Finding great leaders for your business isn’t always easy. This is why choosing the right recruitment method is an important first step. You might have found yourself wondering what the difference between executive search and contingency recruitment is. Whilst they share the same end goal to find the right candidate for the job, they differ greatly in their methods.
For strategically important roles that can be difficult to fill, executive search is often the preferred method of recruitment. The bespoke service not only finds the best leaders but also helps businesses to optimise their model and retain key talent.
What is executive search?
Executive search, also known as retained recruitment, is all about working closely with a company, understanding its needs and finding the right talent for open positions. Executive search recruiters have a more hands-on approach when it comes to advising a business on potential candidates and engaging in all aspects of the hiring process.
Being known as retained recruitment, executive search companies build strong relationships with their clients, are knowledgeable about the organisation and are retained by clients on a long-term basis for all executive roles. Executive search targets senior-level executive positions and board director roles.
Executive search consultants offer a highly bespoke service with a great deal of industry knowledge in your sector. This enables them to not only find the top leadership talent but also advise on the best hires and how to retain talent.
What are the advantages of retained recruitment?
There are several key advantages of retained recruitment that work well for businesses looking to attract and retain the best talent.
- Prioritisation – executive search prioritises their clients, only working with a limited number of hires at once. This means that a great deal of care and attention is given to the recruitment process.
- Customised – retained recruiters are knowledgeable about their clients which means the service can be fully customised to certain niches or requirements.
- Exclusivity – executive search provides access to an exclusive pool of talent and even seeks out candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new position. They won’t present the same candidate to more than one of their clients.
- Attention to detail – the attention to detail in retained recruitment is unparalleled. They understand your business and contribute to the entire hiring process.
- Motivated – executive search also offers rebates or free replacements if a candidate leaves, meaning the firm is more motivated to get it right the first time.
- Industry knowledge – executive search recruiters track industry trends and understand clients’ business developments. This enables them to present their clients with the best candidates for the role who are also a cultural fit.
When might retained recruitment not be right for you?
Retained recruitment might not be for every business, it all depends on your specific hiring goals.
It can be hard to find the right fit as the wrong executive search firm can lead to the wrong candidates. It’s worth taking the time to find the right fit for your company and finding a retained recruiter that understands your industry, culture and demand.
What is contingent recruitment?
Contingent recruitment companies tend to focus on the front end of the hiring process. This leaves the assessment and selection of candidates down to the client. Usually, contingent recruiters present a pool of candidates to the client that fit within certain criteria. These candidates are often actively looking for a new role.
As contingent recruitment tends to work with more clients, they may not be as knowledgeable about a company beyond the job description provided.
What are the advantages of contingent recruitment?
There are several advantages to contingent recruitment, depending entirely on what a business is looking for.
- Fast turnaround – contingent recruitment operates on speed and aims to find candidates to fill positions quickly but doesn’t focus on fit. As a result, you may be able to find a new employee quicker but they could be the wrong fit long-term.
- No long-term commitment – contingent recruitment differs from retained recruitment and can work on a one-off basis. As a result, businesses don’t need to commit to one recruitment company.
What are the disadvantages of contingent recruitment?
Contingent recruitment does come with its own set of disadvantages and it’s not for every company.
- Unsuitable candidates – the pool of talent may not suit your industry or the higher-level positions. The lack of knowledge about their clients also can result in unsuitable candidates.
- No quality guarantee – due to the large pool, recruiters don’t quality control each and every candidate. Executive search only operates with the best candidates and offers a guarantee of quality.
- Inefficient – sometimes contingency recruitment can be a waste of time if unsuitable candidates are found. It can end up taking more time and costing more money if the wrong candidate is hired or multiple candidates are wrong for the position.
- Impersonal – as contingency recruiters often work with multiple clients, they lack a personal approach. They may not understand your niche, company, culture or even who you’re looking for. This impersonal approach makes it difficult to build a relationship and find the right hires.
- Front-end approach – contingency recruiters only provide the candidates, they don’t offer advice, assessments of candidates or selection. This leaves a lot of work down to the employer.
Executive search avoids these disadvantages and provides a solution to the problems, aiming to help clients avoid these pitfalls.
How does executive search differ from contingency recruitment?
It’s clear that there are several differences between executive search and contingency recruitment. From the methodologies to the end result, both strategies will differ greatly from one another.
Contingent recruiters tend to work on multiple roles and clients at the same time. They’re paid once they successfully place a candidate, which means the focus is on speed and quantity. Contingent recruiters also work on a non-exclusive basis which means clients can work with other recruiters. As a result, contingent recruiters tend to have lower fees.
Executive search consultants work on an exclusive basis and form long-term working relationships with their clients. They participate in all aspects of the hiring process from finding candidates, interviews, offering advice and integrating them into the company. Executive recruiters aim to form a partnership with their clients and are often paid via a retainer.
Retrieval of talent process
Contingency recruiters target active job seekers using traditional recruitment channels including databases and job boards. They gather as many CVs as they can to present to the client who then evaluates the CVs.
Retained recruiters use more sophisticated methods to obtain talent such as referencing, assessments and competency-based interviews. Executive search recruiters also tend to have more contacts in niche industries. They make it their aim to understand their clients and deliver exactly what they are looking for in terms of candidates.
Contingent recruiters sometimes target the more generic positions that don’t tend to require a specialised skill set.
On the other hand, executive search consultants work on finding candidates for executive senior-level positions. These positions include C-suite and director roles. As these positions are important to the business and require specialist abilities, companies tend to turn to more specialist executive search recruiters.
Contingent recruiters don’t always specialise in one area and can work across multiple sectors. However, certain recruitment agencies might focus on one industry such as marketing or healthcare.
Retained recruitment can focus on a particular industry such as retail or a business function such as finance but can also focus on broader areas. This allows executive search consultants to gain a great deal of knowledge and understanding of their industry which allows them to find the best candidates for their clients.
When should you use an executive search consultant?
When looking to fulfil a senior position that’s vital to your business, it’s important to make sure you don’t fall into the common pitfalls of hiring the wrong candidate, wasting time or struggling to find the right fit. This is where our executive search recruitment service at Anthony Gregg Partnership can benefit your company. We take the time to understand your business needs, culture and the position you’re trying to fill. We form a partnership with you, to find the right candidate that works for you.
Working with a retained recruiter can hugely benefit your company. Having a specialist that you can call upon whether you’re looking for executive positions is invaluable. Having someone that can not only find the right candidate but provide advice and guidance to retain that brilliant leader is game-changing. We specialise in retail executive search, consumer goods recruitment, hospitality & leisure recruitment, luxury executive search and travel executive search. Contact us today to find out more.