Interesting "independent" article from a successful entrepreneur on when to engage with a Professional Executive Search firm and the difference in service that they will offer you compared to a Contingency Database Recruitment agency.
Our key frustration is when clients view any recruitment as a cost and not an investment in their business. Far too many, in my view, just want to secure a "bum on a seat" at the least cost possible and don't consider what investing in an effective recruitment process both in money and your time can deliver to your corporate strategy.
I agree that if you are just looking to "buy" a CV then you should look at least cost, however, developing a powerful end to end recruitment strategy that leverages your employer brand to attract exceptional candiates and executing a robust assessment process will deliver a very strong Return on your investment in years to come.
The decision between Contingency or Retained Search is not one based on the seniority of the role either. Retained Search is great to find "needles in haystacks" at any level as well as wooing Senior leaders.
When you decide to employee a recruiting firm, there are generally two options – contingency or retained. Contingency means that they only get paid if you hire a candidate they submit. There is no upfront commitment or cost. Contingency recruiters focus on volume, and often circulate their candidates’ resumes to multiple companies at once (without exclusivity) in order to increase their odds of making a placement. In short, they are not working exclusively on your behalf. Retained recruiters provide a service where the client pays a significant portion of the fee upfront, and is usually non-refundable. “Retained” means you are retaining the search firm to work for you on an exclusive basis. The “retainer” is meant to ensure both client and recruiter commitment to the hiring assignment.