While there are numerous executive search options, all too often we hear from leaders that they do not even consider retained search because they incorrectly believe a different approach will get the position filled more quickly and for less cost. They often seek to achieve a faster process by putting it out with multiple contingency firms in the mistaken belief that the contingent firms will compete against each other and therefore accelerate the process while also charging a lower fee.
In reality, the dynamics of retained search and contingency search are distinct and can have significant effects on the success or failure of your next hiring decision. Let’s take a look at how.
The truth is, while a contingent firm’s primary goal is to find as many resumes as they can as quickly as possible, these resumes will not be adequately vetted as they are focused on getting the resume to the client first before another firm can claim that candidate. It then becomes the responsibility of the client to vet the candidate to understand if they can meet the deliverables and enhance the company’s culture. Contingent recruiters will only send additional resumes if they believe the probability of placement is high enough to warrant the investment of their time.
In addition, and perhaps more importantly, contingent firms will send those same resumes to other companies in the hope of increasing their likelihood of making a placement.
While a contingent firm’s process might seem faster, it comes at the expense of the client’s time in vetting the candidates and in trying to hire candidates who have already been secured by other clients of the firm. While the difference in fees between a contingent and a retained executive search might only be five percent, this cost “advantage” is quickly erased by the costs of your time in vetting, the loss of inputs and perspectives of an outside expert, the lack of onboarding assistance, and, most importantly, the lack of a meaningful performance guarantee.
Shifting our focus from the potential downsides associated with contingent firms, let's look at why you should consider a retained search partner.
A professional, deliberate, and in-depth search process ensures that candidates presented by Kinsley Sarn meet or exceed our client’s specifications. Here is a step-by-step look at our process.
As the success of any engaged search can usually be attributed to the effectiveness of this stage because of the investment we make in fully knowing our clients. During this state, our team conducts on-site visits, holds discussions with stakeholders, and interviews key leaders with the focus of gaining a comprehensive understanding of your values and culture, the needs and wants for the position, and the key traits of high potential employees within the company.
With the information gathered in the first stage, we draft a candidate profile. This draft includes a description of the company, the open position’s objectives and responsibilities, the critical success factors and search strategy, along with the estimated 65-day timeline for the executive search process.
Using the approved candidate profile, we can begin assessing and refining our targeted pipeline, leveraging the most current research capabilities, technology, and a broad network. After selecting three to five potential candidates, we hold an initial client meeting to ensure the right background and competencies are being targeted. Depending on the results we either refine our research and sourcing or move on to the next stage.
Interviews are made up of three parts: an in-depth performance history interview with detailed reference checks, a structured values and competency assessment, and the completion of a validated predictive behavior instrument. This enables us to confidently predict if the candidate is a potential fit for the client and the position.
Once we have assembled a slate of well-qualified candidates, we review their profiles and background information with the client. We work to keep the period between candidate identification and interview to a minimum, helping to maintain candidate interest and ensure consistency in approach as well as standards of evaluation for all presented candidates.
In addition to regular discussions and reporting, client review meetings are held regularly to provide an update on the latest efforts and ensure that the candidates being presented are hitting the mark. These meetings offer an opportunity to fine-tune the process so that the client receives exactly what they want.
We assist our clients in the formal evaluation of the finalists and in the selection of the individual best suited to the opportunity and culture. At our client’s discretion, our assistance can include but is not limited to offer development, candidate negotiation, and further background and reference checking. Finally, we communicate the successful completion of the search to our sources, references, and other candidates.
The final stage in our executive search process provides the selected candidate with the added support to make a highly effective transition into their new position and culture. Our transition process consists of three parts: a Critical Success Profile, a New Leader Assimilation Workshop, and an Executive Assessment.
With additional interviews and using the candidate profile, we prepare a Critical Success Profile that provides the new leader with valuable information to accelerate their assimilation and integration –– highlighting the core attributes that are essential for excelling in the position and contributing to the overall success of the company.
In this guided session, the new leader meets with their direct reports and other key stakeholders to discuss any questions and concerns they may have, as well as learn more about the challenges and opportunities facing the team. This supports the smooth integration of the new hire into the organization and team –– helping them gain a comprehensive grasp of their essential responsibilities and expected goals.
After a minimum of 90 days in the role, we conduct verbal interviews with relevant participants to gather 360-degree feedback. This assessment informs the leader's progress in adapting to the new position and organizational culture, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement.
After years of following this process, the result is that our clients only see fully vetted candidates –– leading to better hiring decisions and successful new hires, all at a reduced overall cost.
We understand that your investment in our services is a significant decision, and we are dedicated to not only meeting but exceeding your expectations. Our priority is to ensure that your investment continues to meet your needs throughout this crucial initial period. That is why we provide a 12-month guarantee for your new hires. With this assurance in place, you can move forward with confidence, focusing on what matters most –– onboarding your new team member.
Navigating the intricate landscape of executive recruitment requires a compass forged from experience and industry insight. With Kinsley Sarn, you get a partner whose specialized knowledge not only guides the way but also illuminates the path forward. Our deep understanding of various sectors ensures that the candidates brought to the table not only possess the necessary skills but also resonate with the unique culture of your organization.
To learn how we can help you meet your staffing challenges, feel free to reach out to our team directly using the button below.
This post was originally published in July 2020 and rewritten in September 2023.