When organizations consider engaging an external firm to assist with placing new executive talent, they must decide between retained executive search and contingency recruiting. There are distinct advantages in utilizing a retained executive search firm.
Retained Executive Search
A retained executive search firm is engaged in all aspects of the search process, starting with defining a tailor-made search strategy all the way through candidate on-boarding. Retained executive search firms often continue consultation and follow-up months after the hire, since their success is based on the impact and long-term commitment of the executive hired.
These firms conduct the search exclusively—no other recruitment agencies will take part—so that it will be very client-focused with intense investment of resources to find the right candidate. Retained search firms work very closely with each client, and will take their time and use an agreed-upon methodology to find the best person for the job. The process is rigorous with a shortlist from 4 to 6 quality prospects developed after an exhaustive national sourcing process, beginning with upwards of 300 initial targets.
While retained search may be perceived as expensive, the key is that retained search firms are looking for the most qualified candidate. On average, a retained placement ends up being a better fit in their position and ultimately stays in the role longer than with any other type of recruiting scenario. Companies will most often request a retained search when they are looking to fill an executive level position, and sometimes when all other less expensive—and ineffective—search options have been exhausted.
It is also important to note that 75% of professionals are called passive candidates—those that may be open to switching jobs, but are not actively looking. Only about 25% of the total workforce is actively looking for a new career opportunity. Most forms of recruiting are searching that smaller pool of candidates, while retained search firms aggressively seek out the ideal candidate for the role that must be filled, and utilize their skills, abilities, and methodologies to identify candidates in the much larger 75% passive pool who may not be looking but are open.
A report conducted by the AESC, a professional association representing retained executive search consulting firms worldwide, shows that the executive search profession is in high demand and increasing every year. This 2014 State of the Retained Executive Search Industry report states, “in recent years, in spite of adverse economic forces following the world financial crisis, demand for high level executive search has remained resilient, and demand is roughly back to the all-time peak of 2008. While statistics on the industry are hard to assemble because of its very fragmented nature, estimates suggest that, at its peak, the search profession worldwide generated around $11 billion in revenues. As of December 2013, revenues are estimated at around $10.57 billion.”
Finding the Right Retained Executive Search Firm
When partnering with the right executive search firm, a company will experience an increased return on investment, and a newly placed executive will begin performing on or above expectations in a short amount of time. Executives Unlimited has successfully researched and placed executive level contacts for the past 15 years.
A recent industry trends report provided qualitative information about the best recruiters. Respondents were asked to write in their ideas about the greatest qualities of a successful recruiter, and the most dominant answer was “persistence.” This was followed by “the ability to listen” and, supporting the importance of holding on against all odds, “tenacity.” These are the exact traits of the professionals at Executives Unlimited who also deliver on the following commitments to their clients.
- A highly professional, transparent and confidential search process, with clear expectations set through a complete description of how the search will be conducted, fees, and policies.
- Experience, tenure, and the ability to educate key constituents.
- Intense due diligence and business acumen, including thorough client interviews to understand requirements, extensive industry and target candidate research.
- Vast industry knowledge and experience learned over years of recruiting candidates at the executive level.
- A focus on the details with well-defined processes, documentation, follow through, confidentiality, and constant communication with client organizations to ensure the best candidate fit moving forward.
For more than 15 years, Executives Unlimited has been committed to helping our clients develop their strategic executive workforce planning. For information about our services, please call us at (866) 957-4466 or contact us online today.