When Is the Right Time for a Retained Search?

Today I wanted to answer some questions I get when it comes to the difference between a retained and contingent search. When should you use each one?

The answer we hear from many other recruiters is to only use a retained search for high-level executive positions. Frankly, I’ve found that this is not always the case.

I believe you want to look at using a retained search anytime you want to exhaust a search.It’s a position that’s tough to fill and it’s imperative that you find the right person for that role, so a retained search is probably the best way to go. With our retained searches, we tap into the 21 recruiters we have working specifically in healthcare. We do a full nationwide search that allows us to identify several candidates to present.

Having an investment from our client up front allows us the time and resources to perform a strong and exhaustive search.

Another question we often get is whether candidates are better on a retained search versus a contingent search. At the end of the day, it’s the same candidates out there, but with a retained search, you will find that the candidates are vetted much better. With a retained search, you can really take the time to make sure you’re exhausting the search and identifying the candidates.

“Retained searches usually provide a more exhaustive search.”

In a contingent model, usually, the first candidate to raise his or her hand is the first candidate presented. When a contingent recruiter is working on several searches, you’ll find that they find one candidate, then move on to the next. You really don’t get an exhaustive approach.

Finally, another one of the most common questions we’re asked by candidates is whether it truly matters to them (as a candidate) if the recruiter is working on a contingent or retained search. My answer would be yes. The candidate is much more vested in presenting that candidate to their client. They want to be sure they’re doing it in all the appropriate ways.

We put together a file for a candidate, as well as perform psychometric testing, which gives you a much fuller story than a black and white resume. That way, when you meet with that client, they know who you are and have a better idea of how you can be an asset to their team. You’ll also be given much more information by the recruiter.

Hopefully, that gives you a better idea of some answers to common questions regarding retained and contingent searches. If you have any questions for us about retention, hiring, or career development, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help.