Read any business magazine or journal and you’ll see the importance of the people leading organizations. Whether they’re charged with managing data or people or brand position, corporate executives at an organization take their cues from their leader and set the tone, specific vision and strategy for the people they’re leading. It’s important that these top executives truly understand the business they’re in and the company they lead.
Due to the immense impact these executives have on your company, as well as the cost of recruiting and bringing on a new executive, it’s important to find the right fit for the corporate culture.
Recruiting company executives can be performed in several ways, including using a retained executive search firm, such as Human Capital Solutions, or a contingency firm.
Key Differences Between a Retained Executive Search Firm and a Contingency Search Firm
There are several differences between a retained and contingency firm that may impact the decision about who you’ll choose to find your next corporate star. These factors, as identified by the Association of Executive Search Consultants, include:
- The types of positions for which the search firm primarily recruits
- The search methodology
- The engagement contract
- The nature of the collaboration
- Fee payment
- Consultant’s work
- Research, from the long list to the short list
- Consultant’s background
- Additional investment by the client
- Ethics: Guarantee, confidentiality, off-limits, et cetera
- Cost versus risks
With regard to the positions for which firms recruit, retained executive search firms contract with and help all types of organizations in the recruitment of senior executives for key positions, most of which have not been advertised (sometimes due to the confidentiality of the search). Contingency search firms usually recruit for mid-level executives and professionals by posting and advertising open positions.
In terms of methodology, retained executive search firms use a proactive, systematic approach toward search and outreach to locate and recruit the best possible candidates for the position; these firms seek to bring exceptional candidates that measure up against the specific needs of the position, the financial impact to the company and the culture of the organization. The process is consultative and the client has the search consultant’s full commitment, attention, focus and resources by being retained.
Contingency firms typically post advertisements and search online databases. The focus of the contingency firm’s search is about getting potentially qualified candidates – without meeting the candidate face-to-face – to the client quickly. The client will then make the final decision after reviewing and interviewing many applicants. The retained search firm focuses on the precise candidate “fit,” spending days and weeks talking with talent, often currently employed with the client’s competitors.
If you’re charged with recruiting and selecting and often convincing someone to leave his or her organization and join yours, I encourage you to research the various ways to do so, taking into consideration the very negative outcomes of hiring the wrong search firm and the wrong person.
Bo Burch is the founder and CEO of Human Capital Solutions, Inc. with corporate offices in Wilmington, N.C. Human Capital Solutions is striving to be the preferred global leader in retained executive search and professional recruiting services with industry veterans and subject matter experts in: life sciences, health care, the industrials and technology. HCS represents companies, recruits and assesses and places key talent in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and western Europe.