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Why Retained Search is the Better Option for Your Company

By Patrick Nilles

In the competitive world of talent acquisition, the debate between retained search and contingent search is a long-standing one. While both methods have their merits, we believe that retained search offers significant advantages over its contingent counterpart. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the key differences between the two approaches and provide a clear case for why retained search is the superior choice for your company. Let's explore the various aspects of retained and contingent search, and discover why TriSearch is the best retained search firm to partner with.

Understanding Retained and Contingent Search

Before diving into the advantages of retained search, let's first understand the fundamental differences between retained and contingent search models.

Retained Search

In a retained search model, a company enters into an exclusive partnership with a search firm, which is paid upfront to conduct a thorough and dedicated search for top-level talent. The search firm is committed to identifying, screening, and presenting a shortlist of highly qualified candidates that fit the client's specific requirements. This model is typically used for filling senior-level positions and C-suite roles, where the stakes are high, and finding the right candidate is crucial. TriSearch, however, is unique in that it offers the same elite level of service for all echelons within an organization.

Contingent Search

In a contingent search model, the search firm is only paid upon the successful placement of a candidate. Multiple firms may be working on the same position simultaneously, creating a competitive environment that can lead to a more rushed search process. Contingent search is often used for filling lower to mid-level positions, where the focus is more on speed and volume rather than an in-depth analysis of the candidate pool.

Commitment and Accountability

One of the key advantages of retained search is the level of commitment and accountability it offers to clients. Since the search firm is paid upfront, they are highly motivated to deliver the best possible results and fulfill their obligations to the client.

· Dedicated and Tailored Approach

Retained search firms provide a comprehensive, dedicated, and tailored approach to the search process. They take the time to understand the client's organizational culture, industry trends, and specific requirements, ensuring a highly targeted and efficient search.

· Regular Reporting and Update

Retained search firms also offer regular reporting and updates on the search progress, keeping the client informed and engaged throughout the entire process. This level of transparency and communication is crucial for maintaining trust and fostering a strong partnership between the client and the search firm.

Quality Over Quantity

Retained search firms prioritize quality over quantity, ensuring that the candidates they present are not only highly qualified but also the best fit for the client's organization.

· Comprehensive Market Mapping

Retained search firms conduct a full market mapping exercise, identifying top talent within the industry and creating a pool of potential candidates. This ensures that the search is thorough and exhaustive, leading to a more diverse and highly qualified selection of candidates.

· In-Depth Vetting and Screening

Retained search firms also perform in-depth vetting and screening of candidates, including face-to-face/virtual interviews and thorough background checks. This ensures that the candidates presented to the client are of the highest quality and have the necessary skills and experience to excel in the role.

Access to Passive Candidates

Retained search firms have the ability to tap into the passive candidate market, giving clients access to top talent that may not be actively seeking new opportunities.

· Networking and Industry Connections

Leveraging their extensive industry connections and networking capabilities, retained search firms can identify and engage with passive candidates who may be open to new opportunities if the right offer comes along.

· Attracting Top Level Talent

The involvement of a retained search firm in the recruitment process sends a message to potential candidates that the client is serious about finding the best talent for their organization. This can be particularly appealing to passive candidates, who may be more inclined to consider a new opportunity if it is presented to them by a reputable retained search firm.

Cost Efficiency and Value for Money

While the upfront cost of a retained search may appear higher than that of a contingent search, the overall value for money and return on investment can be significantly greater.

· Comparable Costs

The total costs of retained and contingent searches are often comparable, with the main difference being in how the costs are invoiced. Retained search fees are paid upfront and credited towards the final placement fee, whereas contingent search fees are only incurred upon successful placement.

· Higher Success Rate

Retained search firms have a higher success rate in filling senior-level positions, as they are more committed and focused on finding the right candidate. This means that the client is more likely to secure top talent in a timely manner, ultimately saving time and resources in the long run.

Confidentiality and Discretion

Retained search firms can offer a high level of confidentiality and discretion, which is particularly important when filling sensitive or high-profile positions.

· Confidential Searches

Retained search firms are able to conduct confidential searches, ensuring that sensitive information is protected and not disclosed to external parties until necessary.

· Managing Sensitive Information

If a search requires the handling of sensitive information, the deep partnership and trust established with a retained search firm are invaluable in ensuring that the process is carried out with the utmost discretion and professionalism.

Industry Expertise and Insight

Retained search firms often have deep industry expertise and insight, allowing them to provide valuable guidance and advice to clients throughout the search process.

· Market Knowledge

Retained search firms have extensive knowledge of the market and industry trends, ensuring that clients are well-informed and able to make strategic decisions regarding their talent acquisition efforts.

· Competitive Intelligence

Through their industry connections and research capabilities, retained search firms can provide clients with valuable competitive intelligence, helping them to better understand the talent landscape and make more informed decisions.

Long-Term Partnership and Support

Retained search firms are invested in the long-term success of their clients, offering ongoing partnership and support beyond the initial search process.

· Executive Onboarding and Integration

Many retained search firms, like TriSearch, offer executive onboarding and integration services to ensure that the newly hired executive is set up for success in their new role.

· Continued Relationship and Advice

Retained search firms often maintain relationships with their clients long after the search is completed, offering ongoing advice and support as needed.

TriSearch: Ranked Best in America by Forbes and Top 30 by Hunt Scanlon

· Proven Track Record

TriSearch has a proven track record of success in placing top talent in senior-level positions across a variety of industries. Our clients trust us to deliver the best results, and we consistently exceed their expectations.

· Customized Search Strategy

At TriSearch, we understand that every client is unique, and we tailor our search strategy accordingly. Our customized approach ensures that we find the perfect candidate for your organization, taking into account your specific requirements and objectives.

· Achievements and Strengths

TriSearch has a long list of achievements and strengths that set us apart from other search firms. Most recently, TriSearch was named by Forbes as America's Best Professional Recruiter and America's Best Executive Recruiter in 2023. TriSearch is also ranked Top 30 by Hunt Scanlon in 2023. Our dedication to providing the highest level of service, combined with our deep industry knowledge and extensive network of connections, ensures that we are the best retained search partner for your organization.

Conclusion: Retained Search is the Superior Choice

In conclusion, retained search offers numerous advantages over contingent search, making it the superior choice for organizations seeking top talent for senior-level positions. The commitment, accountability, quality, access to passive candidates, cost efficiency, confidentiality, industry expertise, and long-term partnership offered by retained search firms like TriSearch make it the ideal solution for your company's talent acquisition needs. With the help of TriSearch, you can be confident that you are partnering with the best retained search firm, ensuring the success of your organization now and in the future.

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