Win-Win – Why you should invest in Retained Recruitment

People are the backbone of every company. Finding and accurately placing top talent in the right positions generates huge benefits for organizations. In the pursuit of maximizing organizational success through talent acquisition, companies often turn to recruitment firms. There are two main threads when outsourcing to a recruitment firm, Contingent Search and Retained Search. Both share the same end-goal of accessing top talent but differ in the way the recruitment firm will ultimately approach this task.

At Potentia HR, we believe that when it comes to filling high level or executive positions within a company, a Retained Search approach offers distinct advantages. Retained Search maximizes returns for the client while mitigating risks for us (the recruitment firm).


To ensure the right fit for both company and candidate, collaboration and personalization is essential to a recruitment process. Retained searches go past the surface, aiming to genuinely grasp the perspectives of both parties. Thorough research, in-depth analysis, and meaningful conversations with both clients and candidates allow agencies to achieve this understanding.

Clear and continuous two-way communication is then continued throughout the recruitment process. Search agencies have access to market data and competitor information across industries that is provided to clients. This gives the opportunity for the client to benchmark compensation against industry standards. Competitive salary packages can then be provided to their own top talent by remaining up to date with the latest compensation and benefits trends.

Retained search requires an upfront fee to reduce risk on the recruitment firm’s side. Recruitment agencies dedicate substantial time to the hiring process, and their compensation often depends on successfully placing a candidate (contingent search). This arrangement acts as a safeguard against the possibility of a company choosing not to hire anyone, especially after considerable investments have been made by the agency.

This in turn, also guarantees commitment from both parties to the case. By committing to one recruitment company, the client ensures a clear and streamlined message is presented to candidates. Multiple consultants are not contacting the same client, confusing them, and detracting from the end goal. The recruitment agency is also fully engaged with the search rather than accepting large numbers of searches at a time.

Having an established relationship with a recruitment firm allows companies to plan for future challenges. Recruitment firms can assist with succession planning whereby they can proactively consider candidates from executive pools to fill open positions when the time comes.

Retained Search is known for its ability to access top talent. The recruitment firm will go beyond known talent pools to headhunt, approach passive networks and search through extensive candidate databases. There are the time and resources within the retained process to conduct a search that is more mindful, giving the client the assurance that candidates will be of the highest quality. Within contingent search, often only the mainstream avenues are used, and the firm is looking for a quicker and easier result.


In summary, despite having a higher upfront cost, companies stand to gain long-term benefits by strategically investing in a Retained Search recruitment process. At Potentia HR we believe in a personalized and collaborative executive search approach, as no company conforms to a standard mold.


Written by: Nicola Gregory

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