The market is hot! Demand for management to executive level leadership continues to rise. Winning the war for talent is getting harder and harder. One of the best tools companies have at their disposal to fill key positions is engaging a retained search firm. A retained search firm is one that engages exclusively with a client company to fill one or more searches, where the company pays portions of the recruiting fee up front. Retained search is more expensive than contingency search, but offers many advantages over it. Some reasons to hire a retained search firm include:
- You are making a critical hire – retained search is often the best solution if you are making a key hire. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the hire is an “executive” level. If you are looking for a key person, hiring a retained search firm will give you the best access to the highest quality candidate pool.
- You’ve looked using other resources – we are approached all the time by companies that have been looking for a new hire through job postings, internal recruiters, external contingency firms, employee referrals, etc., and come up with nothing. If a search is dragging on unsuccessfully, a retained search firm may be the “fresh coat of paint” the search needs. When a prospect is contacted by a retained search firm, it sends the message that the company is serious about hiring. A retained firm will identify a specific pool of candidates, and go out into the market with a compelling and consistent message.
- You need a great person quickly – retained search firms often have subject matter experts with years of experience in a specific discipline. They’ll know your market, competitors, and job function requirements inside and out. When you want to hire the best possible person in the shortest amount of time, retained search is the best place to start.
- Cost benefit analysis – with most retained search firms charging 30% or more of first year total compensation (base plus bonus), it may sound like an expensive way to go. However, we routinely see clients that let critical openings go unfilled for months on end. When you add up the cost of contractors, loss of productivity and time, etc., a retained search firm can actually save you money! Getting a top notch candidate quickly avoids problems piling up, and can also begin to add to the company bottom line!
- You need confidentiality – if you are replacing a current employee, retained search is the way to go. A retained search firm can discretely target a small, highly qualified candidate pool for a confidential replacement. They can help “tell the story” from a 3rd party perspective about why the person is being replaced, and allay fears or concerns for potential candidates.