How to Decide Between Retained Executive Search and Contingency Recruiting

When it comes to recruiting the best talent for your organization, most recruiting agencies use either retained or contingent approaches. But what’s the difference, and which is better for your business? Here’s what to know.

Retained Search: Much like working with a lawyer, retained search means an organization pays a fee up front to secure the services of the firm. This gives recruiters time to focus on understanding the needs of the business, the skills needed for the position, and the focus and freedom to find the best fit. After a thorough market search, recruiters are able to put forth four or five of the best qualified candidates who can be vetted through tailored interviews. Many businesses find retained search works best for roles that require a certain amount of experience or talent that may require a longer search to find, such as executive and leadership positions.

Contingent Search: Contingent search means recruiters only receive payment for their work once the position they’re recruiting for has been filled. Organizations who use contingent search can still expect thorough screening of quality candidates but may see more resumes, as recruiters are motivated to help businesses fill the role quickly. Some businesses choose to work with one recruiting agency exclusively with predetermined time frames for filling the position, which can offer more security to agencies – and better service for businesses. When working with a recruiter on a contingency basis, it’s important to establish upfront that the firm has recruited for similar positions in the past and has the right network in place to find qualified talent.

Our job is to always ask “what’s best for your business?” Ultimately, the method you decide to move forward with may depend on what positions you’re trying to fill, and because our firm offers both retained and contingency recruiting, your businesses always has the flexibility to choose what works best for them. Contact us today to let us help you get your search started.   

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