The Benefits of Hiring through Retained Search

The Benefits of Retained Search

Searching for the right talent can prove to be a difficult task, especially when recruiting for niche or executive roles. We’ve outlined how to best utilize your time with a recruitment firm and turn your challenges into opportunities.

Help with the hiring process

As the hiring manager responsible for filling a niche position or an executive level role you have likely asked yourself this question: "What type of service do I need?" If you have a niche role for an unusual skill set, a position that requires very specific qualifications or an executive role, retained search is your best option. Retained Search (a type of executive search) allows a recruitment specialist to focus and prioritize your role. 

How does Retained Search differ from Executive Hire?

Recruitment agencies use the term "retained search" to refer to a specific service in their suite of offerings. Other terms include "executive search", "engaged search" or "executive hire" but all have the same meaning. Retained search is often referred to as "headhunting" and describes a proactive recruiting method.  This type of retained recruitment search is a partnership between the client and the recruiter, resulting in a shortlisting of the best and most qualified candidates.

Contingent vs Retained

The difference between Contingent and Retained Search is with retained search the hiring manager pays an up-front fee in order to have the search conducted, allowing for a more focused recruitment search. A contingent search typically works under a 'No Win, No Fee' method. The contingency is the firm is not paid until after the candidate starts their new role. Often, there is competition with other recruitment firms. Contingent search may engage multiple recruitment firms, usually with strict submission deadlines. The hiring manager only pays the recruitment firm that places the candidate. So when should you choose to use retained search?

The reality of a recruitment firm

When an agency is given a new role to fill they must prioritize it. There is not enough time to treat every new role as the #1 priority. For a contingent search you might have given your role to multiple recruiting agencies. Those agencies want to fill that role as fast as they possibly can. It becomes a race to the finish line because the agency that makes the placement is the only firm that is paid. This can often mean submission speed takes priority over quality of candidates. Retained or executive search gives you access to a team committed to giving your role priority. 

Types of roles filled

Retained or executive search usually includes roles at the Director, Manager and C-suite level. 

Some examples of roles filled with a Retained Search are as follows:

  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CIO
  • VP of Operations
  • VP of Engineering
  • VP of Construction
  • Operations and Services Manager
  • Director of Operations


Quality over quantity

Do you require a vast amount of candidates? Or do you only need the best candidates?  Using multiple recruitment firms means juggling multiple candidates (and remembering which candidate comes from which firm). Retained search gives you a single point of contact for the entire recruitment process. You are kept informed at every step, so you can keep track of the activity, allowing for complete control of the process. Instead of being overwhelmed by multiple candidates from multiple sources, you now have a streamlined and time-effective recruitment process.

Retained search does require an upfront financial investment in the recruitment process. But because retained search is so much more time-efficient, you can focus on other tasks, while we work on the recruitment process for you.  As for the upfront fee?  The myth that retained search is more costly than contingent search doesn't apply here.  The initial payment is deducted from your invoice.  With Brunel, you get higher quality candidates and, in our experience, more satisfied hiring managers.

Contact us today for information on how Brunel’s retained search will get you the talent you need.


Start your retained search today with one of our recruitment consultants.