8 August 2023 | by Louise Archer

So, you’ve read our post What is Retained Search? and are now contemplating making the shift from contingent to retained, but you know little about the actual retained search process. Let us break it down for you. Below, we unravel the intricacies of the retained search model and shed light on each step to ensure a successful and strategic approach to securing top-tier talent that aligns with your client’s vision and objectives.

The Retained Search Process

Before we begin to look at the individual steps of the search, it’s imperative to recognise a pivotal distinction that differentiates retained search firms from contingent recruiters. This distinction lies in their seamless collaboration with clients throughout the entirety of the search process. With this in mind, let’s now delve into the step-by-step process of a retained search:

  1. Initial Consultation: A Strong Foundation for Success in Retained Search

The retained search process commences with a crucial initial consultation between the recruiting firm and the client organisation. This collaborative discussion lays the groundwork for a targeted and effective search, as your main aim is to gain deep insights into the client’s unique requirements, corporate culture, and desired position qualifications.

  1. Defining the Position Profile: Tailoring the Search for Optimal Results

Crafting a detailed position profile is the next step in the retained search process. This document serves as a guiding compass throughout the search, outlining the responsibilities, qualifications, and expectations for the ideal candidate. A well-defined position profile ensures that all stakeholders share a clear vision of the perfect fit, streamlining the search for the best talent.

  1. Research and Sourcing: Unveiling Hidden Gems in the Retained Search Process

Thorough research and sourcing are vital components of the retained search process and are key to distinguishing from the contingent way of working. Recruiters leverage their extensive network and utilise cutting-edge online databases (check out the Benefits of Executive Search Software) to identify potential candidates within the client’s industry and related fields. By engaging in a discreet outreach to passive candidates, executive search recruiters create a robust candidate pool that aligns closely with the specified position requirements.

  1. Candidate Assessment and Evaluation: Identifying the Best-fit Talent

Candidate assessment and evaluation play a pivotal role in the retained search process. Through meticulous interviews, competency-based assessments and reference checks, recruiters gauge candidates’ suitability. This comprehensive evaluation ensures that only the most qualified and culturally aligned candidates progress to the next stage.

  1. Presentation to the Client: The Longlist

The longlist consists of qualified and interested candidates whom the recruiter has assessed against the job criteria. Not only does the longlist guide the client into selecting the shortlist, it also provides insight into the talent market. Collaborative discussion with the client about the longlist is vital for the shortlist selection.

  1. Presentation to the Client continued: The Shortlist

Now, the retained search process reaches a critical juncture as the recruiter presents a carefully curated shortlist of top candidates to the client. Each candidate’s qualifications and valuable insights gleaned from assessments and interviews are provided to assist the client’s decision-making process, ensuring a well-informed choice. By engaging in thorough discussions about both the short and longlists, the client gains a comprehensive view of the available options, enabling them to select the candidate who will not only excel in their role but also seamlessly integrate into the company’s ethos. This comprehensive approach ensures that the retained search process results in the selection of an executive who is poised to make a lasting impact on the organisation’s trajectory.

  1. Client Interviews and Selection: Making Informed Decisions

The client conducts in-depth interviews with the shortlisted candidates and as a trusted intermediary, the recruiting firm is on hand to facilitate communication and feedback between both parties.

  1. Offer and Negotiation: Sealing the Deal

The retained search process continues with offer presentation and negotiation. The recruiter plays a pivotal role in this phase, skillfully managing negotiations to secure a mutually beneficial agreement on compensation, benefits, relocation, and other crucial factors.

  1. Onboarding and Integration: Ensuring a Seamless Transition

The retained search process extends into the onboarding and integration phase, ensuring a smooth transition for the new hire. The recruiting firm maintains ongoing contact with the candidate and the client during this period, mitigating potential challenges and fostering a successful start.

These are the fundamentals, but how do you implement the strategy?

The retained search process represents a meticulously structured methodology which, when executed correctly, is a robust and repeatable tool for securing the best talent and driving long-term success for organisations. If you want to learn how to successfully implement the above model to optimise your retained search efforts, win repeat revenue and scale your business, chat to us today.

Louise Archer

Louise Archer

Louise has worked on the front-line of recruitment for twenty years. Having been a contingent recruiter before transitioning to retained she understands the struggles that consultants and companies face, operating on a contingent basis. Louise started training Retained Search four years ago, and since then has taught hundreds of recruiters to move to Retained.

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