If you are unsure of what type of search firm to use for an open position, a retained firm may be your best option. Here are some things to consider:
Hard to Fill or Niche Specific Searches
For these types of roles, a retained firm’s ability to conduct thorough
research will be the key. A retained search professional will better understand
your competitors and be able to identify the top players in the space by using
research to find very specific skills or attributes. The candidate pool is
likely to be very small and/or geographically dispersed and the targeted
approach that retained search firms utilize will be able to find talent faster
and more effectively.
Higher End/ Executive Level Searches
Talent with base salaries above $200k are typically more familiar
with the different types of executive search. Many will ask if the recruiter
has been retained as it directly indicates a company’s level of commitment to
finding the best talent. Some will not engage contingent recruiters at all as
they know their reputation is married with that of the recruiter.
Seeking the Best Candidates
The best candidates want to know that the company recruiting them
values the open position and that the C level executives or Board Members value
both the position and the process. The search process is indicative of the
importance that company places on the role and the talent being recruited. The
process from start to finish needs to be handled strategically and with careful
Concern for Employer Brand
Your Employer Brand can suffer from the bad impression that is
left when multiple recruiters have attempted to recruit the same candidate for
an opening. Engaging multiple recruiters on an executive level talent search
makes the decision maker look unfocused and can leave a damaging impression; if
the company is not loyal to their search partner, they may likely be disloyal
to their future employees as well.
Your company’s reputation in your market is affected by your
employer brand. Some companies are under the impression that using multiple
contingent recruiters on a search is a good philosophy, mistakenly believing
that having multiple talent sources will result in a larger pool of talent from
which to draw. In truth, the opposite is often true; your talent search partners
are a part of your marketing department and low-level inexpert recruiters
crossing over each other and connecting with the same talent will leave a bad
impression of your company and drive talent away from your open position.
It makes more sense to commit to a relationship with one firm that
truly understands your company and will stay with you throughout the process to
ensure the position gets filled with the best candidate. This also ensures that
the talent market being pursued for the opportunity is being treated
professionally and ethically, further enhancing your employer brand in the
marketplace. How candidates will be treated by your company is represented by
the approach you take to hire them. “A” list Talent that has been won over by
your employer brand, commitment to finding the best talent via retained search
and a smooth onboarding process are much more likely to refer other “A” players
to your company.
Retained Executive Search
What is a Retained Search? Basically, a trusted relationship on
a partner basis. The recruiter is being hired and paid as an outside extension
of a client’s internal team. With this type of arrangement, recruiters are
constructing a dedicated search and process to find the right candidate. The
focus is on quality for the position. The typical candidates are not looking
for a position.
What are the benefits using a Retained approach?
- When you are committed in filling the position
- Not bombarded with resumes
- Position is assigned to a team
- Maintain Confidentiality of company if needed
- Completeness…don’t stop
- Breaks the fee into installments
- Quality over quantity
- Accountability from both sides
- Exclusivity of Candidate
- One-Year replacement guarantee
Another difference has to do with exclusivity. Retained search
consultants spend a lot of time sourcing candidates who are happy and stable
with their employers and not actively seeking other employment.
They evaluate candidates for a client and will never present
candidates to more than one client at a time. Therefore, the client will almost
never find himself in a bidding competition for a desirable candidate.
Knox & Associates, Inc. is prepared to perform at the
highest level, identifying top tier talent for your C-level needs on an
We look forward to being of service accordingly.
Dennis J. Knox, President