Retained Offering

So, you’ve exhausted your internal enquiries and reached out to multiple contingency recruiters to help find you a suitable candidate for your vacancy; but you’re still not seeing the right candidates?

What do you do?

Have you considered using a specialist recruitment consultancy to carry out a retained search on your behalf?

The Difference between contingency and retained recruitment assignments?

Contingency – Contingency recruitment is the most common form or recruitment within the industry. The client often reaches out to multiple recruitment agencies to supply candidates for their vacancy and a fee is only due to the recruiter who introduces the successful candidate. The invoice is due only once the candidate starts employment.

Retained – A retained search differs in that the services of a single recruitment consultancy are exclusively used to conduct a more thorough and methodical search, guaranteeing that only the hired recruiter will fill the vacancy. This can often deliver greater results as it ensures that the recruiter can dedicate more time to the candidate attraction. One of the main differentiating factors to this method of search, is that the recruiter is paid a proportion of the expected total fee as an upfront payment.

When is a Retained Search Most Appropriate?

In my experience retained searches are most commonly used when internal methods of attracting candidates have been exhausted and recruiters used on a contingency have also failed to deliver the desired results.

However, a retained search could and should be considered as your chosen method of search in far more scenarios than this. For example, the below scenario’s have been reasons that clients I have worked with previously have decided to successfully use a retained search:

· Their vacancy was a highly specialist role with a limited number of suitable candidates in the market place

· They had a very strict timeline to their recruitment process

· They had a team to recruit, and needed to the right mix

· Their vacancy was a Director level appointment

· The hiring company was a smaller, niche employer struggling to attract applicants; often losing candidates to larger and more recognised competitors in the market

· I have worked with the employer for a sustained period of time and have a strong rapport with the management team and they have confidence in me to exclusively sell their business to prospective candidates

How can a Retained Search be benefit you?

Guaranteed level of commitment (both parties): A recruiter can typically be working on 10 or more vacancies on a contingency basis at any one time. With all the will in the world they can only spend so much time on any one client’s vacancy in a week. What a retained search does is lock in the commitment from both parties to work on a mutually collaborative way to ensure the vacancy is filled in an agreed time period. The guarantee that the recruiters invested time will result in a fee allows them to prioritise a retained search over any contingency based searches they are currently working on and dedicate vast proportions of their time on the retained search:

· A more methodical, intense search process: Following on from the first point; the recruiters increased dedication to the role allows them to carry out a more methodical and in-depth search. This can include paid for targeted marketing, headhunting and market mapping techniques to identify suitable candidates for your vacancy. Many of which may not typically be used on a day-to-day basis for contingency based recruitment where the recruiter may not have the available time to carry out all such an intense search.

· Exclusive, first refusal to premium candidates: A common and appealing benefit to a retained search is that the recruiter will present you with candidates on an exclusive basis. You will be given first refusal on any suitable candidates that are found during the search. This can be particularly important when recruiting professions that are in high demand within the wider market place such as Chartered Quantity Surveyors for example. Therefore, eliminating any competition for a candidate’s signature from your competitors; a problem you may face from contingency recruitment where the recruiter will likely attempt to secure high calibre candidates’ multiple interviews to improve their chances of securing a fee.

· Agreed Timescales: Targets and deadlines are often part of the agreement and are set out between yourself and the recruiter at the start of the process and stated in the contract. This ensures that the client can adequately plan the interview and on boarding process. This also ensures that the recruiter has to dedicate adequate time to working on the role to deliver the agreed results within the agreed timescales. Again, something that is not guaranteed in contingency search where if a search is proving difficult to attract suitable candidates, the recruiter may switch focus in an attempt to secure a fee from easier assignments.

· Flexible Terms: Whilst most recruiters will have a standard contract for a retained search, in my experience the final signed agreement is often a bespoke contract relating to your needs as the client and the anticipated work involved for the recruiter. This can include the fee percentage, rebate period, number of agreed payments applicable throughout the process, the amount of time to provide a shortlist and more. Both parties need to be completely happy that the details of the agreement are reasonable, achievable and benefit both parties.

· Increased rebate / guarantee period: Whilst contingency recruitment often offers you a short rebate period, it’s more common for retained search to offer a longer rebate period up to circa 6 months. Therefore, giving the client extra security in their decision.

· A single point of contact with accountability for delivering results: You will be assigned a dedicated consultant who will be accountable for delivering the agreed results of the search.

How can we ensure a Retained Search is successful?

Charteris Global Search have a dedicated team of experienced Consultants, each with extensive networks of Utilities & Power professionals accumulated through years of successful recruiting.

We have a wealth of expertise in Engineering recruitment methods as well as an invaluable database of tens of thousands of unique candidates across a range of Engineering professional roles. We pride ourselves on using methods of candidate attraction which deliver unique candidates for our clients.

We have an unbeatable record of delivering on retained searches, boasting a 100% success rate on such searches carried out over the last 5 years. We are able to listen to your needs, understand your business and propose timely and effective recruitment solutions to your problem.

If you’d like to discuss a retained search with one of our consultants, you can call our office today on 01530 653365. Alternatively, you can submit details of your vacancy by emailing us on : and one of our consultants will be in touch to discuss this with you in