The differences between Retained Executive Search and Contingency Fee Recruiting go beyond the way fees are paid. There are qualitative differences between the two.
1. The retained agreement brings the search consultant into the client organization for a specific consulting assignment, more an "on-staff" rather than an "outsider" relationship.
2. The consulting nature of the relationship enables the consultant to do a much more in-depth preparation of the search project in terms of:
-developing position descriptions and personnel specifications from which to conduct the search; - developing a thorough understanding of the nature and the scope of the responsibilities of the position; - getting a better feel for the corporate "culture" of the client organization, and the personality of the candidate that is apt to be most suitable.
3. The assurance of payment for time and effort expended enables the consultant to spend a high amount of quality time on this one assignment, rather than having to divide his efforts among several "job orders" in the hope that a placement will be made in the face of open competition from other recruiters and internal client sources.
The retained search assures several advantages to the client:
1. The client benefits from on outside review by an experienced personnel professional of the parameters for the position. A job description and a description of the ideal candidate are developed out of that review, then reviewed and approved by the client.
2. The consultant takes on the search project as a high priority assignment. In retained search, the consultant normally only handles 2 to 4 assignments at any given time. This permits the consultant to devote far more time to the recruiting, qualifying and interviewing phases of the assignment. In the contingency recruiting dynamic, emphasis is on rapid presentation of candidates based on preliminary review of qualifications.
The search effort is specifically aimed at discovering qualified candidates who are presently employed and not actively seeking a change, but who my be enticed by a more attractive opportunity. In other words, the effort is to get the best person for the job, not just the best who is already available.
3. The client gets immediate and reliable feed-back from the recruiting process. Should factors become apparent that make the search unlikely to be successful the client is advised early on, and adjustments made to the process.
4. Under the retained search arrangement, the analysis of the candidate's background and professional qualifications will be more comprehensive than that which is normally done in reference checks in a contingency recruiting assignment.
5. By the time the candidates are presented to the client, they are thoroughly screened, some references are checked, and the client is presented with a written Candidate Evaluation. This Evaluation details:
-the candidate's employment history;
-the references given by the candidate and those developed by the consultant; and
-a summary of the candidate's suitability based on the consultant's knowledge of the client organization, and his appraisal of the candidate's qualifications, background, personality, etc.