Retained vs Contingent Search Firms

Retained Search

1. We represent one client only, operating on a relationship basis.
2. Conducts assignments on an exclusive basis only, so there is not a mixed message in the market place.
3. Professional staff geared toward a long-term business relationship.
4. Usually works at higher organizational levels.
5. Meetings with client in the beginning in order to thoroughly understand the organization, history, platform, and position before we network with key talent and our contacts in the marketplace helps to speed up the search process.
6. Focuses recruiting efforts on a very targeted range of potential candidates, most of whom are not in active job market. Through our contacts and skill-sets, we motivate them to visit with you.
7. Search consultant personally handles only 3-5 assignments, on average, at any given time.
8. Search consultant may invest 40-50 hours or more per month per client assignment.
9. Usually recommends 3-4 qualified candidates to client within 30 days. Search firms personally interview every prospective candidate for the position, evaluating their performance history and their “fit” with the client.
10. Requires minimal client time investment, as search firms screen non-qualified candidates out of the process.
11. Reputable firms offer a professional guarantee and commitment to thorough and ethical practices and results.
12. Fees based on percentage of candidate’s compensation. Since a retainer is paid, we stay with the search until it is completed.

Contingent Search

1. Can and frequently represents individuals seeking placement, presenting them to multiple clients and operating on a per transaction basis.
2. Are usually in competition with other similar firms or agencies for the placement, sending a mixed message to the marketplace.
3. Professional staff tends to be compensated on commissions for placements made.
4. Usually works at lower to middle organizational levels.
5. Tends to spend less time on initial research and specification; may not even meet company management and/or deal solely on telephone.
6. Focuses primarily on applicants/candidates actively seeking new employment. Placement oriented.
7. Works with multitude of open job orders, presenting to whoever is hiring.
8. Without a guarantee of payment for services performed, cannot afford to invest as much time.
9. Known to submit substantially more paperwork to increase probability of a placement, since they typically do not personally interview the prospective candidates.
10. Requires considerably more time in screening, interviewing, and evaluating.
11. Reputable firms under no obligations to guarantee or produce results due to fee arrangement (paid on placement only.)
12. Similar fee structure, with no obligation to complete the search.