by George P. Linke, Jr., Psy.D.

It’s the people in key leadership roles who are ultimately responsible for the success, or failure, of the organization. In fact, the most important decisions an organization ever makes are those related to who it hires to fill these most important positions.

Did you know most of the best candidates for critical positions are currently employed and are not actively looking for a new position? The ideal candidate you are looking for may currently be working in a nearby city or on the other side of the country. They may be familiar with your organization or they may have no idea who you are or what you do.

Considering these challenges, how does an organization ensure that a search generates the best possible pool of candidates who are enthusiastic about joining your team?

In many cases, the answer involves entering into a retained search agreement with a firm that is both knowledgeable and highly experienced in the organization’s area of focus. For example, a non-profit whose mission is providing services to individuals with autism would be well-advised to select a search firm with a high degree of knowledge in this area, as well as an extensive network in the field that will facilitate a comprehensive search. The use of retained search is an exceptional tool for behavioral health and other human services-based organizations looking for top-quality talent with specific knowledge and expertise.

What is retained search?

Retained search is a process in which the client engages the search firm on an exclusive basis.. With a retained search, the position will only be filled through the engaged recruitment firm. The retained search process is rigorous, and starts with defining the search, and continues through and, in some cases, beyond the hire.

What are the benefits of a retained search?

  • Mutual level of Commitment: A retained search involves a mutual level of commitment on the part of the client and the search firm, and allows the search firm to focus on the complex process required to deliver exceptional results.
  • Expertise: Looking for very specific talent in highly focused markets requires a large commitment of time, energy, and expertise. Searching to fill a key leadership role for an organization that serves children and adults with learning difficulties, for example, requires a recruiter with a solid understanding of the field. This may include an understanding of the industry’s financial climate, funders, clinical models and unique staffing needs.
  • Networks: The right search firm will have an extensive network within your field. When you engage a firm to do a retained search, they will be able to invest the time and effort to leverage the network that will reach the greatest number of top candidates.  Most importantly, this process will yield candidates not actively looking for jobs, otherwise known as passive candidates. The typical “recruiter” is not actually recruiting, but merely posting jobs and collecting resumes. When looking to fill a key leadership position, the process is far more demanding, and your organization deserves more.
  • Single Point of Contact: One of the benefits of a retained search is that there is just one point of contact for your organization. That means you’re always speaking with the same expert who is skilled at handling unusual situations and negotiations. That expert creates a relationship of trust between the organization, candidates and themselves. The expert search professional can often anticipate potential problems in the process and knows how to resolve issues before they become roadblocks.
  • Cost Effectiveness:  Finding highly qualified candidates for critical leadership roles can be both time-consuming and costly. The longer a position remains unfilled, the more money it costs the organization. A top retained search firm will deliver between three and five candidates who have been well researched and interviewed, saving you and your organization from wading through hundreds of resumes. The skilled retained search firm not only captures the attention of the most qualified candidates, but gets them enthused at the idea of bringing their talents and abilities to your organization. A search that results in a hire who is a good fit will save your organization untold time and money in the long run.

Linke Resources specializes in retained search and simplifies the recruiting process while helping to improve retention of qualified placements. We will help you find the best people and build successful teams. When you engage Linke Resources for a retained search, you’re gaining a trustworthy, partner. Let our team make the hiring process efficient, successful and stress-free.