12 Differences between a retained search and an agency approach

Retained search/



agency recruitment

1 Retainer fee payable upfront, plus completion fee.

Guide 30% (retainer c. third of the fee).

1 Success only. No win, no fee.

Guide 20-20% of salary.

2 Exclusive.

All candidates channelled via the headhunter.

A committed approach.

Absolute focus on quality hires.

2 Non-exclusive.

HR/Internal Recruitment functions, careers

page, adverts, multiple agencies and direct

applications. No commitment nor loyalty on either side.

3 Senior hires and ones of a high impact nature. 3 Individual contributors and first-line manager hires
4 Availability of quality candidates is scarce. 4 Vacancies for which there is broad availability of


5 Candidates found to order. 5 Candidates found from file and adverts.
6 A robust, structured approach. 6 Ad-doc/casual approach.
7 Added value/additional insight… high 7 No or low insight… no or low added value
8 Candidate type: passive and head down types,

predominantly employed

8 Candidate type: active job seekers,

predominantly unemployed or under notice!

9 Timescales (CVs within 3-4 weeks) 9 Timescales (CVs within a week)
10 Distraction and time invested on your part, minimal. 10 Distraction and time invested on your part, high.
11 Candidate quality… high 11 Candidate quality lucky dip. Screening minimal.
12 High-quality outcomes. 12 Variable outcomes.

We don’t provide agency type with no win, no fee services agency based recruitment services however we do offer

Retained search

Multi-hire projects

Long-term partnerships

Multi-hire projects and long-term partnerships bring you the benefits of headhunting when you are hiring several people into key roles simultaneously or indeed on an ongoing basis if you’ve got a scale-up agenda.