do some succession planning.



Real-Time Updates


By working with a retained search firm, you can get market intelligence that extends beyond your prospective new hires. Your recruiter can give you real-time insights into the labor market and industry trends.


Recruiters the landscape and are more attuned to the candidates motivations. They build relationships with both you and the candidate to ensure that the goals on both sides are aligned.  


The hiring firm will also let you know when to update your job descriptions, interview protocols, or onboarding plans to be more attractive to candidates. Every job title differs when deciding how to best accommodate your potential new hire. Sometimes how a company presents itself to candidates can stand out even more than salary.


Your competitors are always going to offer trendy new perks to entice applicants. Work-life balance, four-day work weeks, and paid time off are just a few things they might offer to stand out. Hiring a recruiter for a retained search means you’ll be to assess what benefits are possible and more relevant for your ideal candidates.

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