Retained Search

There are distinct differences between Retained Executive Search firms and Contingency Search Firms. This chart is provided to serve as an educational guide for understanding those differences should you have a need to use outside resources for talent acquisition.

Contingency Agencies Versus Retained Search Firms


Contingency Agencies

Retained Firms

Frequently represent individuals seeking placement.

Represent companies/employers only.

Are usually in competition with other similar firms or agencies for the placement.

Conduct search assignments on an exclusive contract basis only.

Professional staff is usually compensated on commission for placements made.

Professional staff is usually compensated on salary and bonus with incentives for business development.

Usually search for lower level organizational positions including but not restricted to individual placements.

Usually works at middle-to-senior-management organizational levels.

Spend time identifying a high volume of candidates for the initial search.

Must know client organization and position responsibility/requirements thoroughly before initiating search.

Focus primarily on applicants/candidates actively seeking employment, recruiting is placement oriented. Candidates likely "self-select" opportunities.

Recruiting efforts are focused on a targeted range of potential candidates, most of whom are not actively in the job market; recruiting is process and result oriented.

Recruiter works concurrently with a multitude of open job orders.

The consultant handles 3-5 assignments at any given time.

With no guarantee of payment for services performed, the recruiter cannot afford to invest much time in a search beyond basic recruiting and submission of resumes.

Demand Flow style of recruiting. Search team typically invests 80-160 hours per month per client assignment in recruiting, evaluation, screening, and client interaction.

Works well when employer seeks to review a large number of resumes and conduct multiple interviews without pre-screening. Will present most candidates within 1-2 weeks of obtaining job order, may submit substantial paperwork to increase probability of a placement.

Usually recommends 3-5 pre-screened candidates to client company in 4-8 weeks. Candidate background is verified prior to submission. Continues to work until the position is satisfactorily filled. Focus is on assessing "fit" and skill.

Contingency search requires considerable client human resource involvement in screening, interviewing and evaluating candidates presented.

Requires minimal Human Resources and General Management time investment until interview process begins.

Under no obligation to guarantee or produce results due to contingency fee arrangement (paid on placement only).

Some firms offer a professional guarantee of candidate success and are committed to thorough and ethical practices and results - including an "off limits" policy (never to recruit a candidate placed).

Fees range from 20-33% of compensation and are paid by company on placement (or shortly thereafter). Does not charge for expenses.

Fees range from 28-35% of compensation (or flat fee) plus reasonable expenses and are paid by company in installments. Large firms may charge a "set-up" fee for new clients, and expenses range from 10% to 50% of fees billed.

Decision to pay a fee is usually made by Human Resources and is budgetary motivated.

Authorization for search is usually made by company General Manager and Human Resources Management.

About Us | Search Process | Retained Search | Other Services | Executive Team | Contact Us

Copyright © 2017