The Retained Search Advantage

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The term retained search is also known as executive recruiting or headhunting. It refers to an engaged arrangement where the hiring entity contracts with an individual or agency to identify a candidate(s) with specific skills and experiences.

Retained search fees are an established percentage of the beginning salary of the hired individual. Typically, the company pays 10-20% of the total fee upfront, with the remainder due upon a successful placement. While this may seem like a drawback upfront (vs. a contingent search where fees aren’t due until the hire happens), a retained search has many advantages.


What are the Advantages of a Retained Search?


  1. When a company utilizes a retained search recruiter (as opposed to using internal resources) it affords access to specialists with broad networks and an extensive candidate database. As a result, it saves time and money and frees up corporate HR professionals to focus on internal duties.
  2. Retained search allows sufficient time to seek a broader range of individuals, including those currently employed. This increases the probability of finding a candidate with the unique skill set the employer desires.
  3. There’s a lower risk of bad hires because the retained recruiter is focused on finding the right candidate, while a contingent recruiter may rush to present a candidate to secure the search fee.
  4. Retained search recruiters offer customized searches for positions that require unique or hard-to-find skills. These recruiters will take the necessary time to understand the job prerequisites and conduct focused searches to find the ideal candidate.
  5. Candidate vetting is a time-consuming, expensive process. Retained search recruiters conduct strenuous background checks to depict the applicant’s overall qualifications accurately.
  6. Retained search recruiters provide market intelligence regarding salaries, benefits, competitive influences, candidates’ financial demands and timelines, and other helpful information to assist the employer in offering the most attractive package to the top candidate(s).
  7. If requested, retained search recruiters can present multiple highly qualified candidates who match the employer’s skill, experience, and cultural requirements. This gives the hiring manager options to identify the individual who is the best overall fit for the organization.
  8. A retained search recruiter serves as a single point of contact when an employer has multiple position needs. In addition, the recruiter will provide regular status updates on all jobs, optimizing the hiring manager’s time spent.
  9. When companies utilize a retained search firm for multiple positions, an ongoing relationship is established. As a result, the recruiter becomes familiar with a company’s culture, policies, and unique needs, allowing them to streamline the recruiting process.

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