What is a retained executive search firm?

What Is A Retained Executive Search Firm?

Is your HR department looking to hire an executive recruiter skilled at finding and closing top talent? Often, high-end executive search firms get a retainer, an up-front fee, in order to carry out a specialized search for senior level executive positions such as corporate officers. Additionally, top retained search firms are also tasked with placing competitive positions with top talent in fields like programming and data analysis. Most often these searches are for positions that the salary is upwards for $150,000, but can go much higher than that. These positions are found at the highest level of companies and organizations and require the best talent as their decisions are deeply influential across a variety important company factors.

What Is A Retained Executive Search Firm?


How Does Retained Executive Recruiting Work?

A retained executive search means the recruiter or headhunters charges an upfront sum in order to carry out the executive search. Additionally, retained recruiters operate on an exclusive basis, which means the job is exclusive to that specific retained executive search firm. This has its pros and cons, and its best to understand a variety of payment options before committing to the one you may later regret.

Always remember, retained recruiters are working for the organization that’s looking to fill a position, and not for the potential candidates, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes– from large international firms to smaller boutique that specializes in specific industries. You’ll need to do some homework to find the firm that offers the best fit for your executive search needs. The benefit to smaller niche centered firms is that you’ll have a recruiter specializing in the area of your search, which can be a time saver in the long run.


What’s The Value?

Executive searches are often conducted at a level which demands recruiters, headhunters or search firms have a vast network of relationships and connections that have been built and carefully cultivated over the span of many years. An executive recruiter already understands various demands and requirements of senior-level executive positions and can use their network to recruit only the top candidates, regardless if they’re currently employed.

When dealing exclusively with one retained search firm for executive searches, the client generally is able to develop a more meaningful working relationship with the recruiter and receives a much higher level of service. Furthermore, the client/recruiter become familiar with one another, perfect their communication and working relationship, making future searches easier and more manageable.  


Fee Schedule

When working with retained recruiters, it’s important to understand the fee schedule. There are two options: the first is a fixed fee established upon signing an agreement with the retained executive search firm. The most typical pay structure includes ⅓ of the sum upon beginning the search, another ⅓ 30 days after the first, and the final ⅓ is typically paid after the finalized placement of the candidate. It’s best to do your research and to fully understand which fee schedule your company is comfortable with. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to navigate the waters of finding the right retained search firm.


To Sum Up…

When searching for the right executive search firm be sure to do your research and fully understand all the options available to you. You will need to carefully consider recommendations and be sure the executive search firm you approach is the right fit in terms of industry, location, and available fee options. You can use Recruiters LineUp  to be matched with the right recruiters, headhunters, and search firms according to your specifications, all at no cost. To get started, simply fill out some basic information here. Wishing you success and happy hiring!