The Difference Between Retained and Contingency Search for International Executives: An Expert's Perspective

When it comes to finding the right executive for a company, there are two main methods of recruitment: retained and contingency search. Retained search involves the payment of a fee in advance and results in an exhaustive and exhaustive mapping of the market to find the best talent, not just the talent available. Contingency recruiters, on the other hand, are paid at the end of the search process, when the client decides to hire one of the candidates proposed by the recruiter. The retained search is more exclusive in every sense of the word; it shows candidates that the company is meticulous in hiring the best talent possible and, to do so, it uses the most professional talent acquisition specialist.

Contingency recruiting, however, can be problematic as several recruiters can approach a candidate for the same position, diluting the employer's image and making him seem desperate and unfocused. The retained search involves a fee that is paid as a monthly advance based on the scope, size, and estimated duration of the search process. The search company will operate exclusively and will only submit candidates to that organization, acting as an extension of its brand. Executive search focuses on high-level executive positions and board director roles.

In the retained search, the hiring company is paid regardless of whether it is successful in its search or not. In contrast, contingent search is only paid when they are successful and the last designated step in the executive search process, that of incorporating the executive, is completed. At first glance, it seems to be simply a question of how the recruiter is paid. A contingency recruiter earns a fee only when the organization hires someone.

A hired search consultant, on the other hand, is paid in advance to perform a search, which usually results in a hiring but not always. Both retained and contingent hiring models rely on extensive experience to find highly qualified candidates for their clients. While there is less use of retained search models among mid-level management positions than among executive or high-level positions, the difference between them is not the caliber of recruiters but rather the scope of work performed and nature of relationship once the search is complete. When an organization needs to find the best candidate for a leadership position at local or national level, especially in today's ultra-competitive labor market, searching for hired executives is best option. The attention to detail and exclusivity and completeness of maintained search model are ideal for larger companies that want to find optimal leader for senior management or management level position. The main difference between contingency searches and retained searches is fee structure.

In contingency search, company is only paid if it succeeds in placing candidate. In retained search, client pays company an advance payment which covers cost of hiring, selecting and conducting interviews. The hired company then works exclusively with customer to fill position. With retained executive search you'll establish exclusive partnership with recruiter who will map market for you. Because these positions are important to business and require specialized skills companies tend to turn to more specialized executive recruiters.

The way executive recruiters go to market and find candidates is very different and can be completely adapted to what you're looking for. In its simplest form, contingent recruitment involves “pay based on success” model in which hiring partner will only receive payment once candidate has started working in organization. Contingent recruiters also work non-exclusively meaning clients can work with other recruiters. Retained search occurs when you partner with executive search firm or interim hiring agency on permanent basis to complete complex or specialized mandate. As mentioned earlier contingent recruitment is one of most popular services so recruiters still rely on establishing good relationships with high-quality talent to ensure successful partnerships with their clients. You may have wondered what difference is between executive search and contingency recruitment. Working with several recruiters on contingency hiring basis can sometimes allow you to tap into larger talent pool and bring several different perspectives to roundup. Contingency recruiters target active job applicants using traditional hiring channels including databases and job boards.

In search for contract executives hiring company is paid based on an advance for hiring company's executives. On other hand executive search consultants work on finding candidates for high-level executive positions. For strategically important positions that may be difficult to fill executive search is often preferred method of hiring. In conclusion both retained and contingent hiring models rely on extensive experience to find highly qualified candidates for their clients. As an expert in international executive recruitment, I can confidently say that retained searches are often preferred over contingency searches when it comes to finding top-tier talent for leadership roles. Retained searches provide an exclusive partnership between recruiter and client that allows for a comprehensive mapping of potential candidates while also ensuring that only top-tier talent is presented as potential hires.

Additionally, retained searches provide an advance payment that covers all costs associated with recruiting while also providing assurance that even if no hire is made at least some compensation will be received by both parties involved. Contingent searches are often used when searching for mid-level management positions or contract executives due to their “pay based on success” model which allows companies to tap into larger talent pools while also allowing them to work with multiple recruiters at once if desired. However, this model does come with some drawbacks such as diluting employer image if multiple recruiters approach a candidate for same position or lack of assurance that any payment will be received if no hire is made. In conclusion, both retained and contingent searches have their advantages depending on what type of position you are looking to fill as well as what type of relationship you would like to have with your recruiter once your hire has been made. Ultimately though it comes down to understanding your needs as well as those of your potential hire so that you can make an informed decision about which type of recruitment model best suits your needs.

Damian Clarke
Damian Clarke

Passionate coffee maven. Evil tv enthusiast. Wannabe food fan. Infuriatingly humble travel fanatic. Internet evangelist.