Before you read this, you might want to read "What is a contingency search?" as a helpful starting point.
Retained and executive search firms address many of the issues prevalent with the contingent delivery method and a reputable firm should consistently deliver high quality and transparent service that benefits the hiring entity’s talent brand. Fees for retained or executive search firms are similar to contingent search fees and range between 20% and 35% of the candidate’s first year salary depending on the industry and difficulty of the search.
There is higher risk to the hiring entity with retained search versus contingent, as a percentage of the fee is paid to the retained search firm at the beginning of the project. In our opinion, retained firms offer their clients a reasonable amount of risk since the hiring entity retains the majority of the fee until the point in time when a hire is made.
We do highly recommend that Hiring Managers review Talon RPO's hybid recruitment model if they are considering a retained or executive search. The process provides a very comparable level of quality for a much more reasonable fee, thanks to some process design similarities pulled from both the hourly and contingent search methods. A one page overview of Talon's hybrid model is available by clicking here.