8 August 2023 | by Louise Archer

Where the competition for top-tier talent intensifies, understanding the strategies that streamline the recruitment process becomes pivotal. One such tool is retained search. This blog post answers the question; what is Retained Search, the specifics of this method, how it functions, and why it stands out as a crucial asset in the hiring process.

What is Retained Search?

Retained search, often synonymous with executive search, is a recruitment method specifically designed for challenging hiring roles. This includes senior and niche skillsets, business-critical and confidential assignments.

One of the components of Retained Search is a financial commitment from the client on the commencement of the project. This then allows Search Consultants, often termed Headhunters, to apply a robust search process and importantly commit to working with the client until a result is reached.

This methodology exceeds the typical transactional nature of contingent recruitment, establishing instead a partnership that begins at the outset of the search process.

The essence of a retained search lies in its rigorous process: it’s not about merely filling a role; it’s about the client being confident that they are making the best hire from all the talent available to them at the time.

How Retained Search Works:

A headhunting firm is involved in every step of the search process. They usually act as an extension of or in place of the client’s talent acquisition teams, working collaboratively with stakeholders to understand the company’s needs, culture, and goals.

  1. Defining Brief Requirements:

    The retained search firm works alongside the stakeholders to clearly outline the role profile, requirements, responsibilities, and expectations associated with the position. This ensures the client, the search firm and the prospective candidates are on the same page right from the start.

  2. Strategic Advice:

    the search firm provides strategic advice on presenting the role in an appealing yet factual manner to prospective candidates. They use their industry expertise and knowledge to advise the client on salary benchmarks, hiring trends, and marketing strategies that effectively attract the right talent.

  3. Talent Pooling:

    Once the role and scope have been confirmed, the search firm every candidate across the defined location who meets the criteria by utilising their extensive network and resources.

  4. Transparency:

    Unlike contingent recruitment, search firms share their progress with their clients throughout the project. They can also collect other data points that clients may be interested in for example, salary insights and company perception.

  5. Longlist:

    From the talent pool a longlist of candidates emerges. These are candidates that meet the criteria, are interested in the opportunity and have been assessed against the brief.

  6. Shortlist:

    From the longlist of candidates the search firm and client will jointly agree on the list of candidates to invite to interview.

  7. Assessment and Final Selection:

    Finally, the firm undertakes a rigorous vetting process to ensure that the shortlisted candidates align with the client’s requirements and values. They assist in the negotiation process and guide both parties until the successful candidate is onboarded.

The Retained Search Advantage:

Retained search stands out from other recruitment methods due to its comprehensive nature, ensuring companies save valuable time and resources while securing the best talent. This approach guarantees a dedicated, exhaustive search, and offers a wider reach, finding candidates that might not be accessible through traditional hiring methods. With a retained search, you gain a partner committed to your success—an essential asset in today’s environment.

Retained search is a robust, strategic approach designed to mitigate against the things that can go wrong during the recruitment process. Its inherent partnership nature and comprehensive process ensure that a successful result is as close to being guaranteed as possible.

Now you have an understanding of what retained search actually is, learn the intricate details of the retained search process in our post here.

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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