Retained vs. Contingent

When selecting a search firm to partner with, it’s important to understand the two most notable types of relationships: Contingent and Retained.

The contingent search model is one in which the client pays the search fee upon successful completion of a search assignment. An upfront fee is not required, nor is there an obligation to hire a candidate. It is not exclusive.

The retained search model is one in which the client and search firm both have financial responsibility, the search firm is exclusive and the search is a priority. At Nealy Pierce, the retained model is our specialty and is highly recommended, it promotes an all-inclusive and synergistic partnership that serves everyone. This allows enough time to properly identify, attract, qualify, and commit the very best talent available for your opportunity(s) in the marketplace.

When considering the differences between the two, consider the following:

  • How you want your story to be told
  • Time frame
  • Level of attention
  • Level of commitment

Contingency Search: Our Methodology

Fees for contingent searches are typically a percentage of the hired candidate’s annual compensation. If you feel strongly that the contingency search is best for you and your company, begin the process only when you are absolutely certain you are ready to fill the position. Once we receive all pertinent information from our clients and deem the search to be of good potential, you will receive a high level of attention. Because there isn’t a commitment, if we feel along the way that we are not a priority, or are lacking in communication from you, we will move on to another search so feedback is absolutely necessary. In this model we’re merely making you aware of talent, helping to facilitate the process but not exclusively representing your firm.

Retained Search: Our Methodology

The retained method is most effective for an organization that has an urgent and critical need that requires immediate attention or when you’ve tried everything else and nothing is working.

Once retained for a search assignment, we meet with the executives responsible for the hiring decision to discuss the specifics of the job. During our information gathering session, we develop an understanding of the clientís needs and position requirements, the goals and expectations, and the reporting and working relationships. We also gain an understanding of the personalities and backgrounds of the client’s senior executives, for we have found that the better we know a company and its culture, the more effective we become as consultants.

What facilitates our search process, and in part makes us more effective than other search firms, is our ability to identify and access talent. We cultivate and accumulate.

Following our initial visit we follow this six-step process:

  1. Research
    • Compile a list of target organizations, potential candidates, and sources.
    • Search our firm’s database for: candidates, directories of companies, associations, reference materials, and related prior assignments for qualified prospects.
    • Review the requirements of the position with corporate employees and center-of-influence to identify potential candidates and sources.
  2. Recruit Candidates
    • Initiate our direct mail, call, and referral campaign to targeted sources and candidates.
    • Conduct initial screening.
    • Gather candidate resumes and background information.
  3. Interview Candidates
    • Follow EEOC guidelines in the interview and candidate selection process.
    • Interview candidates who have the best credentials and “fit”, evaluating their suitability and competence in relation to the position specifications.
  4. Present Candidates to Client
    • Submit pertinent information and an interview report on each final candidate.
    • Arrange for the interview process and participate in the evaluation of the candidates to the extent we mutually deem appropriate.
  5. Negotiate and Extend Offer
    • Assist in the final negotiations, as appropriate, with the final selection and offer.
    • Serve as an intermediary to help work out details which may have a significant bearing on the acceptance of an offer.
  6. Follow-up with Client and New Employee
    • Stay in contact with the successful candidate during transition period, provide assistance and support as client and new employee adapt to the new relationship.