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Understand the retained search to make the right recruitment decision


Posted by Iris Data Driven Agency

8 months ago

Although every business has a separate recruiting department, they cannot always find the "right employees at the right time" that they need. That’s why recruitment solutions were born to adapt business talent needed. There are two different kinds of recruitment services out there. One is called retained search and the other is contingency search. What are the differences and how the retained recruitment help businesses finding the next leader? Let’s find it in the article below.

What is retained search in recruitment?

Retained recruitment service that employers have to pay a fee for recruitment firms in advance. A recruitment agency, on the other hand, has to pledge to find a suitable candidate within a certain time or under a contract agreement. Because candidates now are senior personnel from senior managers to C-level (CEO, CFO, Director,...), Retained Search is the hardest and most expensive segment in Recruitment Solutions.

retained recruitment

How can retained search help business?

The process of Retained Recruitment 

The Retained Search service is supposed to be the hardest part of recruitment solutions. The retained recruitment is forced to complete the project according to the agreed timeline. Because with Retained Search, a recruitment firm receives a part of the cost in advance rather than Mass Recruitment or Contingency Search - services only charge after the Client has recruited people. Below is the retained search process from Navigos Search, a leading executive search in Vietnam.

1. Consultation with the client company

Navigos Search consultant team will either visit the client company for a detailed discussion on the search criteria and current efforts to fill the role. After that, our consultant team will prepare an outline of the candidate screening method suitable for the particular case, fee structure, and advance performance targets. At this point, the Terms and Conditions will be confirmed by both sides.

retained recruitment Japan

2. Screening and preparation of a candidate list

Because of the highly urgent or unique nature of the projects, Navigos Search will follow the specialized method to source and screen candidates other than the general screening method employed in contingency searches.

  • “Talent Market Mapping” through our networks or third-party organs to identify key players in the talent pool.
  • Fee-based advertisements in publications, websites, and other targeted industry publications. We will draw on our knowledge of regional markets and cultures to identify the best channels for advertising the role.

3. The consultant will interview candidates

The consultant will contact and interview the identified candidates carefully and professionally. Candidates fulfilling the requirements specified by the client company will be narrowed down to a shortlist. Candidates will be recommended to the company after verifying the accuracy of the information in their resumes and work histories as much as possible.

4. Arrangement of candidate interviews by the client company

After recommending candidates to the client company, the consultant will serve as a direct liaison in arranging for interviews by the company of the candidates who passed the initial screening.

5. Feedback on interviews, signing of contract and negotiation of terms and conditions

Throughout the interview process, the consultant will provide feedback to both the client company and the candidates.

The benefit of using a retained search

A Retained Search contract can last from 6 months to more than one year. Due to the binding nature of the two parties, negotiating a Retained Search firm is also very time-consuming. However, all efforts will be rewarded with these advantages and benefits.

retained search

  • With businesses, the completed recruitment services will bring them best-talented employees who suit their needs, who are most likely to change the future or success of the whole company.
  • For a recruitment firm, when completing a "difficult" role with their Retained Search. In addition, to get a loyal customer, reputation is what the recruitment firm is always looking for. In addition, the service cost of a Retained Search project is also a huge revenue for the recruitment agency.


Businesses need to find help from a retained search firm if they need to replace high-level positions in a short time or under the pressure of not doing any failure hiring. In Navigos Search, we help businesses with retained search and contingency search, some other recruitment solutions also are run for businesses’ needs. To understand more about our services and how we can help businesses succeed in recruiting talented employees, please contact us with the information on Contact Page. For further more information, read more at contingency search vs retained search which is right for you?

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