When it comes to Executive Search, why choose Retained over Contingent? Euan Bodie tells us the pros and cons of both in our latest blog.

We are people specialists operating across 30 countries (to date!) and have earned the trust of some of the UK’s most diverse and established brands that continue to work with us. We focus on professional delivery with personality – ultimately, our team delivers. But our team never offers a one size fits all approach.

A standardised approach rarely reaps the rewards in executive search; put simply, we don’t provide one way to seek talent for a business purely because no two companies are the same, no candidates are alike, and no two roles seek the same expertise.

We focus on a consultative and collaborative approach to placing candidates in senior and board-level roles, so our talent search will mostly focus on a “retained” rather than a contingent basis. While the choice between the two methods depends on the business’s specific needs and circumstances, they both focus on seeking the best talent and outcomes.

A retained executive search is often the most successful because it offers:

  • Dedicated focus: a dedicated team of professionals who focus solely on finding the best candidate for the position. This allows for a comprehensive search that covers a broader range of candidates than other types of searches.
  • Expertise and experience: They have a deep understanding of the industry and the skills, experience, and personality traits required for the position.
  • Customised approach: a tailored search strategy to meet the specific needs of each client.
  • High-quality candidates: Retained search firms are known for attracting high-quality candidates who may not be actively looking for a new job. They have a vast network of contacts and a proven track record of identifying top talent.
  • Reduced risk: Retained search firms assume a significant amount of risk in the search process. They invest a significant amount of time and resources upfront and only get paid if they are successful in placing a candidate in the position. This ensures that the search is conducted with the highest level of professionalism and care. The search firm will then work exclusively on the search until it finds a suitable candidate, and the fee is typically a percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary.
  • Candidate-driven market: we are in a candidate-driven market, so often a retained search will reap the best rewards due to the client showing a more focused commitment to the search.

However, a contingent search can at times:

  • Provide a cost-effective and no-risk option: the search firm is only paid upon successful placement, it can at times, offer a more affordable option for businesses.
  • Offer a wider range of candidates: which can increase the chances of finding the right fit for the executive position and can sometimes result in a faster recruitment process.
  • Be more competitive: multiple recruitment agencies may be working on the same executive search project, which can create competition among them to identify and present the best candidates to the client company.

Ultimately, the choice between contingent and retained executive search depends on the client’s needs, goals, and resources. Our point of difference is market knowledge, excellent delivery, and unrivalled levels of client service. Our process is streamlined, straightforward, innovative, honest, and approachable. We help hire the dream team for our clients, and we thrive on this challenge, whether retained or contingent; we strive to seek the best talent every time for your business.

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