If you look at any industry-leading company—the ones growing exponentially—you’ll notice that all have something in common: Strong and capable executives leading the charge. Unfortunately, that person isn’t going to waltz through your door—at least that’s unlikely. In reality, you’ll need to go out and find them, which is exactly what executive retained search services do. Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s Executive Retained Search?

Executive retained search services help you recruit, interview, and hire executives, e.g., CEO, CRO, CTO, etc. Said another way, you can pay a staffing and recruiting firm on a consulting basis to do the heavy lifting and hire a right-fit candidate. 

Payment types are flexible based on the client’s needs. Most firms offer a hybrid model, allowing the client to pay a small upfront fee and then the balance once the hire is made. Additionally, a full-retained search includes assurances that even if the hire doesn’t work out without a certain period of time, they’ll help find another one.

Is Executive Retained Search the Same As Executive Contingent Search? 

The difference between executive retained search and executive contingent search revolves around how you pay the staffing and recruiting firm that’s helping you. If you’re using executive retained search services, you pay them an up-front consulting fee. If you’re using contingent search services, you pay them after the fact, i.e., payment is contingent on (dependant on) them helping you make the hire. That said, there is flexibility. For example, if using full-retained search services, the firm will go through a secondary search if the initial hire doesn’t work out.

Are Executive Retained Search Services Necessary?

Do I actually need executive retained search services?” We get this question a lot, and truthfully, the answer depends. However, if you’re struggling with this question or know someone who is, ask yourself (or tell them to ask themselves) the following three questions: 

1. Is our network big enough to ensure we’re doing a thorough search?

Your professional network is limited, meaning that there are thousands of potential executive candidates out there who may be exactly what your company needs, but are out of reach because you don’t know them or are unaware that they’re in the market for a new position. Working with a staffing and recruiting firm to conduct your search gives you access to their talent pool, which is generally much larger and more diverse. As a result, you dramatically increase the likelihood of hiring the perfect person to help write your company’s next chapter.

2. Does your HR and executive team have the bandwidth and resources to dedicate to the hiring process?

Hiring an executive is an exhaustive process, often taking months from start to end. To make the right decision, many key stakeholders must come together. For this to happen, you’ll need to pull them away from their typical day-to-day duties. If this disruption will harm your company and people, you could benefit from the added bandwidth and resources that come with executive retained search services—and you’ll get it all without sacrificing the positive outcome of the hiring process.

3. If we hire the wrong executive, do we have the time and money to do it all again?

Hiring the wrong candidate is costly under normal circumstances. Hiring the wrong executive can be catastrophic. This is why it’s important that you hire the right person the first time. If you fail to do that, you’ll have to reinvest months of time and countless other resources to go through the process again. If you don’t think your company could survive this, executive retained search services are for you.

So, do you need executive retained search services? Well, if you said “yes” to any of the questions above, we’d say it’s worth strong consideration.

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