Unlocking Success: The Advantages of Retained Executive Search for your Organisation

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Andy Raymond.



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In the realm of talent acquisition, the perception of Executive Search varies among individuals and decision-makers, often leading to misconceptions about its distinction from contingent recruitment.

Executive search, (commonly referred to as 'headhunting') is a specialist recruitment service whereby organisations invest to identify and recruit highly qualified candidates for senior-level and executive roles, such as Technical Director or Managing Director jobs. Discover why partnering with a business like Redline Executive simplifies the complexity and ensures optimal outcomes.

Understanding recruitment dynamics

While many people understand the concept of a “recruiter”, the terminology surrounding recruitment, such as Retained Search vs. Contingent Search, or non-exclusive vs. exclusive, can be confusing. In reality, the diverse disciplines and methodologies within the industry yield distinctly differing results! Redline Executive simplifies the complexity and ensures optimal outcomes.

The pitfalls of non-exclusive relationships

While a non-exclusive relationship with multiple “recruiters” may seem much more efficient and economical on the surface as opposed to paying for an upfront retainer to a single executive search firm. It often leads to unforeseen challenges.

Sometimes that “deal” you thought you were getting can turn out to be more of an “ordeal”. In reality, the diverse disciplines and methodologies within the industry yield distinct results. So if you are the HR Director, the MD, or the CEO, and the Board has asked you to start researching options for finding the right talent for that critical opening you have, the question is just where do you start? Redline Executive are here to help and below are some answers to some key questions you should understand before deciding on the type of recruitment process selected to fill a key role in your organisation.

Redline Exective's approach involves a detailed understanding of your organisation's culture and goals. By retaining our services, the early stages of the search are dedicated to comprehending your unique needs, ensuring a strategic focus on solving challenges, and introducing precisely aligned talent.

What’s the advantage of hiring a retained executive search firm, why not use a recruiter with no upfront fee?

By nature, contingent recruiters (professionals who work without a retainer and are paid 100% of the fee upon placement) are not structured to be loyal to a client long-term or even to the end of a recruitment drive. As the contingent search model is based on speed, they focus primarily on the front end of the process, and they often “get going” (as in away) when the going gets tough.

Contingent recruiters usually obtain a cursory understanding of the role through a job description (and often simply copy your description and re-post it under their name) and attempt to quickly find resumes that match keywords rather than real requirements. Their loyalty is relative to the assignment; as they’re taking the most risk in essentially working for free, their primary goal is to fill jobs as quickly as possible and move on, not taking the time to truly understand your business and who represents a good fit. As the search becomes more involved, many contingent recruiters have moved on to “greener pastures”.

Exclusive agreements and search quality. Why not hire multiple recruiters to work on a search?

Contrary to common belief, engaging multiple recruiters for a single position may hinder rather than enhance results. Firstly, more experienced retained search professionals will not agree to engage in a free-for-all arrangement. That automatically limits your choices. Experienced retained search professionals bring a consultative approach, providing valuable insight beyond a simple list of candidates.

Contingent recruiters must focus on how fast they can provide resumes that might get them a placement, not on how they can find high-quality talent that fits the stringent standards of the role you’re seeking to fill. As the initial “thrill of the hunt” wears off, they will quickly move on to other projects and you may find yourself with multiple recruiting contracts and no viable candidates. Or worse, dozens of irrelevant resumes from candidates who will all invariably be described as “premier candidate or the best in the market”.

The value of retained search?

Investing in a retained executive search with Redline goes beyond securing candidates; it is an investment in a meticulous methodology/process Our consultative approach provides a comprehensive shortlist dossier, including market insights, candidate resumes, competency interview notes, reference checks, psychometric evaluations, and executive onboarding.

Retained Executive Search firms offer a unique perspective on your organisation and hiring process, contributing to continuous improvements. The focus on finding the right talent ensures not only a successful placement but also long-term profitability for your organisation. 

Guarantee and quality assurance 

While recruitment contracts commonly offer guarantees, the distinction lies in the methodology. The difference between contingent recruiters and retained executive consultants is you are paying for one candidate, while retained executive search firms provide a process improvement that can be leveraged repeatably, offering long-term value. Not only that but you will receive a shortlist of candidates so should have more than one individual to select for each position should you require.

Retained executive search focuses on the fit and then sets out in search of the talent, not the other way around. In the end, the financial commitment works out equally as both contingent and retained executive search firms base their fees on a percentage of the candidate’s salary. The difference is that the consultative aspect and diligent research that retained executive search firms provide enable your organisation to save time and headaches by avoiding pitfalls and delays often associated with contingent search. 

Beyond a database/network of executive candidates? 

Every experienced retained executive search firm will have a detailed list of talent and sources they can draw on in the course of a search process. But your organisation has specific needs and aspects that are different from even your closest competitor. It’s a common delusion that the perfect candidate is sitting in a database somewhere. Redline Executive emphasises the importance of seeking out passive talent to your organisation's unique needs. A retained executive search firm's focus on skills and culture fit ensures a holistic approach to talent acquisition.

Connect with Redline Executive

At Redline Executive we enable high-technology and electronics companies to build world-class teams, providing exceptional talent to generate shareholder value. We understand the differing talent needs. where success requires being in tune with the marketplace both within the UK and the wider global market. 

If you are currently seeking additional talent or would like to conduct confidential research or a market map of your sector, please contact Andy Raymond Director at Redline Executive for a confidential and informative chat or email ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com or call 01582 878907

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